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In The Know: Best Practices in Employee Retention and Return-to-Work

Cover of "Best Practices in Employee Retention and Return to Work"As workers age, they may acquire disabilities, so corporations would be wise to think about cost-effective ways of providing workplace accommodations. What best practices can companies put in place to address the needs of all employees while staying competitive in the marketplace?

The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) partnered with the LEAD Center to study a large corporation that puts high value on retaining employees over 50 years old and those with disabilities. The large retail corporation, which was not named in the report, experiences far less turnover of highly skilled staff compared to its competitors in the retail industry.

ODEP and the LEAD Center concluded that if other corporations adopted the practices used by the company, it would lead to better retention of healthy and productive workers.

These are brief summaries of some of those recommended best practices:

  1. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizes that having leave time to address issues related to a person's disability is a reasonable accommodation. The corporation in the case study has employee leave specialists that help local stores properly implement leave policies for people who have disabilities, injuries, and illnesses. Having an integrated approach to providing both work related disability leave and non-work related disability leave also lessens the corporation’s administrative costs.
  2. The corporation works with twelve vendors to help prevent employee disability and provide supports to employees with disabilities. Over several years, the corporation has required and facilitated collaborations between the vendors. This expectation of vendor cooperation provides employees with a network of support services. The vendor network helps ensure the health and productivity of employees. Vendor collaboration also keeps the corporation’s costs down in regards to their Return-to-Work program. An insistence on vendor cooperation also allows the corporation to provide employees with a flexible workplace which in turn lessens the disruptions caused by an employee's disability, injury, or illness.
  3. The study also notes that employees can access information about services and vendors through an easy-to-navigate website. Managers receive extensive training on how to address disability, injury, and illness.

To learn more about the best practices that businesses can adopt to retain healthy and productive workers, read, "Best Practices in Employee Retention and Return-to-Work: An In-Depth Look Inside an Exemplary American Corporation."  


In the Know is a bi-weekly feature on the LEAD Center blog that highlights important resources and information about the employment, policy and economic advancement of people with disabilities.

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