Increasing productivity and reducing absenteeism are common goals for many human resources executives, but they often can be challenging to achieve. As an employee benefits consultant, I’ve helped many companies tackle these challenges, and I’ve noticed that the relationship a company has with its disability provider is critical.
Here are eight ways you can improve those relationships in an effort to reach those goals:
- Partner Selection – Work with a disability provider that is fully committed to a proactive approach that helps keep your employees at work and productive.
- Focus – For the program to be effective, the disability provider has to be clearly focused on prevention, relief and protection not only for the employee but also for you.
- Results – An accurate measurement of qualitative and quantitative results is key. This includes measuring average disability reduction per employee, total cost savings, total employees who stayed at work, etc.
- Resources – Established relationships with the right resources are also important. More often than not, assistive equipment is needed quickly. A provider that has a strong relationship with the ergonomic supply chain can help keep employees on the job or return them to the job more quickly and safely. Furthermore, you should expect to have access to customized solutions and equipment for unique medical circumstances and/or job modifications.
- Policies – Companies need to be diligent in creating internal absence and salary continuation policies that not only adhere to or complement Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations, but are also consistent and enforceable.
- Outsource the Expertise – It is often more beneficial to outsource absence management to a third-party administration (TPA) that has invested in an automated system that complies with complex, confusing and ever-changing federal and state regulations. If you do select a TPA to perform this administration, make sure it can handle both FMLA and short-term disability (if applicable). Having one claim professional for both will help reduce any disconnects in the administration of these benefits.
- Collaboration – Insist that your employee benefits providers collaborate to help prevent and mitigate absence, disability, medical utilization and work-related injuries. Assist the providers in starting the conversation and offering solutions for working together to share information/data, and perform friendly phone transfers or referrals to the appropriate service providers (e.g., Employee Assistance Program, Disease Management, etc.).
- Integration – Invite the provider to have a presence in your workplace. Start by placing representatives on-site with your internal wellness and risk management coordinators. Their ultimate goal should be to create a finely tuned, predictive modeling and early intervention process.
Above all, be active in the process. Work to incorporate these tips to enhance your workplace productivity while achieving the best possible outcomes.