Your employees are your greatest asset. As a business, it’s your responsibility to protect them from injury.
That’s usually where the conversation stops.
In reality, workers need your support even more after an injury. We all know that injuries can cause physical limitations.
What we don’t see—and need to recognize—is the role mental and emotional health plays in recovery.
When one of your employees suffers an injury, they experience new challenges that can delay recovery. In fact, individuals who experience an injury while working are twice as likely to experience psychological distress compared to those without injury. That can include:
- Feelings of anxiety, stress, lingering pain, and fear of re-injury or job loss
- Feeling a lack of support from family, friends, or their employer
- Financial concerns, like an inability to support themselves or those who rely on them
They need someone in their corner, and you have the power to help as their employer. Here are tips and strategies to help your injured workers navigate their recovery.
Use technology and relationships to improve personal care
Most states require workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees. Your insurer can offer more than financial support though.
They handle injured worker cases like yours every day. By using historical data, your insurer may be able to identify trends that could affect outcomes. They can help spot signs of:
- Chronic pain
- High medication usage
- Mental, social, and emotional challenges
- Complex claims
The type of information may vary by your insurer, but my point is this: collaborate early and often. Information helps you gain a clearer, more complete picture of your injured employees. The only way you gain information is if you talk.
Stay in regular communication with your injured employees, HR team, and claims manager. Your employee’s treating provider will coordinate details with your claims representative.
When everyone works as a team, you can help develop a personalized plan for your employees. In recent years, I’ve seen the emergence of data analytics, telehealth, and virtual reality therapy transform access to care.
The right information paired with the right resources can lead to the right care.
Show your workers you care
It’s not just about when you communicate. It’s how you communicate. Most injured workers want compassion and support. If you aren’t communicating those qualities with your injured employees, uncertainty can set it.
Listen to your injured workers, offer support, and encourage their feedback. In your role, that looks like:
- Expressing genuine care about the employee’s recovery throughout the process
- Scheduling regular check-ins and communication
- Offering resources and support
- Outlining flexible work arrangements and modified duties
- Collaborating on their return-to-work goals
Offer modified duties and early return-to-work support
As your employees progress from their injury, an early return-to-work plan can help them regain confidence.
It’s one way you can show injured employees you value contributions, no matter what their tasks might look like.
To start your plan:
- Assign a leader. They should work with your business’s safety and human resources teams to create consistent messaging and expectations.
- Develop a policy statement emphasizing your commitment to offering flexible accommodations for injured employees.
- Establish clear goals to monitor results. Include specific criteria for eligibility and administrative details.
- Outline light duty tasks. This may include tasks like inventory management, machinery and equipment maintenance, or training other workers in their area of expertise.
Regardless of how they perform their tasks, ensure the employee is engaged in meaningful work. You want them to feel like they’re still an integral part of the team and your business.
A win-win for all involved
When your employee is away from work due to injury, it can have a significant mental and emotional toll beyond their physical limitations.
Don’t wait until an injury occurs. Create a thorough, well-defined plan to offer support. It’s no different than creating the safety plan you should already have in place.
You can use the tips I’ve outlined in this article to get started. Still, it’s best to talk with your local experts to outline a plan specific to your business.
Remember: When you show up for your employees, they’ll show up for you.
About the Author:
Jean Feldman, RN, BSN, is the Senior Director of Managed Care for Sentry Insurance. Jean is responsible for the managed care programs and clinical strategy for workers’ compensation at Sentry.
The post How to Support Your Injured Worker’s Well-Being appeared first on Industry Today – Leader in Manufacturing & Industry News.