The first time many injured employees walk through Allison Baldwin’s door, their attitude can best be described as surly. They know the visit involves vocational testing, but they don’t understand what that means or more importantly, how it might reflect on them.
“Most of them don’t want to do it,” says Baldwin, a Vocational Counselor with Single Handed Consulting. “They don’t know what it’s for and are afraid of testing poorly and looking stupid.”
By the time they leave, however, those fears have been alleviated.
“Countless people have come in with a grumpy attitude and by the end, almost every time they leave feeling at ease or comfortable,” Baldwin says. “I explain to them that this is a snapshot in time that’s going to help us determine their next step.”
Getting Injured Workers Back on the Job with Vocational Testing
Vocational testing is a critical component of getting injured workers back on the job sooner in cases where retraining for a different job becomes necessary. Doing so allows employees to use the knowledge and training they have and get further training as needed while saving employers money that would otherwise go to time loss compensation. Single Handed helps companies begin the process early and works with employees throughout each stage.
Taking the First Step
The vocational tests cover two main areas: academic levels and aptitudes or interests. The more effort employees put into them, the better the likelihood that they’ll find a job that suits them. However, merely convincing them to take the first step without guidance can be a challenge.
“If you tell someone, ‘Just go to the community college down the road and get your testing done,’ a lot of people are scared to death,” says Baldwin. “It’s a lot easier for me to meet with them in person and ease the process.”
Academic tests focus on reading and math comprehension as well as English language skills. In some cases, the next step may be working toward a GED; others may be ready to complete an Associate’s Degree or other trade certification.
“For anyone headed for retraining or going back to school, this gives us a snapshot of their academic levels at this point,” says Baldwin. “We can see if they need to take any prerequisites if they’re entering community college.”
Vocational testing also helps employees identify career goals and potential strengths.
“If someone wants to be a computer programmer but has weak math skills, that’s not a good match,” says Baldwin. “We help people to find where they fit and what they’re good at.”
Putting the Results Into Action
Once the testing is complete, Single Handed Consulting’s counselors go through the results with the injured worker, explaining their options and providing recommendations.
Having someone walk the employee through the process increases the likelihood of finding a good match, says Baldwin, and employers benefit as well. “We can get a lot more information. This is a requirement that’s part of the process, but if it’s done well it gives them a lot more bang for their buck. I can help employees find something that’s an actual match, not just a job that they’ll never realistically do.”
Through conversation, she gets an idea of the employee’s background, sometimes even uncovering learning disabilities that would otherwise have gone undetected without vocational testing.
“Usually those are something they haven’t told anyone about,” Baldwin says. “We’re in a better position to support them once we’re aware of such issues. These are the kinds of things we can talk about.”
In cases where large employers or those who are self-insured want to retrain an employee for retention in their company, counselors like Baldwin can be catalysts. “It helps them get that process going,” she says.
For employees, it’s equally important to provide accurate responses to the aptitude tests as it is to do well on academic ones. “There’s a value in being a partner,” says Baldwin. “I had one guy who said he didn’t like anything out of 120 different options. He didn’t try very hard and when it came to retraining, he had very few choices.”
Helping Employees Find What They’ll Do Well
For those who actively participate, aptitude testing provides potential careers the employee may be good at or may not have considered. “The purpose is to help with identifying where people fit, what they like to do, and what they’re good at,” says Baldwin. “We’re here to help them with finding goals.”
To learn more about Single Handed Consulting and how they get people back to work with vocational claims consulting (including vocational testing), contact them today.