Throughout our Productivity Insight series, The Standard has explored a new take on the benefits discussion. There is more than what meets the eye when it comes to the impact employee health has on an organization; employers need to realize that the costs of health-related lost productivity can well exceed the costs of poor employee health.
However, employers can create a workplace that supports employee productivity, helps keep employees at work and, ultimately, reduces costs. Choosing a disability provider that can identify the appropriate steps to shorten or prevent short-term disability absences is a step toward this objective. Here’s how.
Enhance existing programs
Many employers offer one or more health management programs — employee assistance (EAP), disease management and wellness programs — to help improve employee health and reduce absences and health care costs. However, it can be difficult for employers to achieve high utilization of these programs. Many employees may only investigate health management solutions right before an absence caused by a medical condition occurs, or just after an employee is diagnosed and unable to work.
To help maximize their investment, many employers have added the expertise of an on-site consultant (a nurse or vocational specialist) at their facility to encourage use of these programs and, ultimately, reduce costs. Working mostly during the times when an employee is expecting or experiencing a short-term disability, in partnership with the employer’s human resources team, the on-site consultant can help:
- Employees absent due to a medical condition return to work when appropriate
- Employees struggling with medical conditions stay at work
- Both groups connect to the employer’s specific and appropriate health management programs
Provide assistance where it’s most needed
Employers who make use of an on-site consultant can help increase use of these health management programs. Consider how a recent intervention that used a Workplace Possibilities℠ on-site consultant helped connect an employee to an existing resource.
A sales manager had been missing work and performing below her usual level. The employee’s supervisor asked the on-site consultant to approach the employee to see if she needed assistance.
After connecting with the employee to learn more about what was causing her to miss work, the on-site consultant connected the employee with the employer’s EAP. The EAP was able to provide counseling that, over time, helped the employee feel better, thus improving her work performance and reducing absences.
Although this is just one example, many employee accommodations and interventions have been made with help from Workplace Possibilities on-site consultants. On-site consultants can work hand in hand with human resources departments to ensure that an accommodation or intervention runs smoothly and is successful. In addition to helping employees stay at work and lowering costs, employees develop a level of trust with an on-site consultant, which can help increase successful results over time.
For more information about the hidden costs of lost productivity and solutions for dealing with this problem, download the Productivity Insight #5 – Short Term Disability: The Window of Opportunity white paper.