how-to Jan 22, 2021
 

Many employers view Ergonomics as a “must”, rather than as a “want”.  They often relate Ergonomics to occupational health and safety legislations in which they are required to follow. They also have this idea that Ergonomics is all about work-related injuries, and that prevention is a huge financial burden for them. These reasons are hugely attributed to the fact that Ergonomics is commonly associated with wellness and safety, and not with business performance. This is also why many ergonomists and healthcare professionals who are doing ergonomic assessments have trouble getting their business to move forward. So as ergonomic professionals, what strategy do you think will encourage more action from your clients and prospects? Should you position Ergonomics as a wellness-driven or a profit-driven activity?

In this blog, I'll share to you a strategy that encourages more action for your services and helps you move forward with your business.

Wellness-Driven or Profit-Driven Strategy: What’s the Best Way to Encourage More Action?

One of the biggest concerns that many ergonomic professionals have is that they invest in a course to learn how to do Ergonomics and acquire the necessary skills, but they can’t use it.

Connecting with your clients and building relationships with them can be challenging.

In order to do so, you have to have an effective strategy so as to encourage action from your clients and prospects. To come up with a good strategy, we need to look at Ergonomics in two perspectives: injury and performance. Communicating the value of Ergonomics has to do with profit, either we can stop expensive workers’ compensation claims from time-loss injuries, or we can mitigate the health risk through a proactive approach. Find out the most valuable strategy that would encourage more action below.

Injury Perspective

Many Ergonomic Professionals promote their services on the basis of health and safety standpoint. They work with companies who see the need of assistance to support them with issues like Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), work environment injury and discomfort, and workers’ compensation claims. When someone is injured at work, they have what's called as a compensable injury. A compensable injury is not necessarily time-loss, but it does mean that at least some sort of healthcare is brought up, and healthcare can still cost the company money and profit. However, the real issue when it comes to workers’ compensation is when someone gets injured at the workplace, and then they don't return back to work. Those claims really add up, especially if that person is away from work for a week or even longer. 

Wellness perspectives only has a secondary role when it comes to Ergonomics. It’s great to use as an additional gain, but it shouldn’t be your main basis for promoting Ergonomics in organizations or companies. Implementing Ergonomics exclusively to handle workplace health issues is an extrinsic motivation for your clients. It, therefore, makes Ergonomics only necessary to apply as a reactive approach, or it makes them perceive Ergonomics as something that is a “must”. However, the value of Ergonomics is beyond wellness. There’s a better strategy to promote your services and encourage more action while maintaining the wellbeing of the workers.

Performance Perspective

The main reason for Ergonomics is profit, and performance perspective is all about making the company more profitable. At some point, a workplace will have a compensable injury, or at least they're going to have people who are in pain and discomfort, and that's going to affect the bottom line. And if someone's in pain and discomfort, of course, they won’t be able to perform at 100%. 

Of all the profit-generating activities that a company can do to ensure that they are having excellent operations, Ergonomics plays a role. This is because Ergonomics play a big role in mitigating risk in the workplace through a proactive approach. With a proactive approach, Ergonomic Professionals can recognize and manage ergonomic problems in the workplace, and therefore, make adjustments before an employee experiences discomfort or injury.  If you remove the risk, then workplace injury has no place to develop. If employees are not missing work going to appointments to treat their discomfort that has resulted from an improper ergonomic setup, then there's obviously going to be more profit for that company. This approach can mean a major shift when it comes to how we position and deliver our services. Careful attention to Ergonomics can be a valuable factor in how an organization utilizes its competitive advantage.

Direct Cost vs. Indirect Cost

A lot of employers don’t realize how much injuries really cost them. Loss costs can be divided into two categories: direct vs. indirect. When distinguishing the two, think of the iceberg theory. Direct costs represent the part of the iceberg above water that is visible to the eye. Direct costs are those obvious ones, which include workers’ compensation costs, injury costs, and lost wages. But icebergs are deceiving because most of their weight and size are underneath the surface. In the same way, indirect costs of a workplace injury aren’t visible, but are still present and can possibly cost just as much as the direct costs, or even more if they’re not handled proactively. Those indirect costs include training costs, other people working to cover absences, overtime pay, or even loss of employee morale. Basically, indirect costs include all the administration involved with managing someone's assets and ensure that the operations of a business can carry on with one less person. There are people in larger organizations that are too important. They handle crucial tasks like increasing revenue or processing transactions, and it's huge money involved for the company.

Implement the Best Strategy

The reason why Ergonomics was developed in the industry is because of profit. A great talking point that you can share with your client is that less expensive claims have proportionally higher indirect costs. When we’re talking about direct costs, one of the major issues is workers’ compensation fees. To put this into perspective, a carpal tunnel syndrome claim can increase the cost of a claim upwards of $1200 per claim. And workers’ compensation fees are not just a flash in the pan, the employer is going to be paying for that injury annually, or every 3 to 4 years, depending on the situation. 

The full potential and advantage of Ergonomics can be utilized before an injury in the workplace occurs. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If we can prevent these injuries from ever happening in the first place, then there's going to be such a huge upside in enhancing their profit margins and making them more profitable. This way, employers will have an intrinsic motivation to implement Ergonomics in the workplace. With this, Ergonomics becomes a “want”, and that’s the best way to encourage action from your clients. For many ergonomic professionals, a profit-driven strategy means a shift in perspective, which requires a change from wellness Ergonomics to business Ergonomics. But seeing Ergonomics in a business performance or profit-driven perspective, you’ll also be able to maintain the health and safety of your clients.

I hope this blog shifts what you can envision yourself doing in the future and how you promote your services to your prospects and clients. And if you want to learn how other healthcare professionals are already adding office ergonomic expertise to their services, I have a training for you, check it here now.

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