Six Tips to Get Your Employees on Board with Transitional Duty Programs


To carry out successful transitional work programs, risk managers must also help convince employees of the benefits of these programs.

The most critical element in any return-to-work program is keeping the disabled employee actively involved in the workplace.(WCxKit)
When a worker is injured, the employer must maintain contact with the employee throughout the recovery period so he or she does not become “psychologically disemployed.” The phenomenon of “psychological disemployment” occurs when employees are away from the work environment for an extended period. During this period, employees begin to perceive themselves as having become “distanced” from the company — that is, the same company paying their workers compensation benefits.
To gain employees acceptance, transitional work programs must be carried out properly.
1. The company should publicize the program in a positive manner. This requires ensuring employees understand that transitional work programs will keep them productive during their convalescence.
2. A company must apply its return-to-work policy equally to all employees.
3. Employers should schedule weekly meetings with the injured employee throughout the convalescence period. These meetings are a good way to obtain an informal status report concerning the types of physical activities the employee is able to engage in, the treatments the employee's physician has prescribed or any problems the employee may be encountering.
This weekly contact underscores the companys expectation that the employee will return to work in some capacity as an active part of the work force.
Weekly progress meetings allow the company to demonstrate its concern about the continued welfare of the employee.
4. Send the employee “Get Well” cards and other remembrances throughout the convalescence.
5. Ensure that the company doctor or physician consultant talks to the injured employees treating physician about initiating a return-to-work plan at the earliest possible juncture during the convalescence.
The physician consultant can telephone the treating doctor and discuss the status of an employees convalescence on a doctor-to-doctor basis.
Often, treating physicians are more willing to discuss a patients progress with another physician. This allows the physician consultant to discuss the medical aspects of the employees claim, such as the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan and then work with the treating physician to establish an estimated return-to-work date.(WCxKit)
6. It is critically important return-to-work programs become part of the corporate culture supported 100% by management. Thus, it becomes part of employees expectations that if they “go out on workers compensation,” they will return to work shortly in some form of transitional work capacity.
Transitional duty is the Way to go – how do you sell your employees on the idea? Find out five methods by following #WorkersComp.

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.  See for more information. Contact: or 860-553-6604.

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

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