By Terri Rhodes, MBA, CPDM, CCMP
As integrated absence management (IAM) professionals, we must always stand ready to defend the value of employee absence management and productivity programs. The best way to do this is to articulate how our programs contribute to the success of the organization. We can accomplish this by networking with peers, both at work and with those outside of work. At work, we can develop shared projects that improve collaboration in those difficult scenarios where disability and risk overlap such as a return-to-work program. Outside of work, we can discover what other organizations are doing and discuss the solutions that worked for them. And we can keep our organization’s leadership updated on our contributions.
Sometimes, however, even when you are doing the right thing, something new comes along and changes your course. This happened recently with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when some employers briefly considered ending their group health plans and sending employees out to the new individual markets created by the state exchanges. Some publications ran surveys predicting a significant decrease in the number of people covered by employer-provided healthcare. Ultimately, this didn’t happen. What did happen is that millions of individuals who otherwise had no health insurance were able to obtain coverages. Employers continued to provide group health insurance because of the value this benefit provides to employees and the value it provides as part of a comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy. Along with that strategy, IAM professionals found ways to show how an integrated approach increases employee health and productivity.
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