Visualising the Return-To-Work Process

Theme: Health

Commencement date: 2013
Project status: Completed 2015
Partners: Worksafe Victoria, Monash University

Worksafe has been very successful in their injury prevention strategies. Workplace injury rates have fallen in Victoria and are now among the lowest in Australia. Return-To-Work (RTW) for those suffering an injury, however, has not seen much improvement. The issue now is on improving the RTW rates.

Getting employees back to work within 3 months of injury is critical. Delay in this can compound further health effects and psycho-social well-being. It also becomes harder to return to the labour market with consequent effects upon economic security.

Taking a multi-stakeholder view of the Return-To-Work service system, the research team mapped the service process for RTW best practice from interviews with managers, supervisors and RTW Coordinators in six organisations.

Through visualisation and the construction of an experience map, the team found that the WorkCover Authority had an inside-out view of RTW, starting from the activities that it managed and thinking ‘out’ to the way in which other actors in the service system interacted with it. A distinct boundary could be seen where Best Practice Employers, in comparison, had an outside-in view of RTW, starting with the policy, procedures and practices for employee safety and well-being at work and the identifying the way in which these procedures and practices could be used ‘in’ the RTW space.

Research Team:
Dr Richard Cooney, Department of Management, Monash University, Australia;
Dr Nifeli Stewart, School of Media and Communication RMIT, Australia;
Tania Ivanka, School of Media and Communication RMIT, Australia.

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