The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) published a new report on return-to-work programs, interviewing various insurance professionals for their perspective and highlighting examples of ingenuity that helped enable successful programs.
All carriers agreed on the need for management commitment, focusing on the need to tailor an injured worker’s position to their physical restrictions. This includes finding tasks and positions that keep employees involved, aid in rehabilitation, prevent deconditioning, and add value for both the employer and employee.
Creating and maintaining an inventory of light-duty or transitional tasks can be incredibly useful in such an endeavor, as is the use of a dedicated RTW Coordinator in the workplace. Such a coordinator can be made responsible for facilitating light-duty work, acting as a single point of contact for the insurer and medical provider to help streamline communication.
The communication benefits of such a coordinator can set clear expectations between employees, employers, and medical professionals, regarding the assignment of modified or light duties.
Other aspects of a successful RTW program may include:
- Opportunities to work remotely and/or learn additional skill sets
- Affirmation that employers want to take care of the injured worker before returning them to work
- Meaningful work so employees feel productive and can maintain contact with workers and company culture during recovery
- More connection to the organization, which increases the employee’s sense of belonging, which can be a therapeutic and physical benefit