The reality of business is that companies are comprised of people and people encounter challenging circumstances every day of their lives. Human resources departments should expect to learn that employees require time away from the company to rehabilitate their injuries. This is a fact of life. Handling it in a professional fashion should be a priority for all companies so that employees know that their interests are protected and that their employers are sensitive to circumstances that are out of their control. Below are four main ways that a human resources department may best handle employees who require time to rehabilitate from short term injuries.
Establish a Point of Contact
Establishing a point of contact between the injured employee and a member of the human resources department establishes order and structure. Both the company and the individual feel as if there is an open line of communication should the need for medical records, reports or even a simple phone call be necessary. Keeping the lines of communication open helps structure the situation and moves it along in a more orderly fashion. The employee will be able to provide this information to their physician and vice versa, keeping everyone in contact and on the same page.
Establish Regular Call in and Check in Times
The human element should not be underestimated in recovery. Making sure that the employee does not feel isolated is important. Make sure they have all the resources they need. You can even let them know about back pain treatment options, should they need it. Establishing regular telephone check-in times is crucial and will keep the employee focused not only on their recovery but also in the mentality of being “at work”. Talking to someone who is “on the job” at least once a week will remind the employee of how important their job is and will encourage them to return to the office sooner rather than later.
Set a Schedule
Keeping the employee in the mindset of workflow and an orderly workday is important because it is easy to get out of rhythm. Once that happens, returning to work may not be a priority. Holding the employee to some form of a schedule will remind them of the responsibilities and their duties. A large part of rehabilitation is psychological; if a person feels like they have a place to return to, they will be more motivated to get better faster.
Offer Continued Kindness
Co-workers likely will miss the person who is injured and human resources should encourage them to create the cards and video messages to be sent to the party who is recovering. This will brighten their day, make them feel wanted, and motivate them to recover and return to the office. This will also boost morale and generate a sense of identity and “belonging” among team members.
In all, human relations departments can do a better job of encouraging injured employees to return to the job by actively remaining in contact with them and establishing a set schedule for them to abide by. Working with them on a humanistic level is important—empathy goes a long way and if the employee feels that they are supported and encouraged by not only the administrative staff but by their coworkers, you will see this will make all the difference in their recovery and return to work.