Employees who face work-related illnesses and injuries often suffer subsequent stress and anxiety. Oftentimes, this stress is worsened if employers cease communicating with the employee while they’re unable to work.
It is vital that employers make their employees feel appreciated and invest in their well-being. This rapport helps employees feel trusted, welcomed, and valued. As a result, employees who are injured at work will be much more likely to report accidents and injuries.
Furthermore, failing to communicate with injured employees may even increase their workers’ compensation claim costs. Injured employees with no relationship with their employer and a poor understanding of the workers’ compensation claims process are more likely to hire attorneys. By creating an environment where the lines of communication are open and forming trusting relationships with their workers, employers can avoid legal complications. Employees need to feel supported, especially following workplace injuries. This shows employees they are valued while simultaneously reducing their workers’ compensation costs.
Start Right Away
Employees should be trained on what to do in the event of a work-related injury or illness as a part of the onboarding process, including what the company’s workers’ compensation protocols entail.
Employers should talk about how to report an injury and let employees know that communications will continue during the treatment of that injury. Setting expectations upfront is the first step to employers facilitating ongoing communication, which helps nurture these important relationships.
From the moment of a workplace injury to the moment the injured employee returns to work, employees should be able to communicate with their employers. Following an injury, communication generally begins with employers, and they should:
- Explore what transpired immediately following an injury. Employers should show empathy to injured employees as they discuss what caused the injury.
- Give injured employees information pertinent to their situation, like how they can check on their claim status and who to contact with questions.
- Check in regularly to see how treatment is going and if they are satisfied with their doctor.
- Talk about wage replacement and how it works with injured employees.
- Discuss how long injured employees should wait until they get a benefit paycheck.
- Explain that a workers’ compensation adjuster will contact them to review the injury. It’s also important that employees understand that this is a normal procedure for insurance claims.
- Talk about return-to-work options so injured employees have a good understanding of their options when that time arrives.
Employers should check in on injured employees at least every other week. Key times to reach out include after surgery and scheduled treatments. Reassuring injured employees that you are looking forward to their return is important.
Employers should also reiterate to employees that they’re available if they need help. By staying in touch with the employee, employers can ascertain how far along their employees are in their recovery process.
If employers receive updates from the employee, they’ll want to share them with the claims adjuster. This helps keep the adjuster up to speed on the employee’s treatment.
When it comes to returning to work, employers must let their injured employees know if they can provide light-duty work and make any necessary accommodations so the employee can return to work as soon as medically possible.
Knowing that their employers are committed to bringing them back to work helps ease any anxiety or uncertainty employees are feeling. Upon returning to work, employers should check in daily to ensure the transition is going smoothly. Employers should also make sure job tasks aren’t aggravating injuries, causing the employee any pain, or creating new injuries
Back to Full-Duty Work
As injured employees continue to heal, employers can tweak the number of check-ins they have with the employee. Initially, employers should communicate often to make sure employees are comfortable and their work isn’t causing any further issues. As employees settle in, employers can reduce the number of check-ins, making sure injured workers continue to improve and are capable of confidently performing their jobs.
Remember, employers often overlook the simplest way to mitigate claim costs—employee communication. Happy employees feel valued, and communication is essential to establishing trust and controlling workers’ comp costs.
Contact us today to discuss all of your workers’ compensation needs.
This Work Comp Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
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