“ONE OF BEST THINGS EMPLOYERS CAN DO IS OFFER TRAINING TO THEIR
PEOPLE LEADERS. THEY ALL HAVE A STAKE IN THIS AND, AS LEADERS, NEED
TO BE CHAMPIONS AND FACILITATORS OF THESE PROGRAMS BECAUSE THEY
HAVE THE DIRECT CONNECTIVITY WITH THE EMPLOYEE. MANAGERS NEED TO
KNOW THEY HAVE A ROLE IN THE RETURN-TO-WORK PROCESS.”
– ADAM KELLY, VP, ABSENCE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS DIVISION, MORNEAU SHEPELL
The schedule should lighten up over time, too.
“When you see things are going well, you might meet only
once every two weeks and eventually once a month or less. But
you don’t want to just ignore it and hope that everything’s going
well,” said Baynton.
BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME
“The end goal with a return-to-work plan is that the employee
is ultimately able to do her job, feel valued in the workplace
and know how the work she does is valued in the workplace,” said
Baynton. “If someone was able to do the job before they were ill,
it’s highly likely they can continue to do that job when they’re well,
and be able to thrive and progress. Some people assume that having
an anxiety- or depression-related disorder means you can’t do
your job, but this is just not true in the vast majority of cases.”
Baynton has witnessed remarkable successes when employees and
employers were engaged in well-thought-out return-to-work plans.
“I’ve had employees who’ve been supported through a return to
work process like this say, ‘I feel like I have a new lease on life,’ and
‘I feel like I’ve turned a new page.’”
Despite that kind of success, managing accommodation and
return-to-work programs is still foreign territory for many
“I would say that to some extent, organizations are getting much
better at recognizing that mental health is an issue that impacts
the workplace and that as employers, we have a responsibility to
address that,” said Kelly. However, theory is one thing and practice
is quite another.
“As a concept, that’s been widely acknowledged, but what that
means in terms of activity might be something different,” he said.
“There’s been some improvement, but I think there’s still a lot of
work to be done.” n
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