For a worker who is coping with the pain, loss of mobility, and other problems associated with a serious illness or injury, a sense of isolation from colleagues can make a tough situation worse.
A sense of isolation can lead to depression, and depression can lead to a costly, extended and potentially preventable disability leave.
The best cure: Communicate with workers with health problems early and often. Show those workers that they are not alone; help them feel connected to their colleagues and their employers.
Benefits advisors should match employers with a disability insurance provider that understands the importance of the human touch, and that knows how to work in concert with the employer and the treating physician to shift the emphasis from disability to ability.
Looking to the employer for help
For many workers, employers are the primary source of information about disability insurance, according to The Hartford’s 2009 Benefit Landscape Study.
The study found that employees are twice as likely to think of the employer as the single best source of information about disability coverage as they are to think of the insurance carrier, the spouse or other immediate family members as the single best source. When workers become disabled, they turn to employers for support.
When workers with potentially disabling conditions see that employers care enough to work on their behalf, those workers are more willing to become active participants in their own recovery.