Integrated Absence Management: Employer Communication

DMEC Staff@Work

Employer Communication: A Key Factor in RTW and Retention

By Glenn Pransky, MD, MOH

Associate Professor, Univeristy of Massachusetts Medical School, and Scientific Advisor
Lincoln Financial Group

The evidence is clear: effective and timely employer communication positively influences what happens after an employee becomes disabled. Positive impacts occur in return to work, healthcare, retention and engagement, and preventing conflicts and litigation. However, managers often feel uncomfortable or unsure about how best to communicate with employees on leave. This challenge can be overcome with the right policies, training, and support.

The importance of workplace communication in the return-to-work (RTW) process is supported by extensive research. Employers who try to contact disabled employees have significantly better RTW outcomes, especially if they offer accommodations. With a supportive and immediate workplace response, a worker injured at work returns to work 2.5 times faster than in similar situations where the response was unsupportive. This impact has been observed in a variety of mental and physical conditions, and extends to engagement and long-term retention.

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