Our Top Four Strategies for a Successful Disability Management Program
Illness and injury can happen to anyone at any time. In fact, the chances of experiencing a disability for three or more months before the age of 65 is one in three and if you have an employee who is recovering from an injury or illness, they may require help and support in getting back to work.
At the core of all business goals is profitability and increasing sales. Other goals such as exceptional customer service, quality products/services and process improvement are in place to ultimately achieve that one main goal: profitability and increased sales. HR processes are embedded in achieving these goals: hiring the right people, setting expectations, motivating them and ensuring that they are happy and ultimately productive. If employees are at work and performing, business thrives.
On the other hand, illness and injury can result in absenteeism. Taking leave can result in lost time and consequently lost money. Disability management programs are put in place to streamline this process. At TeksMed, we understand that there are a number of factors involved in helping an employee get well again and back to work. That is why we use a four-pronged strategy to help employers ensure that their disability management programs are effective and successful.
In this article, we outline our top four strategies for disability management:
Strategy #1: Early Intervention and Support
It is common knowledge that the sooner patients receive care, the more likely it is that they will make a good and timely recovery. Yet, wait times through our present healthcare system can be extensive. With TekMed’s exclusive QuikCare expedited health care service, an injured worker can receive care significantly faster.
For example, the average wait time to see a specialist through the public system is 9.4 weeks . Through QuikCare however, the average wait time is only 1 week. To receive an MRI through the public system, patients must usually wait more than 11 weeks – but with QuickCare the MRI wait time is less than 3 days.
Through early intervention and support, injured workers can be diagnosed sooner and begin treatment earlier. In turn, they have a better chance for a full recovery.
Strategy #2: Seeing the Ability
Even if an injured worker is unable to perform all of the tasks that they did prior to their injury, it does not mean that they are unable to work at all. In fact, allowing an employee to do the tasks that they are able to will help maintain a connection and can be beneficial for their psychological health.
Providing the necessary support for an employee to return to their job may be as simple as ensuring they have a ride to work, reducing their hours or offering more frequent breaks. Solutions like this cost little to no money for the employer, but they engage the employee and help with reintegration.
Strategy #3: Communication
Communication is a vital part of any disability management program and any employer/employee relationship.
If a worker is off on disability leave, it can be helpful for a manager or other member of your team to periodically make contact to see how the employee is doing. Having these calls scheduled at specific times is recommended so that the recovering worker does not feel imposed upon.
Once the employee is back to work, communication is just as important. Whether the injury is a physical one or they are suffering from a mental condition such as PTSD, an employee coming back on the job may require special accommodation. Keeping the lines of communication open is key to knowing and providing what they need.
Strategy #4: Setting Goals
Finally, no disability management program would be complete without setting clear, measurable goals. These goals may be return to work goals – such as setting targets for return to work dates or duties for the employee to perform. They may be accommodation goals such as changing shifts or reconfiguring a work station. You may also wish to set communication goals such as having weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the employee to ensure that they are getting what they need to integrate back into the team.
By working with the employee to set these goals, it will help them to feel that they are part of the process and you will be able to get feedback on whether the goals are realistic.
Managing employee’s disability is a challenge for most employers, but with the right support it can be a success. For more information or to schedule a consultation contact TeksMed today.