The key to successful injury management and return to work is good communication

By Sonya Faull

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To ensure a successful return to work, it’s critical for employers to establish regular communication with injured employees throughout their recovery.

Evidence tells us that injured employees benefit from regular contact from their employer and colleagues. It supports their recovery and maintains their connection with work, which leads to  far better return to work outcomes.

Maintaining communication makes a big difference to the recovery process

Work is such a big part of our lives. When it just disappears, alongside the stress of an injury itself, it can be detrimental to the rehabilitation process.

This is why effective communication that keeps an injured employee engaged in the workplace  is so helpful for their recovery - poor communication from their employer results in longer absences from the workplace and poor return to work outcomes. Getting communication right is crucial.

Often, uncertainty about what their return to work will be like creates psychological barriers to coming back, and regular contact helps to decrease this. It may seem simple, but a quick text or call from a co-worker inviting the injured employee to still attend work related meetings or functions (if appropriate) and regularly checking in on how they are, goes a long way in keeping the employee engaged with the workplace.

Facilitating better communication through a third party

Despite best intentions, communication does sometimes break down. There are various reasons for this, but I think you have to appreciate that both employers and employees are facing a lot of stressors in these situations. Injured employees are dealing with recovery and the loss of their work role and potentially income, while employers have lost an employee and don’t know when they will be coming back to help manage the workload.

In these cases, an independent third party can be called on to help bridge the communication gap. At Konekt Workcare, we offer ‘facilitated discussions’ that can be used in both compensable and non-compensable environments.

This can easily bring the two parties together in a very neutral environment, to work through concerns and issues causing the breakdown. We’re then able to develop a really strong action plan that everyone agrees to, to try and get communication back on track.

Ultimately, the key component of successful injury management and return to work outcomes is good communication and Konekt is great at implementing and guiding that. We support all stakeholders in the injury management experience and provide individualised and tailored programs while keeping everyone involved in the return-to-work process regularly updated.

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Published on Sep 15, 2021

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