Handbook Extract: Getting the team onside

RTWMatters team

Best practice injury management is a team effort.

The information in this article is from the Return to Work Matters Workplace Systems Handbook, under the 'Getting the team onside' chapter. This complete handbook is available in PDF and online format for all Return to Work Matters members.

Injury management requires input from management and workers at every stage in the process:

From assessment of the current system, through planning and implementation of the new system, to ongoing evaluation and problem solving. 

The first step in developing a best practice work disability program is to get commitment from the leaders of the organisation. This may include senior management, leaders from the 'factory floor', and production and HR management. 

Other staff are more likely to get involved if senior management have made a clear and obvious commitment to the process. 

This section of the handbook offers practical suggestions as to how to get the team onside. 

For management, this involves educating them about the business benefits of best practice RTW – and the unnecessary costs associated with poorly managed RTW systems. 

For employees, it is primarily about taking advantage of their workplace knowledge, informing them of the health benefits of early return to work after injury, and making them stakeholders in the process.

Committed Management: Making the case for best practice RTW

Many organisations don't spend the time it takes to engage senior managers in the organisation's return to work systems. Making the case to the senior management team can be one of the most cost effective ways of improving an organisation's systems. 

Bearing in mind both the costs of poor injury management and the benefits of understanding these costs, there are four ‘cases’ that should be put to management when arguing for best practice RTW systems:

  1. The business case
  2. The ethical case
  3. The corporate image case
  4. The legal case

Committed Employees: Key principles for involving workers

Getting senior management on board is a pre-requisite for attaining employee commitment to injury management systems.  Once this is achieved, worker involvement is best encouraged by:


Ensuring that management’s commitment to the program is visible;




Educating workers about the health, social and family benefits of early return to work and good injury management;




Involving employee representatives (for example trade union and health and safety representatives) at the beginning of the process;




Asking employees and their representatives to help evaluate problems with the current system;




Involving employees and their representatives in working out solutions; and




If improvements to the injury management system will only apply to a limited section of the organisation, giving serious thought as to how best inform other employees.



For more information on implementing injury management systems, including making the case for a best practice system,  join Return to Work Matters today to access the complete handbook. 

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