How to Improve your Company’s WCB Program
Submitted by Anthony Butkovic, President of Workers Compensation Simplified
September 6, 2022
I’m going to rock the boat. What I am about to say could literally piss off the people I count on to hire my company to serve them. The problem is…these folks (executives, directors, managers) need to hear this because it’s the conversations that’s going on in their companies right now.
If you’re in health and safety, human resources, or manage WCB claims for your company…you may notice as you read this…the things you wanted to say to your boss but couldn’t.
I got your back.
I will be speaking of how workers compensation is handled in a company, specifically the way you’re managing claims and why it’s a problem. I will give you the truth on the issues and solutions that could also use in your health and safety program and other departments.
What am I talking about?
Regardless of the size of your company, the industry you work in, or the province you operate out of…it’s a pretty safe bet your WCB program is struggling somewhere.
How do I know these things?
Because after 10 years in this business, I can’t help but notice trends, patterns, and common traits that lead to WCB success and failure.
It’s time as an industry that we put everything on the table and have real discussions. Only then can we make a change in how things are being done.
Every time I start working with a new client, it’s clear there are huge gaps in their program that is causing their problems. Even if your company has a discount in their WCB premiums…you too could benefit from optimizing your WCB program.
Because you can be 1 claim away from bigger problems than just higher WCB premiums. All because of a weak WCB program.
Want proof your WCB Program Sucks?
Here are the top 10 things to ask yourself to see if your WCB program sucks…
- When an accident happens does all levels of the organization know what to do?
- Are claims reported: properly, on time, and communicated through the proper channels?
- Are the documents you must use easy to find?
- Are the documents simple to fill out and serve a specific purpose?
- Do the people filling them out know they SHOULD be filling them out or HOW to fill them out?
- Would your injured workers say that they know what to do in case if they’re injured?
- Do you believe the majority of claims that are reported to your company are true?
- Is your staff making sure that the worker knows about modified duties when they report symptoms?
- Would you say you appeal less than 50% of WCB claims?
- Is there only one person talking to WCB from the company and do they have the confidence to do so?
If you answered “NO” to even one of these questions…your WCB program sucks.
How to solve your WCB program issues?
If you’re an executive, director, or manager in a company and you oversee the area of business that requires people to manage or appeal WCB claims…I want to help you.
This problem is easily resolved by implementing key elements in a strategic way. It’s completely different then the cookie cutter approach your provincial WCB offers you. You’ll have a system that can be implemented in as little as a week with minimal operational disruption.
This goes beyond just documentation and claims management.
It has to do with building a culture where you create a safe environment for a worker to approach the organization and say:
“I think I got hurt while working.”
It’s about creating trust between your front-line employees and management that when things go wrong, those employees that are affected have a belief that you will take care of them.
It’s giving support to your management team that when chaos strike (and it will strike) you’ve prepared your team properly and given them the tools they need to get the job done.
That because of your care and foresight, your team was able to navigate through a difficult situation and minimize the impact a workplace incident has on the company, the injured worker, and their family.
It’s time you consider a different perspective.
Your company runs on fear
When it comes to health and safety, the entire mindset is predicated on fear. Fear of something happening. Fear of a costly event. Fear of a loss of life or limb. Fear of lawsuit, fines, and loss of profits.
In order to protect and prevent such events from occurring, the industry came up with processes and procedures. We train and orientate our employees to make sure they know exactly what not to do.
We have documents to record hazards, tool box talks, and audits. All feeding this beast known as fear.
Then (in spite of our best efforts) shit hits the fan and all of that time spent on prevention goes right out the window.
If we spend 100% of our time worried about events happening…how much time is left to minimize the event for the company and the worker when it finally does happen?
The TRUE measure of an incident is what you do after it happens.
To fix this problem, we cannot continue to operate in fear. We must accept that an event has occurred and then use understanding and care to resolve the issue.
What do I mean by understanding?
- Knowing the Workers Compensation system, so that regardless of the events that happen after the incident occurs cooler heads can prevail.
- Investigating the incident to find out what caused the incident AND how the injury actually happened
- Recognizing that while the WCB policy provides guidance there is room to be creative and solve problems that may go outside of the typically rigid & bureaucratic mindset of claims management
- Having a system in place that’s ready to take care of the injured worker
- To provide the worker with everything they are legally entitled to, in the most cost-effective way for the company
- Providing tools and resources that those charged with managing the claim can use to mitigate the effects on all parties
Can I prove this?
When a company takes a fear-based approach to managing an injured employee, their focus is on themselves.
The leaders in these kinds of organizations ask:
- What does this mean for the company?
- How will this impact our ability to bid work?
- How much will this cost?
