What do case managers value about their work?

Gabrielle Lis

Forty-six Australian case managers tell Return to Work Matters about the most rewarding aspect of their role.

An open-ended question in the 2021 Return to Work Matters Case Management Survey asked participants to describe what they found most rewarding about their work.

Based on the 46 individual responses received, the RTWMatters team identified six broad rewards intrinsic to case management:

  1. Achieving;
  2. Helping;
  3. Personal connections and relationships;
  4. Acknowledgement;
  5. Belief in the personal and social value of recovery and RTW; and
  6. Meeting technical challenges.

Achieving successful outcomes was the most popular type of response, with one-third (33%) of respondents finding this the most rewarding part of their work. Helping people was not far behind, with a quarter (26%) of the case managers surveyed finding value in this aspect of work. A fifth (20%) of respondents found personal connections and relationships most rewarding, while 11% valued recognition for their efforts from injured workers and others and 8% expressed a personal belief in the value of recovery and RTW. Just 4% found technical aspects of the role to be the most rewarding.

To provide some context for these results, of the 60+ people who responded to the survey, most were employed by insurers (32%) or worked as RTW Coordinators (32%), with the rest comprising rehabilitation professionals (20%) and other assorted roles (16%).

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of the case managers who completed the survey had been in the industry for five years or more, and in fact half (52%) had been working in the field of workers’ compensation for more than ten years. A similar proportion saw themselves continuing in the field for another ten years or more.

In other words, the responses in this article reflect the values of committed, experienced case managers, and may provide insight into what motivates people to stay in this sometimes challenging role.

Below, we list all the responses received, organised by the categories listed above. Some responses have been divvied up for inclusion in multiple categories, however the percentages above reflect what we considered to be an individual’s primary response.

Case managers say that the most rewarding aspect of their work is…


“Successful outcomes.”

“Achieving outcomes for individuals and the organisation.”

“Sounds weird but when I don’t have to deal with an injured worker again because I know I’ve done my job.”

“Providing the tools to empower claimants to achieve a successful and sustainable return to work.”

“Making the difference for workers.”

 “Successful customer outcomes.”

“Being able to support and guide a worker throughout their injury journey, and helping them to achieve a positive return to work outcome.”

“Achieving successful outcomes for members.”

“Seeing injured workers get back to work and knowing I had some impact.”

“Successful RTW of workers.”

 “The more seriously injured the worker the more I can influence outcomes that are a win, win for employee and employer.”

“Client transitions.”

“Getting ppl back to work.”

“Return to work after serious injury or long term illness.”


“Helping staff.”

“Helping injured workers to see their own return to health and well-being that comes with return to work.”

“Helping workers. There’s a general consensus of this in the industry but it’s difficult to navigate both the internal and external expectations in the role.”

“Helping people.”

“Being able to assist someone through their journey of a difficult time. Have a positive impact on them and their family.”

“Playing a role in improving client's quality of life.”

“Making a difference to other people's lives.”

“Being able to help and make difference in time of need.”

“Helping someone engage with medical providers and supporting their recovery and return to work.”

“Helping people and making a difference.”

“Helping people RTW.”

“Helping people.”

“Helping return injured workers back to their original workplace.”

Personal connections and relationships

“At the moment, not a lot [about my work is rewarding]. But generally when I see that spark in my client or ah ah moment that helps get them going…”

“Relationship building and successful return to work outcomes.”

“When my injured workers trust me to get them the best outcome.”

“Seeing people progress and achieve their goals.”

“Happy stakeholders.”

“Seeing injured workers and my co-workers succeed.”

“Interpersonal interaction and influencing successful outcomes.”

“The personal interactions with workers and employers.”

“Working in a team environment.”


“Recognition that I’ve made a difference.”

 “Getting a thank you from them [the client] for even just the smallest thing.”

“Listening to injured worker's story regarding my role in their recovery from workplace injury.”

“Having a worker tell me that I have helped them and they are grateful for everything I've done for them.”

“Receiving positive feedback from people I’ve helped.”

Belief in the personal and social value of recovery and RTW

“When you have made a difference in someone’s life, injury impacts everyone not just the injured but their families and the workplace. Transparency is so important and genuine care.”

“Being able to positively assist the injured worker community in returning to work following injury so that they remain a valued member of society.”

“Returning people to a meaningful and purposeful life.”

“Helping recovery and return to life.”

“Working for the injured worker community to positively change the outcomes for injured workers to return them to full functionality in life and work.”

“Seeing my client achieve not just a RTW but personal growth.”

Meeting technical challenges

“Supporting supervision regarding absence, leave and return to work issues, technical aspects of relating functional abilities to objective medical findings - in depth analysis which is a spring board for next steps with the employee and health care provider.”

“Opportunity to achieve meaningful input, successful outcomes by giving early education of clients and employers with regards to injury and pain management, by being enabled to do individual assessment and application of their specific biopsychosocial factors including understanding of specific workplaces and job roles.”