New year, new approach to accommodations

New Year Accommodations

If you’ve crafted New Year’s resolutions to be a better, bolder version of yourself, we’re challenging you to try doing a little less this year.

As an HR manager, you have a full plate of responsibilities. This year, resolve to rely on your disability carrier for a variety of employee accommodation-related tasks to ensure you have the bandwidth to accomplish your other resolutions.

Sharing (the workload) is caring
In a recent survey, we found that 76 percent of employee benefit managers said their workforce has included an employee with a disabling condition, and 63 percent were unsure of how to connect an at-risk employee with assistance.1 We’re here to help close that knowledge gap.

Here are four steps along the reasonable accommodations timeline where your disability carrier can lend a hand:

  1. Accommodations assistance. When you have employees who could benefit from a reasonable accommodation — so they can work more efficiently with less pain or come back from a disability leave — call on your disability carrier to help create a plan. A consultant from your disability carrier can outline job modifications, temporary jobs, reduced hours or even equipment that can be purchased to help an employee. And because the consultant will keep you informed throughout the entire process, you can continue with your other tasks knowing your employee is being properly assisted.
  2. Research. Once the plan has been outlined, the consultant, or team of consultants, from your disability carrier does the legwork to implement the plan, taking into account all considerations — the employee’s condition, job duties and work environment.The consultant’s research includes reaching out to the employee’s medical team for information on job restrictions or considerations for when the employee is at work.
  3. Sourcing and installation. Workplace Possibilities consultants have a strong understanding of available equipment and great relationships with vendors who also can help find the right tool for each employee. And it’s not just about who we know, it’s about follow-through. For example, once consultants put together equipment or tools for an employee, they’ll also help instruct the employee on proper usage.
  4. Follow up. The accommodations process doesn’t end when equipment or job modifications are in place. The consultant will periodically check in to ensure that employees are getting the most from the accommodation. Has their pain subsided? Is there still room for improvement? If modifications are needed, the consultant will take on that task, too.

By delegating some of these responsibilities to your carrier’s consultant, you can free yourself for other tasks while still ensuring your employees get accommodated in the best possible way. A New Year’s resolution that makes your job easier and your employees’ lives better sounds nice, doesn’t it?

1Data based on a survey of 300 respondents and conducted in September 2014 by a third-party research firm hired by The Standard.

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