Employee injuries are more common than most business managers care to admit. Employees are hurt on the job an average of 12,900 times per day.
These injuries can mean employees are out of work for about 21 days. Coming back to work can be disruptive to all employees. It can also create long-term problems in your business.
Companies that face these issues have a back to work program in place to integrate the injured worker back in the workplace.
Read on to learn what back to work programs, how to implement them, and the benefits they’ll bring to your business.
What Is a Return to Work Program?
The longer an employee is laid off due to a work injury, the less likely they are to return to work. A back to work program is a set of guidelines created by your company.
These guidelines are meant to integrate returning workers slowly, as opposed to throwing them back into action assuming that they can do the same work at the same rate.
Back to work programs help injured workers get back to work more quickly by reducing their task and the intensity of their work at first.
The employee can slowly ramp up their work rate as they recover. You can easily give the employees the confidence they need to recover and give them income at the same time.
Creating Your Business’s Return to Work Program
How can you create a return to work program for your business? You have to be able to sell the idea to your management team.
You’re going to learn the benefits of back to work programs, and these benefits will show that this is a worthwhile endeavor.
Create a Written Back to Work Policy
It’s important for everyone to be on the same page as to what the back to work policy consists of. This ensures that it is applied the same to all of your workers, which can limit your liability down the road.
Identify Light Tasks for Each Position
You want to have a clear progression of tasks that workers can do as they reintegrate in the workplace. Go through all of the key categories of jobs and note all of the tasks that need to be completed.
You can identify which ones are light-duty tasks, which ones require full strength, and which ones
Training Staff and Vendors
There are many aspects to the worker’s compensation process. You have the worker’s compensation insurance company, sometimes attorneys, the Department of Labor, and your administration.
A comprehensive back to work program requires training. You need to train your employees about the program. You also have to work with your insurance company to help them understand how you’re working with employees after a workplace injury.
Benefits of a Return to Work Program
It does take a lot of time and effort to create a return to work program. You may ask if it’s worth the effort or not.
These are some of the key benefits that your business is bound to experience when you put in the time and effort to create a return to work program.
1. Employees Feel Valued
After an employee has been away from work for a long period of time, it’s normal for them to experience anxiety in the days leading to going back to work.
Some colleagues may no longer be there, and they don’t know what they’re walking into. A good return to work program can help ease those fears.
Employees often feel left behind when they return to work. By slowly integrating them into their work, they are happier because they’re making a contribution again. They also feel valued and cared for when they’re vulnerable.
2. Limit the Potential for Gossip
A return to work program can also limit the potential for gossip and rumors. An employee that doesn’t feel like they’ve been treated fairly can be toxic.
They can spread anger and stories of mistreatment among other employees. That can easily bring down morale and create a negative workplace culture.
That can lead to higher turnover and lost productivity, all from one person. You can prevent that from happening by helping them in their time of need.
Employees that feel valued are the ones who go above and beyond in getting the job done. They also won’t feel the need to badmouth the business.
3. Business Cost Savings
There is a business cost in implementing a return to work program. You have to create the program and train everyone within the organization.
You may look at that and think that time could be better spent elsewhere. You also have to look at the big picture of the program.
Without a return to work program, your business risks lost productivity and higher turnover. These can add to your operations costs.
With a back to work program, you reduce these risks and you have a higher bottom line.
4. Lower Staff Turnover
One of the key benefits of a return to work program is that it reduces staff turnover because it gets people back to work sooner.
You don’t need to invest in costs to hire and train a new employee. You also have a person who’s already skilled in the position.
5. Return to Work = Return to Normal
Employees not only want to feel valued, but they also want to feel normal again. The return to work program will help them feel more secure and normal.
A Back to Work Program Can Change Your Business
Employee injuries happen, and severe injuries can cause an employee to miss work for an extended amount of time.
Just as your business has safety protocols to prevent workplace injuries, your business should have a return to work program.
Even if your business isn’t in the type of business where injuries normally occur there are plenty of advantages of having a back to work program. You’ll save money, reduce turnover, and show employees that you value them as people.
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