Look at WHY to contain Workers Compensation Claim Costs

Here in Australia, I am involved in a project
that looks at trying to identify potential WC claims – and providing resources/strategies
to address the potential claims (particularly where ‘stress’ is involved) BEFORE they become claims.

The organisation had identified that there was an approximate 8 month lag between managers
first noticing signs of reduced productivity and the eventual submission of a WC claim
(and they quantified that they spent about $50,000 on sick leave/replacement
staff/overtime for other staff during this 8 month lag)

Via a Help Line, we provided advice to managers who sensed/observed a worker’s performance
was deteriorating. We gave them practical management solutions and resources that they
could take back to the employee and offer as ‘help’.

The solutions/resources included personal counselling via an Employee Assistance Program
(EAP) , Performance Counselling re: how to improve work performance/time management,
Vocational Counselling re: what else was ‘out there’ if the employee really wanted to
leave the industry and Medical Assessment for chronic illness/injury (whether work-related or not).

The Managers were very appreciative of the PRACTICAL solutions – that THEY could offer (ie
they still maintained a direct relationship with their employee)

The Organisation was thrilled that the Managers felt more in control and were not inclined
to ‘let things slide’ …into becoming claims…

Via the Help Line, we documented all of the ‘reasons’ for the deterioration in the
worker’s productivity/performance. Hence – we collected the WHYs.

Interestingly, while we thought that conflict with coworkers or managers would be a main
reason – the main reason actually was linked to unresolved grief! A majority of the
employees are in their 40-50s – with elderly parents dying, marriages breaking up,
children leaving home, mid-life crisis stuff….

Now – granted – none of this is specifically work-related – but it certainly impacted on
work performance. The organisation is enlightened enough to realise that they can possibly
improve productivity via provision of some grief management programs….radical in the
area of WC! (which generally views this kind of approach as ‘fluffy’)

The purpose in outlining this case is to let you know that the WHY question is definitely
a clue to cost containment…

Anne Engleman
Workers Compensation Management Consultant
Engleman Etcetera Pty Ltd
Sydney, Australia
Email: [email protected]