March 15, 2016

I’m Back!

By Paul Bieber

I missed last week’s blog due to some health issues.  It felt great when I received 2,000 emails from all of my loyal readers.  Well, maybe 200. (Okay, it was just two, but these two really made my day and the friendly words did pick up my spirits.)

What happens in your company when someone is out of work due to illness or an accident?  Do you call them, send a get well card, visit, or grumble at them telling them to hurry and get back on the job?

I have employers call me on occasion asking how they can get an employee off of workers’ comp or how to get what they call a “malingerer” back to work.  I have given advice based on the actual circumstances at hand, but these folks have missed the opportunity starting way back when the event took place.

Here’s what I used to do, and believe ime, it worked.  If someone was hurt at work, I would make time, that day, to go to the hospital and spend some time with the employee and his family.  If the employee was hurt on the second or third shift, I would stop at the hospital on my way into work.

When you do this, assure the family the company is there to help.  If it is a hospital visit longer than a day or two you can be sure that comp will be involved.  Help the employee with the paperwork getting into the system, which sets you up to help them get out of the system as quickly as possible.  When an employee knows you care, he will want to get back to work sooner.  I will write another complete blog on getting an employee off of comp in the near future.

Let your other employees know about the accident, the status of their co-worker and most importantly, what each employee needs to do to prevent this accident in the future.  His car may still be at your company.  Arrange to have a friend of his drive it back home.  Ask his wife what they need, whether it is a week’s advance on pay, or help with babysitting and cooking some meals.  Maybe you would set up someone to do these things, recruiting some folks at your company along the way.

If someone is ill, send a get well card, have a restaurant deliver a dinner or two.  Let your people know that you care.  They will repay you a hundred times over by telling the rest of the company how kind you are and when you need some OT to get a special job out, they will be here to help you.

In the fall, urge all employees to get a flu shot.  You should pay the deductible on their insurance for this.  If one person doesn’t get the flu because of this shot your company comes out way ahead.  You can’t force an employee to take this step, but you can distribute literature or make a list of web sites for an employee to read which may help them to take the shot. Get this literature from your local walk-in center or your own family doctor.

Most of your employees will really appreciate your efforts.  Don’t get upset when one employee rebuffs you.  This will happen too.

If you are large enough to have an employee HR person, make this his or her responsibility, keeping you in the loop.

Okay, enough.  But one last thought.  Have the safest plant possible, keep had sanitizers near the bathrooms and if an employee comes to work, coughing, sneezing and such, send them home for the day, with pay, so they don’t infect others.  If the employee comes back to work the next day, rested and beaten off the cold, you come out way ahead compared to the employee who tries to work through it.

Last, last though—stay healthy and stay safe.