Employee retention, employee engagement and talent management are the buzz words in the Human Resource Community. Every major publication predicts some level of talent shortage, yet every year employers allow trained talent to walk out their door after an occupational injury.
As the HR Professional managing workers compensation you must have a retention strategy for injured employees!
Historically, the workers’ compensation laws have not adequately supported the return to work process – it is much easier to offer injured employees a settlement than it is to provide them with the opportunity to return to gainful employment. The only problem with this scenario – the next employee you hire could be someone else’s settlement.
The key reason why employers do not make a valiant effort to retain injured employees – Fear! Fear of re-injury, fear of litigation or just fear of workers’ compensation.
All too often, an injured worker is not put back into the workforce for one of three reasons. First, employers do not feel that they can offer the employee a limited but meaningful job. Or second, you worry that the recovering employee, who is not up to “full speed”, many re-injure themselves and create additional injury claims. Third, you may not have the resources to systematically implement a proactive injury management program. And there’s also, the negative side of Injury Management. Most employers do not want to deal with the attitude problems, productivity issues and the morale drain that can occur when injured employees do not want to be at work.
Unfortunately, employers are not in a win-win situation when it comes to workplace injuries. If you leave the employee at home, the insurance carrier pays them to be there. This, in turn, affects the amount of money your company pays for Workers’ Compensation premiums. If you refuse to bring the employee back to work, you may be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you bring the employee back to work in a nonproductive light-duty position that has them counting paperclips, you are paying state and federal taxes as well as benefits for an employee who is not contributing anything to your bottom line.