A safe and supported conversation between an injured person and their employer to facilitate a safe and sustainable return to work.
What is a facilitated conversation?
This service is provided to assist people in resolving interpersonal conflict that impacts on the return to work following an injury claim.
It is a supported conversation facilitated by an experienced and impartial coach to assist the injured person and their employer to resolve underlying issues and reach a mutual agreement on a path forward. It offers a safe and supportive environment to identify and discuss the barriers and challenges and find a resolution. All coaches have specific skills in effectively guiding conversations between parties where there may be issues or barriers to an effective workplace relationship.
The first step of the process is to meet participants individually and discuss the situation from each perspective. Preparation is provided to ensure each participant understands the process and feels comfortable and prepared to continue.
It is a voluntary service, and both the injured person and the employer need to consent to participate in the conversation. Medical approval is also required for the injured person to participate in the conversation, and the coach will work collaboratively with relevant treatment providers (with appropriate consent) to ensure appropriate timing and preparation for the conversation.
Why might facilitated conversation be required?
Facilitated conversations support a return to work when there is:
- Interpersonal conflict in the workplace.
- Concerns about colleague behaviour, ethical dilemmas, workload, working conditions or similar that create barriers with the injured person’s recovery and return to work.
How will a facilitated conversation be helpful?
Participating in a facilitated conversation may provide:
- An opportunity to talk about your concerns in a supportive and neutral environment.
- Solutions and answers to any questions the participants may have.
- Possible solutions and a mutual agreement.
- Assistance in moving forward together utilising a collaborative approach.
What is the process?
The coach contacts each person involved to discuss the situation individually. The purpose of this is to gain an understanding of the situation from different perspectives. The service is explained in detail and support is provided to ensure all participants are well prepared for the conversation. Privacy and consent is discussed to ensure that each participant understands what information may be shared and with whom. If medical approval has not already been provided, the coach will also engage with relevant health practitioners (with the consent of the injured person) to ensure it is safe and appropriate to arrange the conversation. A decision is then made to schedule the facilitated conversation for an appropriate date or sometimes a decision is made not to continue further.
If appropriate, the coach will arrange a meeting with both parties together, hosted and facilitated by the coach in a neutral environment (generally at one of our offices in the Northern or Southern suburbs of Adelaide) to openly discuss:
- Barriers to return to work.
- Potential solutions.
- Reach mutual agreement on an action plan.
If an agreement is reached, this is recorded by the coach in a way that both parties are comfortable with.
After ensuring all participants endorse the plan, your coach will provide a verbal update and written summary to all relevant parties.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will this affect the outcome of the injury claim?
- Given this service is used for early intervention, often people may commence the service when the claim is still in the process of being determined.
- The process and outcome of the facilitated conversation does not impact on the claims process. There is no penalty if people do not wish to participate, and the process or outcome of the facilitated conversation will have no bearing on whether a claim is accepted or rejected.
- The purpose of the facilitated conversation is to address and resolve the underlying issues, not to discuss people’s perspectives regarding the claim determination.
What if I am not ready to meet the other person involved?
- Step one of a facilitated conversation does not require you to meet. Your coach will first make contact with each person involved separately to get a deep understanding of the issues from various perspectives.
- We understand that sometimes the meeting is difficult, however we do encourage people to continue with step two, where appropriate. This process provides a safe and supportive environment to discuss return to work barriers and agree on a way forward. Completion of the process has had proven successes.
Can I bring a representative?
- Yes, but we encourage you to discuss this with your coach first.
What is the role of the facilitated conversation coach?
- Their role is to remain neutral, impartial and transparent. It is their job to facilitate communication, clarify discussion topics and confirm agreements made.
- Once the conversation is complete, they will also complete the agreed action plan and report back to all parties.
- Their role is to lead the people involved towards a mutual agreement.
Can I choose where the conversation takes place?
- We have office spaces in the Northern and Southern Suburbs to host the conversations.
- Alternate arrangements can also be made in consultation with your coach.
- Teleconference is an option for people who cannot access an office or would prefer for the initial conversation to take place without needing to be in the same room.