The workers’ compensation scheme can be a difficult experience for both the employer and the injured employee. There are a multitude of factors that can impact the success or failure of a claim and, if not managed well, will have a direct impact for you as the employer, particularly on your bottom line.
But don’t despair – there are many things you can do to protect your business and help your injured employee recover and return to work. In all our years of providing workplace rehabilitation services there is one area that stands out as a major factor in the success of a claim – communication!
Why is communication paramount? Well, we know that claims which have poor communication between the employer and employee typically have a much lower success rate and significantly higher claims costs – impacting directly on your workers compensation premiums. Lack of and poor communication usually leads to the employee feeling that their employer does not care about them which in turn, leads to a breakdown in the relationship, along with frustration, misinformation and disengagement. When this happens behaviours and decisions become emotionally-led. This is normal human behaviour if you think about it. How would you feel and behave if you knew someone didn’t care about you?
Follow our key communication tips so that poor communication doesn’t blow-out your workers compensation claims:
Communication – keep it simple, do it frequently & make it genuine.
Keep it simple to prevent misinformation and confusion. This simplifies things for the injured employee. This way they don’t have to talk to multiple people within the business which can be overwhelming and frustrating which can lead to unnecessary and costly complications on their claim. A great way to achieve this is to assign a key contact within the business to be the main liaison with your injured employee. That person should take the lead to talk to relevant people in the business about the employee’s needs and relay that information to the employee. Ideally this would be an experienced Return to Work Coordinator.
Do it frequently to set up a schedule to connect with your injured employee to check in and see how they are progressing or where they need assistance. This will help ensure you are both on the same page, making positive progress and address any issues early so they don’t become major issues later.
Make it genuine every employee wants to know that their employer cares about them and this is no different for an injured employee. This doesn’t mean you have to shower them with flowers or gifts during their recovery; it’s more about showing genuine care and understanding for their situation. Apart from any physical pain, they might be feeling worried about their job or finances, scared about the impact of their injury, or think that nobody really cares. Acknowledging their feelings and concerns, touching base regularly and showing empathy are some easy ways you can show genuine care. An injured employee who knows you genuinely care will have a much higher chance of successfully returning to work.
So, if you want to protect your business from escalating claims costs, start by using these simple communication tips. You’ll be surprised at how easy they really are and how much positive impact they will have on maximising claim success.
When your injured worker is ready to return, read our article on the 7 strategies to prepare for the return of an injured worker for an efficient process.