TOP 5 BENEFITS OF AN IN-HOUSE WORKERS COMP TEAM
Colleagues on the inside can provide insight and evaluation
Having an employer that shows it is looking out for
the best interests of those who are working to improve
the bottom line can be critical to everyone reaching their full potential.
By Michael Wayne
Increasingly, the domain of workers comp is becoming more sophisticated when it comes to injury prevention. This sophistication has, in large part, been the direct result of technological advances that have made it easier to study the repetitive and unsafe behaviors of employees over time. While safety programs have long been a mainstay in the drive to eliminate injuries, and education has been implemented to help employees counteract repetitive movements’ effects, ensuring the adherence to both has been difficult. The advent of wearable devices that track how employees are moving and what they are doing has made it so that the impact of safety and education programs can be more readily determined.
Certainly, there are some who will argue that this is nothing more than a case of “Big Brother,” just a way for employers to keep tabs and ensure workers are actually working. Indeed, select organizations undoubtedly are of that exact mindset. There are other employees who may believe that wearables and a reliance upon technology create an environment void of human interaction and, therefore, understanding as to what is actually happening and why employee behavior is what it is. One way to counteract any such objections is to have colleagues on the inside providing insight and evaluation—a dedicated, in-house workers comp team. This would include claims team members, nurse case managers, and identified examiners. Here are the top five benefits of an in-house workers comp team.
Responsibility for colleagues
As a dedicated unit, the task of this team is to serve its colleagues who are injured on the job. From ensuring questions are answered, employees are following doctors’ orders, to claims being handled, there is a concerted focus on the needs of the individual as well as the organization. In particular, the health of the individual and the organization is central to this group’s existence.
Having an in-house team is a boots-on-the-ground approach that provides an organization with an eyewitness account of what’s happening to employees and why. Untainted data is critical and valuable. Sometimes, however, a spreadsheet doesn’t tell the whole story. People may be inclined to find information online instead of speaking to a live human being, but when their personal interests are at stake, they want to know that they are being heard. A human ear is more reassuring in that regard than a voice recording. Feedback from employees who are, in many cases, conducting one-on-one interviews can be invaluable.
By all reason, an in-house workers comp team wants to see the organization succeed and have a happy workforce because it means, in theory, the dedicated team is accomplishing what it was composed to do. That translates to a personal goal for the unit—job security. While not the most noble of causes, the reality is that employees of the organization whose careers are on the line because of performance are likely to be more invested than an outside firm attempting to do the same or similar work.
Empathy and understanding
In a time of uncertainty or great trial, no one wants to feel alone. When employees know that someone is there, working with them, fighting on their behalf, and providing boosts of encouragement, it’s powerful. It’s beneficial for everyone’s morale—the employee, the members of the in-house team, and all of the other employees who see what’s happening and know they would receive the same backing if the time came. A cynic would claim the Golden Rule is, “He who has the gold makes the rules,” but the traditional “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is appropriate here.
The installation of an in-house workers comp team can be a boon to employees’ perception of the organization. It’s not a given though. First, the purpose of the in-house team has to be explained in a way so that employees understand it as a positive. Second, the in-house unit has to perform up to and beyond the expectations of the employees whom it is there to serve. The success of such a team absolutely hinges on employees being shown what the merits are, not simply told.
Regardless of the profession, employees, especially those with roles that necessitate a lot of physical and mental repetition, can be made to feel like a cog in an uncaring machine. Additionally, every employee is dealing with unknown, unique life experiences. Some, unfortunately, end up doing so in sudden, life-changing ways that can be difficult or even seemingly impossible to deal with alone. Having an employer that shows it is looking out for the best interests of those who are working to improve the bottom line can be critical to everyone reaching their full potential.
Michael Wayne is a freelance insurance writer.