One of the fundamentals in workers’ compensation is return-to-work programs. The value of these programs cannot be overstated. Return-to-work (and job retention after a return to work) is the goal of every rehab plan.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) support safe early return-to-work programs that help injured workers improve their performance, regain functionality and enhance their quality of life. The success of an early return-to-work program is dependent on appropriate planning, as well as attention to a host of physical, psychological and environmental factors. Here are 5 ways to make your program a success:
- Talk about Return-to-Work in a positive way – discussion should always focus on the benefits to the company and the employee. Examples include: improving employee retention, keeping employees involved in workplace activities, maintaining employee’s full wage earning power, faster recovery, etc.
- Make Return-to-Work jobs a positive experience – find productive tasks or jobs. Don’t punish your employees by having them do punitive jobs. Put some thought into your transitional job bank.
- Communicate the cost of NOT returning to work – Communicate the financial benefits of no delay in their regular paycheck as opposed to roughly 2/3 regular pay through Temporary Total with BWC. Plus, there’s a waiting period to get that first check.
- Make Return-to-Work a mandatory requirement of employment – the kiss of death for a program is picking and choosing which employees participate. Unfair treatment can spread throughout an organization like a virus.
- Hold weekly meetings with injured workers – this gives you the opportunity to discuss obstacles to return to work, assess the injury, and address any problems or concerns.
Do you have any ideas that has helped your program become a success?