A Call to Action: Positively Impacting Workers’ Compensation by Giving Back

18 Jan, 2024 Shawn Deane

                               

Shawn Deane
General Counsel & Vice President of Claims Solutions | J29
Shawn.Deane@j29inc.com  

When people ask me what the most rewarding thing about my career in workers’ compensation is, I tell them that it’s, “helping people.” Shortly followed are excited utterances in regard to the volunteer work I do for Kids’ Chance of Massachusetts and Kind Souls Foundation – two non-profit charitable organizations in the workers’ compensation space. Kids’ Chance of America has chapters in all 50 states and its mission is to raise scholarship funds for children of workers who were seriously or fatally injured on the job. Kind Souls Foundation offers a warm line (for emotional support and resources) to individuals and their family members who’ve been impacted by a work displacing healthcare event. Dr. Claire Muselman recently wrote a brilliant piece in workerscompensation.com on Kind Souls Foundation. Both organizations fill big voids and play an important role in our industry – and not just because of their missions and incredible work – but also because they:

+ Help us (workers’ compensation professionals) find greater meaning in the work we do, especially connecting with injured individuals (and their families) we serve.
+ Assist in recruiting and retention of the next generation of workers’ compensation talent.
+ Flip the script of the perception and image of the workers’ compensation insurance industry.

Finding Meaning

Finding meaning in a career is important. In fact, research shows meaningfulness is the most important aspect – over compensation, promotions and even working conditions. I’ve been in the workers’ compensation industry going on 16 years and I began my journey in the legal/compliance arena where I initially felt disconnected from what an injured individual went through. When my career shifted towards providing support to injured workers post-settlement, I found a deeper altruistic connection which translated to greater meaning in my career. Even in providing ancillary support, I knew my work was going towards helping people in arguably their greatest time of need. Knowing the positive impact my work has in improving someone’s life, even if I’m not on the front line of a claim, helps me find greater meaning in my career and it makes my work that much more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Supporting or volunteering with a workers’ compensation charitable organization may help professionals who aren’t at the forefront of serving injured workers find greater meaning and more fulfilment in their career. And, for those who are on the claim frontlines, volunteering may help foster empathy, provide for additional perspective, and develop a deeper connection to the amazing work they’re already doing.

Personally, my sense of career meaning was amplified through volunteer work as a Board Member for Kids’ Chance of Massachusetts and as an ambassador with the Kind Souls Foundation. Recently, at a holiday event with Kids’ Chance, we met with several scholarship recipients and their families. Seeing how grateful they were and the difference we’ve made in their lives is beyond words I’m able to properly convey here. For me, volunteering for a greater good and giving back, especially in an industry I deeply care about, is the pinnacle of finding career meaning.

Recruiting the Next Generation of Workers’ Compensation Professionals

Several years ago, for WorkersCompensation.com, I wrote an article entitled, “I Want to be in Workers’ Compensation When I Grow Up,” addressing the talent crisis facing our industry. The piece was titled as such because the phrase didn’t exist anywhere on the internet. Most of us in the industry know workers’ compensation is facing a talent shortage and it’s been aptly stated that, “[t]he only way to address [it] is to close the talent gap by investing in younger generations of workers.” Younger Generation Z workers are increasingly engaged in volunteering, and they tend to have a more favorable perception of employers that offer volunteer opportunities. Data shows 87% of Generation Z considers companies that offer employee volunteer opportunities strengthen the community, 79% feel such companies would be a good place to work, and 72% would work for organizations that offer that offer chances to volunteer. As a recent Deloitte piece put it, “[t]o win the hearts of Generation Z, companies and employers will need to highlight their efforts to be [good citizens].”

Companies in the workers’ compensation space can win the hearts of a younger generation by supporting and aligning with industry-associated charitable organizations and offer programs and partnerships to provide opportunities for volunteering and giving back. Small efforts here could go a long way in the recruitment and retention of a younger workforce who increasingly hold meaning and values as paramount considerations in their career selection.

Flipping the Script in Workers’ Compensation

A Deloitte talent survey indicated with respect to careers in insurance that, “…the sector has a boring and old-fashioned image…” However, those in the workers’ compensation industry know we’re a dynamic and vibrant community with an altruistic mission. The more we, as an industry, can do to showcase the good work we’re accomplishing – highlighted by volunteering with non-profits serving a greater good – we can flip the script around misperceptions of being stodgy and old-fashioned. This will increase attracting and retaining younger talent.

Another of the many benefits of being involved with workers’ compensation non-profits like Kids’ Chance and Kind Souls Foundation is meeting passionate, kind, and like-minded individuals. I’m convinced it will be an enthusiastic group of leaders who are at the forefront of giving back who help flip the script in changing our industry’s image. The workers’ compensation industry is full of incredible people making a difference and we’re elevated when those who work in it rally behind non-profits that support those who were affected by a workers’ compensation injury – like Kids’ Chance and Kinds Souls Foundation. It’s the ultimate way to give back.

A Call to Action: You can Make a Difference

I’d encourage workers’ compensation companies and professionals to consider volunteering, sponsoring, and/or supporting an industry-related non-profit charitable organization like Kids’ Chance or Kind Souls Foundation. For more information:

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Author Bio
Shawn Deane
General Counsel & Vice President of Claims Solutions | J29
Shawn.Deane@j29inc.com   

(617) 435-9711

www.j29inc.com

As General Counsel & Vice President of Claims Solutions, Shawn Deane leads J29’s Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) services team. Shawn is a practicing attorney and has over 16 years of experience in Medicare compliance, workers’ compensation, and insurance claims. He was previously General Counsel & Senior Vice President of Risk Management & Compliance at the nation’s largest professional administrator of Medicare Set Asides. Prior to that he was Vice President of Medicare Compliance & Policy at one of the country’s largest Medicare Set Aside vendors. He’s an industry expert and thought leader in workers’ compensation, Medicare Set Asides (MSAs) and Medicare compliance. 

About J29

J29 is a women-owned business that offers Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) compliance services providing Medicare Set Asides (MSAs), conditional payment / lien services and related solutions to all workers’ compensation stakeholders – including carriers, self-insureds, third-party administrators, and attorneys.


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