Talent shortages and the need for new technologies remain top concerns for workers’ compensation professionals.
In recent years, workers’ compensation has faced a number of challenges. From managing work-related health risks related to COVID-19 to managing the challenges of today’s economic and labor markets, the industry is always facing new challenges.
To better understand some of the struggles that worker competition pros face today, One Call conducted a survey of over 50 industry professionals at this year’s national competition conference.
“We invest quite a bit of time trying to understand the correlation between what we do internally and how it’s recognized by the industry,” said Jay Krueger, CEO of One Call.
Survey participants ranked two challenges as priorities for their companies: recruiting and retaining talent and adopting technology.
While none of these challenges are foreign to the industry, the fight for talent and efforts to utilize digital systems have evolved in recent years. Since 2021, workers’ compensation has been grappling with the commercial insurance talent shortage and the effects of big resignation.
Then there are longstanding and new technology hurdles to overcome. Digital communication systems help keep injured workers engaged and simplify the appointment scheduling process. But worker compensation companies must use these resources if they want to succeed, something many are still slow to do.
“We want to share what we’ve learned so we can all benefit,” said Tina Brletich, BSN, RN, MBA, senior vice president of customer analytics at One Call. “By really listening, we are able to better serve our customers and therefore better serve injured workers.
Recruiting and Retaining Employees: Embracing Connection in a Virtual World
Like many industries, those in the workers’ compensation sector are concerned about the Great Resignation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47 million Americans quit their jobs last year, and issues like rising inflation may continue to encourage other workers to jump ship and seek more competitive opportunities.
With such an intense labor market, attracting and retaining talent is paramount to success.
One of the ways worker compensation companies can help onboard employees is by emphasizing their missions and increasing employee engagement. This is especially true when it comes to attracting and retaining young workers, a critical demographic for all industry sectors.
Millennials and Gen Z workers are among the highest flight risks — 24% and 40% respectively said they wanted to quit their jobs within two years, according to a 2022 Deloitte survey.
Young workers are more likely than older workers to seek meaning in their work. According to the Deloitte survey, 26% of millennials and 21% of Gen Zers chose their current job because they found purpose in it. For worker compensation, a new generation of values-driven employees could be a boon. After all, what greater purpose is there than to help someone recover from an accident?
“At its core, One Call gives people the care they need when they need it,” Krueger said. “We try to keep our mission front and center for everyone.”
Increasing connection opportunities — even virtually — is another way workers’ compensation companies are inspiring loyalty among their workforces. One Call uses an internal website called Connect to help remote employees stay in touch with each other and build relationships.
As for in-person events, the company has hosted 15 Connection Collectives across the country, events that allow workers to come together and socialize with one another. These events offer music, food, games and opportunities for people to chat with colleagues they may not have seen since before the pandemic.
“Our connection collectives have made people feel much more connected with the leadership team and each other now that we’re all working remotely,” Krueger said. “It’s heartwarming to see people who used to sit side by side in the office – who have known their children, spouses and partners for years – coming together and bonding after so much time.”
However, efforts to attract and retain employees based on a company’s mission or engagement opportunities will fail if companies do not attend to the needs of their employees first.
“It’s really important that we listen to our customers and our employees,” Brletich said. “We get regular feedback from them and are more proactive in how we support them.”
In a Pew Research Center survey of workers who left their jobs in 2021, many cited work-life balance issues — like difficulty juggling childcare or lack of flexibility — like contributors when asked about their reasons for quitting. Forty-five percent of respondents said a lack of flexible hours played a role and 48% said child care was a problem.
One Call has implemented a flexible remote work policy in response to staff feedback. In total, these efforts resulted in a 45% increase in year-over-year retention for the company.
New technologies drive engagement and efficiency
Yet there is a shortage of workers compensation professionals. Digital tools may be able to step in and increase productivity, but industry must first embrace these resources.
Workers’ compensation has long lagged behind the healthcare industry when it comes to embracing technologies that can help foster patient relationships and promote adjuster productivity. and case managers. One Call is working to change that.
The company has found that when used correctly, technology can keep injured workers connected to the claims process and increase efficiency by reducing the number of hours claims professionals spend on the phone.
Investments in text messaging services, for example, can help remind injured workers of medical appointments, update them on the status of their claim, and help them stay connected throughout the process. One Call sends nearly three million text messages each year to its workers’ compensated patients.
“We are two and a half times more likely to communicate with someone by text than by phone. If we are able to communicate with someone quickly, it allows them to access the care they need much sooner. “, said Krueger. “And early intervention leads to faster and better health outcomes.
Since injured workers tend to prefer virtual communications about their claims, One Call is also working with providers to set up online scheduling platforms. These services can help create efficiencies for providers – who may need to work with case managers, adjusters, and the injured workers themselves to get appointments on the schedule.
“As in many of our organizations, suppliers are very limited in terms of people. The whole notion of handling phone calls is very disruptive,” Krueger said.
Digital medical management services allow physicians and providers to quickly share medical reports with adjusters and case managers, helping the injured worker recover.
“We’re trying to increase engagement levels among injured workers,” Krueger said. “It works out much better, and that should be the goal of any workers’ compensation organization.” &
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