February 23, 2012 3 Comments
Twice a year, about 20 Texas Mutual Insurance Company employees attend a workshop called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. They spend three days improving their self-awareness, writing personal mission statements and working toward interdependent relationships.
Interdependent relationships are important in the workers’ comp world, too, especially when it comes to helping injured workers return to work. If you use the seven habits to build a highly effective return-to-work process, you can take steps toward reducing your workers’ comp costs and improving your productivity.
Habits one and two: Lay the groundwork
You will work with your employees to develop your return-to-work process. But first, you will lay the groundwork on your own.
Habit one teaches you to be proactive. Proactive people believe that they are a product of their choices, not their circumstances. You should not accept injuries as a cost of doing business. Instead, choose to invest the time and resources to develop a return-to-work process.
The goal of your process will be to help injured workers get well and back on the job. In habit two, you learn to begin with the end in mind.
Write a policy statement that confirms your commitment to the return-to-work process. Your policy should stress the importance of operating safely and getting immediate medical care for injured workers. It should also explain that the company will work with injured employees to help them recover and return to the job, either at full or modified duty, as soon as medically appropriate.
“A good return-to-work process eliminates surprises,” said Pat Crawford, return-to-work education coordinator at the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation. “Everyone should know what to expect if they get injured on the job. We encourage employers to post their return-to-work policy in high-traffic areas and give every employee a copy.”