Employee back-to-work program

All employees are not the same. To keep your business running every day, you find yourself speaking and approaching each employee differently. The same method can apply when working with employees to get them back to work quickly and safely after a workers’ compensation claim.

Back to the working method One employee at a time

Just as tasks and duties are matched to each individual employee, so must the return to work. There are many different return to work programs that can be used. Adapting the program to the specific employees’ personalities to get the most successful results. While one employee may respond well to several phone calls a week, another may find it too intrusive. Finding the balance is key to getting employees back to work quickly, efficiently, and to the benefit of your business.

There are generally primarily four different employee personality types, ranging from fully satisfied to completely dissatisfied. The four types are:

Satisfied and engaged: One who is happy and needs no prompting to return to work.

Satisfied and uncommitted: One who is happy but complacent about staying out of work.

Unhappy and Passive: Someone who is unhappy but not consciously planning to be out of work. However, they can take advantage of the system to stay out longer than necessary.

Unhappy and Active: Someone who is very unhappy with their situation and will actively try to exploit the system. This employee does not want to return, is making arrangements to stay out longer, and is actively working on a plan to never return to work.

The majority of employees will fall into one of these descriptive categories and will respond similarly to various return-to-work strategies. The key is to handle each situation according to the employees’ personality.

Fits the employee’s personality

For example one satisfied and engaged employee can be someone who hasn’t missed a day of work in years, goes to company events, and is always considered a go-to guy. A workers’ comp claim can be seen as a setback for this type of individual, and little interaction from the employer will be necessary to get him back to work. In this case, a recommended strategy is to send a get well card and work in partnership to provide a productive transition service. Employer actions in this case such as aggressive monitoring can have the opposite effect and make the employee unwilling to return to work. With a satisfied and disengaged employee, a more interactive approach can be used. E.g; invite the employee to seminars or training events prior to returning home. This will provide an introductory phase to the return to work programme.

An engaged and unhappy employee in the same situation will require a completely different approach. This type of employee usually does not try to return to work. Employers of engaged and unhappy employees will need to take a much more aggressive approach, including devising and implementing fraud prevention measures, monitoring procedures, employing investigators and having frequent ongoing monitoring contact with the employee. Without igniting the process of returning to work, the employee will stop it forever.

Finally, you must devise your back to work program per employee as you know the employee. A cookie cut program is the least successful program.

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