The True Costs of Lost Productivity
No one has spare employees. The estimated annual price tag of unscheduled absences for large employers is $660 per domestic employee.1 Whenever an employee is disabled and off work, you are paying both the benefit costs of workers compensation or disability and the replacement costs of overtime or temporary workers. A solid absence management program:
1. Speeds the return to work for injured employees.
2. Cuts occupational and non-occupational disability costs.
3. Creates a return to work culture within your company.
Putting The Management Back Into Absence Management
An absence management program uses a return to work program to provide assessment through implementation, evaluation and the provision of resources moving forward, giving employers an all-encompassing approach.
All elements of an employer’s current return to work efforts are examined, both occupational and non-occupational, to identify areas of strength and opportunity. ADA and ADAAA compliance issues are addressed and policies and procedures are regulation compliant.
A superior absence management plan focuses on more than injuries and illness. Only 34 percent of absences are due to illness or injury. The majority of unscheduled absences come from other concerns, such as family issues (22 percent), personal needs (18 percent), entitlement mentality and stress.2
Whether it’s your employee’s illness or that of a family member, medically trained professionals should include:
1. Registered nurses
2. Board-certified physicians
3. Vocational rehabilitation consultants
4. Behavioral health specialists
5. Master-level social workers
Building a Return to Work Culture
All of your front line managers, supervisors and other key players experience the same mindset and corporate culture, addressing:
1. The importance and financial value of returning disabled employees to work.
2. The skills and practices involved in working with employees as they re-enter the workplace.
3. Existing policies or procedures which inhibit return to work.
4. Manager and employee incentives that are counterproductive.
5. Training and eLearning tools.
6. Objective measurements to gauge program effectiveness.
Companies learn how to reduce disability time to a functional minimum. Everyone wins. Employers see lower total costs, work teams get key players back sooner and the employee gets back to a full wage or salary.
Demonstrated Success …
A West Coast hospital network looked to Milt Wright & Associates, to identify costly deficiencies and effective solutions. One year after implementation, the custom assessment, case management training for managers and supervisors, and ongoing technical assistance yielded a cost reduction from $3.7 million to $900,000.
Extensive experience confirms improving the internal handling of return to work reduces overall claim durations. Your claim program will not change, but your ability to improve each return to work challenge will, thus you reduce your total loss costs.
1Employer Resource Institute Webinar, April 9, 2010.
217th Annual CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey. (www.cch.com/press/news/2007/20071010h.asp)
Contributor: Broadspire provides workers compensation third-party administrative services. This service is available bundled and unbundled to Broadspire clients and to companies that are not currently clients. For information contact 1-866-625-1662 or Broadspire_Info@choosebroadspire.com; www.choosebroadspire.
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