For HR Manager Tamara, working at not-for-profit community organisation like YFS is all about backing vulnerable people to overcome adversity and to thrive.
Tamara shared with us what motivates her to foster a supportive return to work culture and help YFS employees when they are injured.
“Because it’s the right thing to do.”
Tamara told us YFS case managers spend time in the community, both on the road and visiting clients. If an injury occurs, finding other work they can do while they recover can be a challenge, but supporting and retaining valuable employees is a priority.
“It’s a lot harder to employ someone brand new than it is to nurture someone back to full duties."
It helps the employee, and their team too.
“Being back at work supports the mental health of employees – they don’t lose connection with their team. When someone’s completely off work, sometimes the team has to pick up the additional work. Having them here, even on less hours, means they’re minimising the workload impact, and being seen.”
For Tamara, a mixture of preventative and supportive measures helps address the risk of psychological injuries, because sometimes case workers are exposed to distressing circumstances, which can take its toll mentally.
“We have immediate support available, like crisis incident counselling and an Employee Assistance Program. There’s a lot of practical ways we can support employees to feel safe.”
So, how does Tamara match up an employee with other work they can do while they recover?
Are there steps that Tamara takes from the start to make things less stressful?
“I’ll talk to them or call them if they’ve gone home and explain the process."
When it comes to communication, what works for Tamara is getting everyone together.
“I’ll meet with the employee and their manager as soon as we know they can come back to work, so we can talk about what’s going to happen and who’s responsible for what. Then I’ll keep following up to make sure it’s going to plan.”
Tamara’s top tip for other employers is to be flexible around finding other work for someone who’s been injured.
“Be human. Life’s not black and white, help them out.”