Employee Communication is Vital to Workers Comp Success

One factor that correlates strongly with the employer’s ability to control workers compensation cost is the ability to communicate effectively with employees.  The importance of quality communications with the employee cannot be overstated. The level and quality of communications will often make a difference in the final outcome of the workers comp claim.

Communications can be formal and informal. Formal communications include published policies, brochures and posters advising the employee of the work coverage benefits, and written documents / procedures outlining the roles and responsibilities of the employee and other personnel when a workers comp claim occurs. Also, a log where a summary is recorded of each verbal communication with the employee would be classified as formal. (WCxKit)
The informal level of communication would include both telephone conversations and face-to-face discussions with the employee. Informal communications would also include any voice mail or get well cards sent to the employee.
Through proper communication with the employees, the employer provides and receives information from the employee.  If the communications become a one-way street with the employee or employer providing all the information, the communications are not effective.  The balance between receiving and providing information should remain roughly equal.
Communications with the employee should start before there is a workers comp claim. This would be done:


By establishing the employee’s responsibility to report an injury accident immediately,
By having safety training sessions,
By establishing procedures the employee is to follow if there is an accident, and,
By communicating the importance of the modified duty program.
This proactive communication before an accident will pave the way for smoother handling of each claim, if and when one does occur.
After the injury it is equally important to communicate with the employee.  Contacting the employee immediately after the first medical treatment conveys to the employee a level of caring and concern about their wellbeing.  The employer should remain in contact with the employee throughout the recovery process.  The best way to do this is via a weekly scheduled phone call or having the employee call in after each medical visit.  The information discussed on these calls allows the employer to more easily respond to the injured employee's concerns.  
Most employees do not obtain an attorney out of greed or a desire to get something more than they deserve.  Most employees obtain attorneys because the level of communications between the employer and the employee is inadequate, or the level of communications between the adjuster and the employee is inadequate.  When there is an adequate conveyance of information between the employer and the employee, the employee does not see a “need” to get an attorney.
By keeping the employee thoroughly informed it conveys to the employee that he/she is important to the employer.  This will lead to an increased desire to understand company policies and how the employee can comply with these policies. (WCxKit)
There are various additional ways an employer can keep good communications with the injured employee throughout the claims process.  To learn more about how you can improve your communications with the employees, please contact us for your copy of 2012 Manage Your Workers Compensation Program, Reduce Cost 20-50%

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Contact Mstack@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com. 


Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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