Good communication is key to lowering Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance costs. Unfortunately, many business owners are under the false impression that communicating with injured employees can cause WC claims and increase the cost of those claims. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Lack of communication and miscommunication in the claims process can cost your business more. For example, injured employees typically hire a lawyer – not to get more money but because of inadequate communication with their employees. For example, one study found that “46% [of injured employees] said they hired attorneys because they felt the claim had been denied when, in fact, it had not yet been accepted into the process.” And the truth is that WC cases that involve attorneys often cost more.
An injured employee may be worried about their injury, recovery, and how they will continue to support their family. In addition, they may be in pain or facing unfamiliar medical treatments or medication. Plus, WC claims can be complicated. This can result in a scared, stressed, confused, and possibly angry employee. If the injured employee understands that you are concerned about their well-being and are willing to help them through the WC claims process, you become an ally (rather than an adversary). The only way to accomplish that is through good communication before, during, and after a workplace injury.
Workers’ Compensation Communication
Good communication should be part of the onboarding process of new employees:
- Foster a Positive Culture of Safety – From the start, you need to create a culture of safety that emphasizes safety as a core value of your business.
- Foster Ongoing Communication – Employees need to know that it is safe for them to report safety concerns and injuries without fear of retaliation.
- Provide WC Information – Employers should provide all employees with information about WC, including how to report an injury, what type of injuries are covered, who to contact if they have questions, a list of designated medical providers, etc.
- Training – All employees should receive ongoing safety training to minimize the risk of injury and to know what to do if an injury occurs. Supervisors should receive training regarding Workers’ Compensation in addition to safety training. CFO advises, “Supervisors are often in the best position to shape workers’ initial expectations about what should happen, post-injury.”
Good communication is also crucial when an injury occurs:
- Seek Appropriate Medical Attention – When an injury occurs, your first priority should be to ensure that the injured employee receives appropriate medical attention.
- Thorough Investigation – Every time an injury occurs, a thorough investigation of the incident should occur. The investigation should include interviews with the injured employee and any co-workers who witnessed the incident.
- Documentation – Every incident should be well-documented while everything is still fresh in everyone’s mind.
Ongoing communication during the claims process is critical for a timely resolution:
- Designate one employee to be the primary contact point for injured employees. That employee should be patient, kind, understanding, and familiar with the WC claims process.
- Provide written and verbal information about the claims process, what the injured employee should expect, etc.
- Regular communication (at least every other week) throughout the recovery process allows employers to monitor the recovery process, update the injured employee on the progress of the claim, and answer any questions or concerns the injured employee may have.
- Communicate Genuine Empathy and Trust. Regular informal phone and in-person conversations and get-well cards show the employee that you are concerned about their well-being.
- Discuss Return-to-Work Assignments. Communicate to injured employees that you are concerned about their well-being and that you are looking forward to them returning to work when it is medically safe to do so. Discuss the possibility of light-duty or transitional duty opportunities with medical providers and the injured employee.
The Key to Lowering Workers’ Compensation Costs
Good communication should begin with your insurance provider. The independent agents at American Insuring Group listen carefully to better understand your needs, so we can ensure that you get the right workers' compensation insurance coverage at a great price!
Get started today by calling (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.