What your employees know — or do not know — about workers’ compensation can affect the claims process once an employee needs to file a claim. As I mentioned in my previous blog, Reduce Claim Filing Lag Time Through Effective Employee Communication Plans, an employee survey can be a vital part of developing effective communication to workers about your workers’ comp program.
Employee surveys should be conducted with great care. Regardless of what the survey covers, you need to be prepared to follow through with it. For this reason, executive management support is necessary to encourage optimal results.
When you conduct the survey, promise to share the results with employees to bolster their trust. Consider asking the employee’s position at the company. Give them the option to provide their name, stressing that this is an option only. Perhaps offer to keep the survey answers confidential to get the most honest answers.
Clearly identify what you want to know first, ensuring the survey is worded correctly and provides a useful outcome. Wording questions that will give you the information you want can be tricky.
Determining What to Ask
You could solicit questions by asking employees in the employee newsletter or internal website what they would want to know about workers’ comp.
Focus groups can also be helpful. If you take the focus group route, include former injured workers who can share what they wish they knew before they needed to file a claim. To ensure a cross-section of the workforce, you will likely need to conduct several focus groups.
One important focus group question to ask is: When I say workers’ compensation, what does it mean to you? This question can make employees feel important as well.
Managers are the last people you want to ask what employees think. However, asking for their input for questions can also provide insight. Since supervisors have so much on their plates, your survey could easy get lost in their to-do piles. This reinforces why support from executive management is necessary for the best results.
The survey, ideally, would be a part of the already existing internal message that the company cares about its employees. It should begin by explaining to employees that it is part of the company’s commitment to taking care of workers so their feedback is vital.
Managers are the last people you want to ask
what employees think.
Providing specific details on how the company’s workers’ compensation costs are going up and how this is affecting bottom-line profitability is compelling.
You could offer an incentive to complete the survey, and I offer some ideas in my marketing giveaway blog.
Since workers’ compensation is closely related to safety and employee benefits–such as health care, short-term and long-term disability. You might want to ask employees a question or two about these programs.
At the same time, only surveying about workers’ comp is fine, but it could limit other information your company needs. You could learn that employees go through their health insurance first for work-related injuries or illnesses because they perceive they will get better care or because they want to avoid the stigma of being “on” workers’ comp.
You might also learn employees believe that return-to-work efforts are not as strong for non-occupational disability as workers’ compensation. This could spur an integrated approach to occupational and non-occupational disability management and return to work.
Consider starting off with a couple safety questions to see how the employee perceives your safety efforts. Since safety is the best way to limit workers’ compensation claims frequency, you could learn more needs to be invested there first.
Next week, my blog will feature specific questions to ask employees about workers’ compensation and related issues.
YOU TELL ME. Got a great survey question? Please share in the comments section. Thanks!