- What will the client think?
As an organization, when you look after your own interests and needs, you’re naturally unable to notice the injured worker’s needs.
In doing so, we are creating a much bigger problem that could be avoided with the right WCB system in place. The kind we offer at Workers Comp Simplified.
When a company says: “…but WCB is there to help us”.
Unfortunately, WCB also gives this impression of looking out for their own interests. Think of the language used when WCB makes decisions on claims. The conversation centers on how it relates to THEIR WCB policy.
The decision maker looks at the claim and will say to you or the injured worker:
“The claims does / does not meet OUR policy.”
Which is why both the worker and the employer will worry if they’ll be treated fairly in the WCB process. Yet another reference to the fear mindset.
How a company loses the worker’s trust
Imagine you have an injured worker who works in a company that has a fear mindset. The worker reports symptoms to their health and safety person.
Right away the worker gets the feeling the company only cares about their own interests because of the way the health and safety person is speaking and treating the injured worker.
Later that same day, the injured worker speaks with WCB and the Case Manager is giving them the impression that they too are not considering the injured workers interests.
Naturally the worker turns around and says: “I’m done! From now on, I’m looking out for me since no one else is.”
Conversations between the injured worker and company safety person becomes less and less or stops altogether.
WCB is flooded with calls from the injured worker demanding benefits…and co-workers of the injured worker are told various stories of how horrible the company & WCB is treating them.
Your other employees on the frontlines watch how the injured worker is being treated and hear the stories. They begin to create their own fears of what would happen to them should they suffer a workplace injury.
A few weeks later another worker is injured, only this time they decide to keep quiet and not report things to the health and safety person. They’re fearful of the backlash from the company. They decide later that night to go see their doctor and are taken off work.
This combination of not reporting and missing time from work leads to greater fears by the company and more pressure on health and safety to get the newly injured worker back to work. Confirming in the mind of the second injured worker that you must look out for #1.
To finish off this vicious cycle, the other employees hear even more stories about what happens when you go on WCB. They start to see more evidence that if you get hurt at work, don’t trust the company or Workers Compensation.
How can a company turn things around?
Start by listening to your people.
If you’re in a position of leadership, make sure you speak with the health and safety personnel. Ask for their insights as it relates to improving the WCB program and the way you manage workplace injuries.
Ask frontline staff: “How does the company treat you when you’re injured?”
Pay attention to the response you get.
To build trust in a company, the organization MUST:
- Set out the expectations
- Provide support and tools to all staff so that expectations can be met.
- Get out of your people’s way so they can do their jobs properly.
When you do this, you allow for accountability to take place. You can quickly identify gaps and take the appropriate action with little time and energy to close these gaps.
- Your people know what they’re supposed to do when a claim happens.
- Give them the right tools: this means documents and freedom to make choices
- Take the time to understand how a WCB claim affects your company and what can be done about it
If you’re in a position of leadership in a company. You should know that your health and safety person, is often worried about what you and other management are going to say when a potential claim happens.
They also worry about those they oversee. The folks that gather information from the injured worker and pass the info on to the health and safety person. They worry about you and they worry about those they’re responsible for. A health and safety person is often stuck in the middle.
By providing your team with the right tools and support you’re allowing your people to react more efficiently. I’ve had thousands of phone calls with health and safety professionals over the years. I can assure any company that your health and safety person know what’s at stake. They just need your help to do their job and make the company better.
How can Workers Comp Simplified help your WCB Program?
We guarantee to provide you with a WCB system that works.
Our WCB system will:
- Align your staff so that each part works together when a worker reports an injury/illness
- Provide simple documentation to capture critical information about the incident
- Allow your staff to complete this documentation easily and quickly
- Make the reporting procedure more efficient
- Create buy-in for the WCB system from all levels in the organization
- Reduce the number of incidents
- Reduce appeals related to questionable WCB claims
- Promote a safe and unified culture
Why is it a WCB system?
This is because a system avoids a fear-based mindset. By definition: a system is a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.
It’s important for us that we limit the disruption implementing the WCB system has on your organization. Which is why our strategic approach allows us to walk your team through the process in as little as one hour, so that you can start seeing a change in the first week!
What’s more, our on demand access means we’re there to help you during and after implementation of the WCB system to coach your staff through any WCB claim or appeal. They can have 1 on 1 access to a WCB expert that will guide them through the process from start to finish.
We make sure your people know such things as:
- How to deal with a difficult worker
- What to say to WCB
- How to complete documentation properly
- How to monitor a worker on modified duties
For a free consultation with one of Workers Comp Simplified’s WCB experts, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to be redirected to our contact page. One of our WCB experts would be happy to speak with you.
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