Dear Workforce What Strategies Will Help Us Retain High-Value Employees Who Are Injured or Disabled

By Staff Report

Oct. 14, 2005

Dear Keep Them:

Job accommodation is one of the most important tools employers have for retaining valuable employees withdisabilities or those who have been injured. This refers to changes in the work environment or in the way a job is typically structured to enable employees with physical or mental limitations to perform the job.

Following are guidelines to help employers successfully accommodate and retain these employees:

Educate managers, supervisors and employees about job accommodations that will allow the employee to continue to add value to the enterprise.
Education can avert a variety of problems, including managers who make policy changes without considering accommodation needs, supervisors who fail to understand the benefits of accommodations (and therefore don’t think about them), and co-workers who resent what they perceive to be special treatment. Additionally, education helps ensure that employees know they can request accommodations when needed, before productivity suffers.

Decide who will handle accommodation requests.
Whether it is one person, an accommodations team or managers/supervisors, you must clearly designate the responsibility for processing accommodation requests. Let all employees know where that responsibility lies.

Develop a process for determining effective accommodation options.
Occasionally, the employee will know what type of accommodation is effective and will make a specific request. Often, however, the employee knows only that there is a problem, but not the solution. In such cases, employers need to make effective decisions about accommodations.

SOURCE: Anne E. Hirsh, associate manager, Job Accommodation Network (a service funded by the federal government that provides free help for employers), Morgantown, West Virginia, December 27, 2004.

LEARN MORE:Hiring Without Limits

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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