Workplace culture and healthy outcomes - benefits business and the community

Employers from industries as diverse as health, aged care and community services, to manufacturing, transport and education, joined EML for the Workplace Culture and Return to Work Matters forum held in Melbourne recently.

The forum was designed to improve employers’ understanding about how return to work performance impacts the Victorian workers compensation scheme – and business costs – and the importance of employee health and wellbeing to create the right culture to support return to work.

Karen Oldaker, Medibank’s General Manager of Wellbeing & Community, shared how its company purpose of ‘Better Health for Better Lives’ shapes their approach for more than 4,000 employees.

“It’s about putting a health lens across our entire employee experience,” Ms Oldaker said. “It’s much more than offering free flu vaccines and discounted gym memberships.

“With all programs we offer, it’s about choice. We want to create a culture where employees are able to put their health and wellbeing first. This can be through flexible working hours, new parental leave policies, as well as our purpose built ‘healthy’ office environment,” Ms Oldaker said.

EML regularly runs forums for members, to share ways to improve health and safety in the workplace, the importance of return to work, and broader health and wellness topics.

Aidan Brophy, WorkSafe Victoria’s Director of Claims, gave an update on Strategy 2030 and the latest statistics for claims, injury and return to work rates.

“Sadly, 18 Victorians have lost their lives so far this year, and the agriculture and construction industries remain a risk,” said Mr Brophy.

“While claims for physical injury make up 85% of all total claims, mental injury claims numbers are increasing, and the return to work outcomes for these claims is much lower.”

EML’s in-house actuary, Cameron Lucas, shared his knowledge about the drivers of workers compensation premium costs and how return to work outcomes impact this.

“Managing claims well and returning workers to work as soon as they are able, benefits business through lower insurance costs,” said Mr Lucas.

“It also ensures the workers compensation scheme is sustainable long term, plus, the whole community benefits if people can return to work and lead productive, healthy lives.”