We often talk about our Workplace Possibilities program consultants who provide stay-at-work and return-to-work intervention for employees in need of assistance. These consultants are on the front lines with your HR team, assisting in making workplace accommodations a reality so employees can stay productive at work, or return to work as soon as medically able.
What you may not know is that there are others on our team working behind the scenes to help ensure that stay-at-work and return-to-work services are implemented successfully. Our Workplace Possibilities coordinators work side by side with nurse, vocational and mental health case managers to help keep the accommodations and plans moving forward seamlessly and efficiently. The coordinator works to help keep everyone involved updated on an employee’s return-to-work or stay-at-work plan, and helps ensure milestones are met and problems are handled before or as they happen.
Coordinators are an integral part of the Workplace Possibilities program. Here are three ways a coordinator can help you streamline workplace return-to-work and stay-at-work processes:
1) Getting an accommodation started
The coordinator can be your initial contact when an employee needs assistance at work. Your coordinator can even help determine which cases are appropriate to move forward, ensure the employee is eligible and help provide context on certain accommodations. Not only that, they also can help manage some of the important paperwork that goes along with an accommodation or return-to-work plan, and help obtain proper documentation from the employee.
2) Acting as a guide through the process
Your coordinator can be the liaison between you and the employee regarding disability leaves, return-to-work timing and other procedural questions. Coordinators often can help answer or guide HR managers through certain situations around an employee’s return to work. I’ve helped employers understand if and when they should reach out to an employee who is out on a disability leave to check in, or navigating steps to get an employee cleared to return to work.
3) Monitoring accommodation expense benefits
Workplace Possibilities coordinators check on accommodations and expenses through The Standard’s Reasonable Accommodation Expense Benefit. In conjunction with the employee’s consultant, the coordinator can help employers understand what is and isn’t covered under the benefit, navigate the costs and determine the materials needed to make the accommodation happen.
Though frequently compared with a consultant, a coordinator’s work is, more often than not, conducted behind the scenes. But, this work is valuable in the sense that it ensures you can implement stay-at-work and return-to-work plans productively. This assistance can go a long way to creating a happier you and a healthier employee.