Take a look at this video of a Florida office worker faking an injury to receive workers compensation.
If you are an employer video like this probably makes your blood boil. Given the cost of workers comp and workplace injury medical care, employers HATE having to spend money they shouldn’t have to.
But what if many employers are their own worst enemy? Recently there was an article from the risk advisory company HNI with the provocative title: How Employers Can Break Through Work Comp Claim Dysfunction. In a nutshell, the article says that companies drop the ball when it comes to post-injury treatment. Instead of treating workers like valued employees who the company will help recover and get back on the job, companies make injured workers feel like they have been discarded. Information isn’t communicated. medical treatment is uncoordinated. instead of hearing from the company, the worker hears from the adjuster.
It doesn’t take long for the worker to feel abandoned, and then the worker feels disgruntled. From there it is a short step to:
- The worker working the system
- The worker getting a lawyer.
There is a third threat that can raise the cost of injury management – research has shown time and time again that a worker’s attitude can speed up or slow down recovery. Workers who feel secure and believe the company is taking care of them recover in a fraction of the time that it takes a worker who does not believe the company is behind him or her and is not optimistic about getting better.
Many HR experts now believe that the best way to avoid all of those problems is to make sure the worker has an advocate in the company – someone who stays in regular communication with an injured worker, reassures the worker about his or her recovery plan and will step in to keep the plan on track.
It is hard to be nice when you have to pay big bills, but, outside of a small group of workers comp cheaters, much of the expense of injury management is tied to length of time the claim is open and the worker’s attitude has a big impact on that. So maybe it is time to ask: Who is the advocate in your company?