Workers who return to the job quickly after an injury or illness owe a lot to their managers, a new study says.
Considerate, understanding bosses who keep up contact with their sidelined workers are key to getting them to return.
Previous research showed a strong link between management and sick leave – especially how the risk of long-term leave rose with the lack of support from management.
Because of this, scientists looked at the link between positive management and workers on sick leave.
They found people on leave and light duty need to feel their problems are being taken seriously. Those who do are likely to fight harder to get back to work as quickly as possible.
Communication is key for both managers and hurt employees, since misunderstanding the workers’ needs can lead to problems later on.
And not all workers have the same needs. While older workers are more concerned with adapting to the work environment, younger employees are more in need of encouragement.
But in all cases, these seven manager types were most successful at getting employees back to work:
- The Protector: Understands the situation, shows compassion, and looks out for the employee.
- The Problem Solver: Professional and solution-oriented. Can help worker adapt to the environment.
- The Contact Maker: Keeps in touch with the worker to see how he’s doing and relays what’s happening in the workplace.
- The Trust Creator: Discreet, honest and open. Develops trust and a feeling of job safety.
- The Recognizer: Shows respect and confidence to employees during their time on light duty.
- The Encourager: Motivates and inspires while being patient.
- The Responsibility-maker: Gives the employee challenges and responsibility for his situation.
The research was conducted by The International Research Institute of Stavanger in Norway.