IBI Recap: The benefits of on-site consultants

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to present on The Standard’s Workplace PossibilitiesSM program for managing absence and disability at the 2012 Health and Productivity Forum sponsored by the Integrated Benefits Institute and National Business Coalition on Health (IBI/NBCH).

During my session, “Workplace Possibilities: A dedicated, on-site consultant reduces absence and disability,” I talked about program specifics and benefits. Prior to and during the forum, I spoke with many HR managers about our on-site consultants, and they had several questions about our program, including the following:

What does an on-site consultant do?
Our on-site consultants currently serve more than 80 employers with approximately 400,000 employees. They are either nurses or vocational specialists who can perform many functions, including:

  • Conducting return-to-work, stay-at-work and ergonomic interventions
  • Being the liaison between HR and supervisors to arrange transitional work
  • Assist with accommodations and ADA issues
  • Contacting employees’ treating physicians, when needed
  • Connecting employees to employers’ health management programs

What are the benefits of having an on-site consultant?
Consultants identify opportunities to keep at-risk employees on the job or get them back to work sooner. They also strive to decrease employee absence, increase employee productivity and help decrease the total costs of absence and disability. Consultants help increase employee use of health management programs and improve employee satisfaction and engagement. They also help reduce the HR department’s workload.

Is the program expensive?
This program saves employers hard dollars in income replacement benefits that are not paid out because the employee returned to work early, or did not leave work in the first place. Our Workplace Possibilities on-site consultant model also helps a company reduce indirect disability and absence costs, which include those related to lost productivity, as well as conducting training, carrying out rework, employing replacement workers and staffing. At the IBI/NBCH session, I was excited to tell the audience that in 2011, Workplace Possibilities saved employers participating in the program close to $4.7 million by reducing short-term employee absences by an average of 39 days.1

The financial burden of employee absence can be massive, with the potential of costing employers millions of dollars each year. Absences and disabilities also can affect an employee’s ability to stay at work or return to work. Having an on-site consultant in place aids employers in keeping costs down and helps their employees stay working.

Do you have any unanswered questions? Feel free to reach out to me through the comments section on this blog.

1The Standard internal data, 2011

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