WC Magazine

APR-MAY 2016

WC is published six time a year and covers the trends and topics of interest to professionals responsible for the cost-effective resolution of workers’ compensation claims.

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TheCLM.org April 2016 | May 2016 WC 13 mL G R O U P MATTHEWS LAW GROUP, P.C. Results Oriented Advocacy San Diego 858.925.8364 Los Angeles: 213.489.6832 San Francisco: 415.635.3541 Dallas: 214.459.8016 www.matthewslawgrp.com or medical community, injured workers beneft when served by individuals who can relate to their unique diferences based on their background and experi- ence. Each of these factors can impact a person's needs following an injury. Claims services that are perceived to be prompt, professional, and defnitive are of utmost importance. In many instances, this is an injured worker's frst exposure to a very confusing and complex workers' compensation system. In order to deliver efective services and take optimal care of those injured in the workplace, the claims industry must recruit, retain, develop, and engage the best and most talented people. Being diverse and inclusive helps our industry to foster an environment that promotes understanding and innovation. As an industry, we must reward innovative thinking, support a safe environment for new ideas to fail as well as succeed, and accept diferent ways of thinking that may open up new possibilities of helping and advocating for an increasingly diverse group of injured workers. As an example, we are currently wit- nessing the early stages of a paradigm shif toward an advocacy claims model. We are seeing improved outcomes when a greater emphasis is placed on treating an individual's unique needs in a more holistic manner. When the claims industry is able to achieve this kind of environment and cultural evo- lution, we will have genuinely created a win-win situation for injured workers and stakeholders alike. It is important for the claims industry to recognize that diversity and inclusion are not synonyms for representation or afrmative action. Claims service organizations should hire the most qualifed candidates and fll each position with the right person for the job. Ultimately, our goal should be to create and develop talent pools, candidate slates, and interview panels comprised of professionals who under- stand how to deal with diferences in background and experience as well as the more commonly cited demographic diferences. Te key to success is and will continue to be establishing a strong talent pipeline and encouraging difer- ent ways of thinking. Diversity and inclusion form the foundation of business imperatives that claims organizations can and should pursue. Claims professionals in every capacity should engage in behaviors that refect cultural competency, drive employee engagement, and improve the daily lives of our customers. As leaders of the claims industry, we need to have rich discussions, provide constructive feedback, and encourage new ideas. Inclusion that drives innovation must become the new norm. So, how can we create a more diverse and inclusive claims industry? First, we must hire talented people who can deliver prompt and professional claim services. Second, we must help our claims professionals better understand how to address the diverse needs of the population and how to empathize and relate to their needs during this uncer- tain time. Tis includes the need for hiring and training claims professionals who can understand and speak the lan- guage of the employees reporting claims. Te most recent Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) predictor of outcomes noted when the employee speaks a diferent language than claims professionals, outcomes tend to be worst. Finally, those in claims organiza- tions should hold each other account- able for the promotion of diversity and inclusion, not just as an initiative but as a long-term strategy. Tis environment can be expected to produce high-qual- ity claims outcomes, improve customer experience, and foster improved opera- tional performance. Te claims industry ofers exciting professional opportunities, and we can all beneft from expanded diversity and inclusion initiatives. Building up diverse talent within a group of claims professionals leads to more innovative thinking, complex problem solving, and improved performance. A person's cultural background and life experi- ence can impact their perception of the claims services delivered. It is important that claims professionals understand the unique traits of the injured workers they serve and how those characteris- tics impact their needs and satisfaction with the system. We should be excited about the vital work we do and the assistance we provide injured workers during what can be very uncertain and challenging times. We all can feel inspired by the value we bring and the diference we make in the lives of others. While we as an industry have made signifcant strides in the area of diversity and inclusion, we want to ac- complish more. Tere is no question that greater awareness and accountability for our actions in this area creates a win-win for us all. K Darrell Brown is chief claims ofcer with Sedgwick. He has been a CLM Fellow since 2012 and can be reached at darrell. brown@sedgwick.com, sedgwick.com.

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