3 Levers To Develop TRUST In Workers’ Compensation

Hello, Michael Stack here. Principal of Amaxx, founder of COMPClub and coauthor of your ultimate guide to Mastering Worker’s Comp Cost. Today I want to do something a little bit different. I’m going to tell you a personal story about myself and my family and then relate that to an extraordinarily important concept in worker’s compensation management.


My wife and I lived in a town just outside of Boston called Hingham, Massachusetts. We decided to move up to Kennebunkport, Maine. The way that the housing worked out, it didn’t exactly work out the way that we wanted it to, so we had to move our stuff into storage. We didn’t really have a place to live in Maine until September 1st. Running an online company affords us some flexibility as far as location is concerned. We decided to take the summer and go on an adventure; have us some new experiences for myself, my wife, Kori, and our 4 children who are ages 2 to 6 years old.


We spent some time in Bend, Oregon. Had a nice time there and now we’ve landed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and will be here for a month. Anyone that’s raised children, particularly children that are close together, know the joys that comes with that but also the stress and the challenges and the frustration that comes with that. My wife Kori and I committed to this concept of going on date nights because we felt it was important to have a united front and really raise those children as successfully as possible for our marriage as well as for our family.



Trust Is The #1 Determining Factor If Employees Hire An Attorney


Being here in Colorado, we wanted to continue that tradition but we were looking for a babysitter. I was looking for a babysitter which really lead me to really think about this concept of trust and how important this concept is. WCRI did a study a couple of years ago and said, “Trust was the number 1 factor in why an employee is going to hire an attorney.” Number 1 factor in the outcome in that claim, if it’s going to go south or potentially go in the right direction. It led me to start to think about this concept. I’m going to tell you a little bit more about this story of looking for a sitter and how it relates to developing this trust in worker’s compensation management.


In order to have someone watch your kids, particularly young kids, you need to have a high level of comfort with that person and a high level of trust. Being here in Colorado, we don’t have those babysitter relationships. I went on this website called Care.com. It has a lot of different caregivers and providers, etc. Reading the reviews about different local sitters here in Steamboat Springs. Reading through 5-6 reviews about certain sitters. They did a nice job for their kids and they’ll probably do a nice job for my kids so it gives me a certain level of comfort to have them hired even though I’ve never met them, but only so much.


One of the nice things this website does is it connects you through Facebook of who your shared friends are. My sister-in-law happened to have a relationship with one of the sitters. She was good friends with her. I called her up. She gave me the endorsement. “She’s a trustworthy individual.” Boom, immediately I felt comfortable with that individual that I’ve never met before and she is now signed up to babysit us to go to dinner on Friday night, which will be great.



3 Levers To Develop Trust


How do you now develop this trust and how does this relate to your organization, to your worker’s compensation management program? Trust is developed really through 3 different levers. 1 is through relationships. Number 2 is through communication and number 3 is through time. Relationships, communication and time. 3 different levers in order to develop a trusted relationship, particularly in a new experience.



Leverage The Supervisor Relationship


Here’s the important concept here. I read the reviews and had a certain level of comfort with individuals. It wasn’t until the trust of my sister-in-law got transferred. Immediately, my comfort level went up with that individual to contact her and have her come over. How does that relate here? The most trusted relationship of an employee, of an injured worker is their supervisor. That relationship needs to be leveraged, when that injured worker gets injured, of what this is going to happen. What experience is going to happen. They don’t know what’s going to happen. They’ve never been through this before. They need to leverage that supervisor relationship. Have them be involved in the process. That’s the concept, here are the tactics. That’s done through communication and that’s done over time.



Build Trust Through Active Communication


In communication, 3 different concepts here. A first day phone call and even better, a first day visit to the hospital. Having that supervisor contact that employee immediately. Talk about: we’re sorry you got hurt, we can’t wait for you to come back to work, how’s everything going for you so far? A lot of times companies will have someone from HR do this. They’ll reach out. It’s someone from the corporate office but there’s no relationship with that individual. Very similar to me reading those reviews on care.com. I have no relationship with these people that are writing the reviews.


If your organization is doing this, someone from HR’s doing it, it’s better than nothing. Reading those reviews is better than nothing but it’s nothing in comparison to leveraging a trusted relationship. That can immediately increase the comfort level just as my experience in looking with the babysitters. First a phone call or even better, going to visit the hospital. Follow this up then with a get well card that’s signed by the department and by the supervisor. “We can’t wait for you to get back to work. We’re sorry you got injured.” That’s the communication tactic, leveraging that relationship.



Solidify Trust Over Time


Next piece in this, this is also done immediately transferring that level of trust from that trusted relationship with the supervisor and then this is also done over time. This is done with a weekly meeting with the injured worker. In both of these incidences, it’s not just about giving care and it’s not just about understanding that you want them back to work. It’s about also understanding valuable claims management information: assessing the attitude of that injured employee, assessing how their medical treatment is going, assessing how their transitional duty job is going, if they’re in one, insuring that’s progressing and if they’re not in one yet, how can you work together to get them back to work. We know the benefits that come from that.


Having a weekly meeting, developing that relationship over time, leveraging that trust immediately from the supervisor, down through our first day phone call or personal visit and sending that get well card, your outcome of your claims will be significantly impacted. It will make a better outcome for your injured worker and significantly reduce your worker’s compensation claims cost.


Remember in worker’s compensation management, your success is defined by your integrity, so be great!



Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices. Through these platforms he is in the trenches on a working together with clients to implement and define best practices, which allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.



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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.



  1. You are welcome, thanks for the feedback!

  2. I say it’s really a great video Michael. And I love the way you explained all the trust level with a common example of babysitter. Well done and thanks.

  3. Thanks Jonny, I appreciate your feedback and the comment. – Michael

  4. Yes, I agree with you. A workers’ compensation is a great manifestation of your efforts to win your workers’ trust.

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