I work in workers compensation

I work in workers compensation

by James Ellis – FIRST PUBLISHED HERE

Blue botWhen I tell people, at a BBQ for example – when their PC demeanour is perhaps suppressed – that I work in the arena of workers compensation, the reaction is usually disappointing. It would be very rare for someone to react by saying that it must be great to work in a field where you can help people, or for them to express their wish they had gotten into the workers compensation industry. So I generally just say I am a physiotherapist.

If only they knew the great potential provided to organisations by their inevitable injuries.

In our culture we value decisiveness. We value being right. We value plans. We value oversimplified explanations because we’re time poor. These values loom large in the workers compensation environment. My observation is that the ongoing efforts to control, perpetuated by our 3-4 year political cycles, iteratively create a dehumanising sub culture.

Optimistically however, in an environment where the illusion of control is pervasive – manifest as processes, rules, legislation and misleading attempts to be objective  – opportunities to be human abound. When you work within a dehumanising sub culture – a humanising approach seems novel.

My hope is that we can change our language, that we can change the discourse and that we can challenge the conventional wisdom that people who have been injured at work should be considered with suspicion.

My hope is that we can stop calling injured workers claimants, that we can stop sending letters to workers that are infused with medico-legal jargon. That we can stop assessing claimants and start really meeting people. That we can suspend our adversarial agendas, and listen to peoples’ stories through a prism that acknowledges how little we now about them…and acknowledges that they can be trusted with choices around their recovery.

I’d really like my intuitive response at BBQs to be a proud expression that I work in workers compensation. I would really like the reaction to be one of genuine curiosity and even a degree of positivity.

James Ellis

James Ellis

Managing Director at The Framework Group
James Ellis
B.App.Sc (Physio) After finishing High School I experimented with a range of vocations including 12 months as a midshipman in the Royal Australian Navy, a false start studying Engineering at UNSW and a very enjoyable 5 years as a gym instructor at a variety of gyms in Sydney. I graduated as a Physiotherapist from the University of Sydney in 1991. After 12 months as an intern in the public hospital system in NSW I travelled to Michigan, USA, where I obtained experience in an outpatient facility servicing the local community and the adjacent private hospital. I then returned to Australia and obtained a full time position at the Hills Street Sports Medicine Centre in Gosford, NSW, treating sports injuries. In 1995 I founded Hills Street Occupational Rehabilitation Service which later became Hills Street Group and, more recently, Framework Group. Over the past 19 years we have grown to have several franchised teams throughout NSW. I really enjoy the daily challenge of problem solving in the complex arena of workplace injury management. At Framework, we focus on humanising injury management. We've developed a unique model of injury management that allows our employer clients to maintain and enhance their relationships with their workers which, in turn, has very positive commercial implications. We believe that injury management provides employers with a portal through which they can demonstrate how much they care about their team. We believe that mistakes and injuries are inevitable, because people are fallible, but this same fallibility provides opportunities for learning and enrichment of relationships.

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