2222222222

Risk Insider: Scott Daniels

The Power of Creating a Value-Based Accommodation

By: | November 27, 2017 • 3 min read
Scott Daniels, JD, is the Senior Director of Disability Benefits for Comcast, where he oversees disability and absence management initiatives across the enterprise. He received his Juris Doctorate from Touro Law Center in New York. In addition to practicing law, Scott has taught several lectures on the topic of disability benefits to attorneys across the country.

Workplace accommodations. Two words that often spark fear in the eyes of business leaders and human resource professionals. But why? Is it the complex regulatory framework and bevy of conflicting case law? Or maybe it’s the unfamiliar territory and potential litigation threat.

Advertisement




Whatever the reason, workplace accommodations don’t have to be viewed as a hindrance to your business, but rather an opportunity for employers to better support their people, while simultaneously creating value and positively impacting your bottom line.

So how does an employer do this?

First, know your business

Regardless of your industry, it is incumbent for benefit and HR professionals to have direct exposure to the different parts of their organization, experience the day-to-day environments of their workforce and learn firsthand about the evolving needs of their people and the business.  Job descriptions serve as a foundation, but rolling up your sleeves and going on-site to observe and speak with employees is invaluable. Engaging front line staff and operations leaders can also reveal critical insights into rapidly changing business needs – not only providing direct insight into the needs and pain points of your workforce, but also those of your customers.

Start with the employee experience

Employees are the single greatest asset to an employer.  Look for ways to optimize and improve the support you can provide your people, first, and the business impact will follow.  Are there opportunities within your business operations to provide support through an accommodation that may not only bring an employee back to work faster – but also better equipped to do their job? By prioritizing and solving for the employees’ need, you can simultaneously address a larger business need.  By helping your people achieve their goals, you can help your business do the same.

Take a non-traditional approach

Creative accommodations will vary depending on your industry, but engaging with a diverse group of peers to brainstorm possible solutions can reveal new and exciting opportunities for your employees. Engaging multiple stakeholders can not only lead to creative solutions, but will also drive interdepartmental collaboration to ensure awareness, cross-functional perspectives and most of all, a better relationship between HR and your business.

Advertisement




Accommodations are not limited to ergonomic chairs, sit-stand workstations and intermittent medical leave of absence. While these are all plausible forms of accommodations, a creative strategy to build, expand and develop new opportunities for employees creates a positive employee experience while driving value for your business partners.

In short, workplace accommodations can be good for your people and your business.  By recognizing opportunities to create meaningful solutions that can increase engagement, productivity and presenteeism, employers can simultaneously bolster performance, loyalty and both employee and customer satisfaction – leading to a positive impact for your workforce and your bottom line.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession: Curt Gross

This director of risk management sees cyber, IP and reputation risks as evolving threats, but more formal education may make emerging risk professionals better prepared.
By: | June 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

My first non-professional job was working at Burger King in high school. I learned some valuable life lessons there.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

After taking some accounting classes in high school, I originally thought I wanted to be an accountant. After working on a few Widgets Inc. projects in college, I figured out that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Risk management found me. The rest is history. Looking back, I am pleased with how things worked out.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

Advertisement




I think we do a nice job on post graduate education. I think the ARM and CPCU designations give credibility to the profession. Plus, formal college risk management degrees are becoming more popular these days. I know The University of Akron just launched a new risk management bachelor’s program in the fall of 2017 within the business school.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

I think we could do a better job with streamlining certificates of insurance or, better yet, evaluating if they are even necessary. It just seems to me that there is a significant amount of time and expense around generating certificates. There has to be a more efficient way.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

Selfishly, I prefer a destination with a direct flight when possible. RIMS does a nice job of selecting various locations throughout the country. It is a big job to successfully pull off a conference of that size.

Curt Gross, Director of Risk Management, Parker Hannifin Corp.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Definitely the change in nontraditional property & casualty exposures such as intellectual property and reputational risk. Those exposures existed way back when but in different ways. As computer networks become more and more connected and news travels at a more rapid pace, it just amplifies these types of exposures. Sometimes we have to think like the perpetrator, which can be difficult to do.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

I hate to sound cliché — it’s quite the buzz these days — but I would have to say cyber. It’s such a complex risk involving nontraditional players and motives. Definitely a challenging exposure to get your arms around. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll really know the true exposure until there is more claim development.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

Advertisement




Our captive insurance company. I’ve been fortunate to work for several companies with a captive, each one with a different operating objective. I view a captive as an essential tool for a successful risk management program.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I can’t point to just one. I have and continue to be lucky to work for really good managers throughout my career. Each one has taken the time and interest to develop me as a professional. I certainly haven’t arrived yet and welcome feedback to continue to try to be the best I can be every day.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I would like to think I have and continue to bring meaningful value to my company. However, I would have to say my family is my proudest accomplishment.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

Favorite movie is definitely “Good Will Hunting.”

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Tough question to narrow down. If my wife ran a restaurant, it would be hers. We try to have dinner as a family as much as possible. If I had to pick one restaurant though, I would say Fire Food & Drink in Cleveland, Ohio. Chef Katz is a culinary genius.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

The Grand Canyon. It is just so vast. A close second is Stonehenge.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Advertisement




A few, actually. Up until a few years ago, I owned a sport bike (motorcycle). Of course, I wore the proper gear, took a safety course and read a motorcycle safety book. Also, I have taken a few laps in a NASCAR [race car] around Daytona International Speedway at 180 mph. Most recently, trying to ride my daughter’s skateboard.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

The Dalai Lama. A world full of compassion, tolerance and patience and free of discrimination, racism and violence, while perhaps idealistic, sounds like a wonderful place to me.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I really enjoy the company I work for and my role, because I get the opportunity to work with various functions. For example, while mostly finance, I get to interact with legal, human resources, employee health and safety, to name a few.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

I asked my son. He said, “Risk management and insurance.” (He’s had the benefit of bring-your-kid-to-work day.)

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]