Employee Engagement: Including Your Employees as Part of the Process
As an employer, it’s important to keep your employees engaged throughout each step of the return-to-work process, to ensure a successful implementation of any occupational medicine program. This goes beyond simply communicating with employees about what a successful pre-established injury care process looks like, and includes guidelines for connecting with employees throughout the treatment process including before, during and after every visit to the clinician.
Communicating the plan to employees
After an injury process has been developed and rolled out to the workforce, an employer should actively communicate each step of the program to their employees. You can put as much time and effort as you want into developing an injury care process that fits your company’s specific needs but if your employees don’t even know what to do when an injury takes place it won’t do much good.
Communicating and engaging with your employees is more than just sending out an e-mail with the injury care process procedures. Communication should be part of a consistent stream of communication between you as an employer and your employee, taking place throughout all steps of the injury care process. The advantage of an established program is the use of standard process for injury evaluation, early medical treatment, and communication. Injured employees are supported through established return-to-work programs, and coordinated communication. This coordination prevents delays by making sure clinicians, specialists, payors, and employers are all updated on the progress of care.
Ultimately, you must have a program that your employees want to use: it needs to be easy, personalized, confidential, and focused on their recovery and wellness.
Involvement during treatment
If or when an injury occurs, you as the employer must make sure to be engaged with the injured employee and reassure them that you will be involved with all parties throughout the entire process of care. As an employer consistent communication should be apparent between employee, employer, clinician and payor.
Employers should be able to receive timely updates throughout each step of the injury care process from the provider. Current patient status and updated return-to-work information should be shared not only with managers or supervisors, but also with any third-party payor to help complete an efficient claims management process. All information approved for release should be provided to the appropriate parties in a consistent and timely fashion.
You should stay engaged with the treating clinician and stay up-to-date on progress throughout the return-to work process. The clinician should provide you with updates and treatment plan details or when healthy enough, discuss the possibility of limited duty to help return your employee to the workplace in some capacity.
A top occupational medicine provider should also be able to provide employers with access to web-based or secured e-mail status reports which can be viewed at any time. Real-time reporting allows an employer to stay involved in the treatment process. Quick, easy access to information saves valuable time that otherwise might be spent trying to get updates from a clinician.
Following up after the injury
After your injured employee has been cleared to return to work by a clinician it is imperative that you stay engaged with the employee. The employer should conduct regular check- ups with the employee and make sure they are able to perform their duties without the risk of re-injuring themselves. This also helps to provide a level of confidence to the employee that you value their contributions and support them in their role. It creates an additional level of trust between the employer and the employee, and further validates your company’s injury care process.