Exploring All Options to Improve Return-to-Work Motivation
By Jason Sadler, Corporate Vice President, Client Solutions, New York Life Group Benefit Solutions
Many people have dealt with the physical, mental, and emotional toll of a heartbreaking illness, life-altering injury, or major surgery either directly or indirectly through a loved one. Long-term disability (LTD) can have negative consequences on the lives of disabled workers and their families. An inability to return to work can lead to reduced psychological well-being and economic and social deprivation.
And workers who take extended leaves of absence are less likely to return to work. In fact, only 20% of individuals who receive disability benefits for more than six months return to work.1
Employers can prevent long-term absences and promote positive outcomes for disabled workers by prioritizing their physical and mental health to improve motivation for their return to work.
Disabling conditions can be especially stressful for employees who are navigating health conditions and related recovery with reduced income and a sense of uncertainty. As employers seek ways to support employees and safeguard productivity, they should consider programs that address the holistic needs of each individual.
Four levers identified by industry research2,3 can help employees return to work:
- Support from managers, supervisors, and coworkers
- A positive attitude
- The employee’s self-efficacy
- Incorporating strategies that influence physical and mental well-being
First and foremost, manager and supervisor training programs should include education on the importance of employee communication, encouragement, and support during absences while balancing the need for privacy. Highly engaged employees stay connected with coworkers, their jobs, and the company’s mission because they tend to be more committed to their work and often go above and beyond their duties.
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