HR Management & Compliance

The Importance of Accommodations

In part one of this article we began to explore a survey conducted by The Standard concerning disability management. Today we’ll look at how disabled workers were connected to resources and the importance of accommodations.

Connection to Additional Resources

Beyond their support, HR managers are usually more aware of available resources and how to connect employees to the necessary programs to help treat their condition. Of the employees who went to their HR manager with health-related concerns, 85% were connected to their organization’s disability carrier, whereas only 67% of employees who went to their direct supervisor were connected. In addition, of those who were connected to their employer’s disability carrier, 77% also were connected to other workplace resources.

This connection to additional resources is crucial in helping employees receive holistic support to manage their health condition and increase their stay-at-work potential. We found that 88% of employees who were referred to an employee assistance program (EAP) for additional assistance had greater stay-at-work potential. Whether it’s financial wellness support, a connection to mental health resources through an EAP, or one-on-one sessions with a health coach, HR can connect employees to the proper resources to provide tailored assistance to meet each employee’s needs.

Importance of Accommodations

Along with communication and knowing available resources, HR managers understand the importance of accommodations. Our research found that of the employees who took a disability leave, those who received accommodations had, on average, 30 fewer days on leave than those who didn’t receive support from their employer. Not only can accommodations help employees return to work faster but they can help increase employee productivity. After receiving support from their employer, 93% of employees said they could perform their job effectively.

Often, the support and accommodations employees need are not costly for an organization. Our survey found that 61% of employees needed the flexibility to attend appointments, and 58% required schedule modifications. Offering your employees simple accommodations like these can be helpful in supporting their health condition.

A positive employee experience starts with a consistent disability management process. This process starts by letting your employees know where to go for help, establishing HR as the point of contact, and training supervisors to know when to seek your assistance. In keeping with these practices, you not only create a positive employee experience but also help ensure that your workforce gets the support it needs to safely boost productivity at work while helping eliminate pain and discomfort an employee may have been experiencing.

Jeffery D. Smith is the Workplace Possibilities program practice consultant for The Standard and has worked in the vocational rehabilitation field for more than 30 years. In his role, Smith is continually looking at ways to improve the Workplace Possibilities program to provide new and better stay-at-work and return-to-work services for both employers and employees. He shares the benefits of the program with new and existing clients, creates white papers, and writes case studies to help make a difference for employers that are looking to be more successful in managing employee absence and disability.