icare – Connect & Care

icare – Connect & Care has been selected as an ABA100® Winner for Product Innovation in The Australian Business Awards 2021. The Australian Business Award for Product Innovation [PIA] recognises products and services that provide innovative solutions for business and market needs.

Connect & Care was developed by Insurance for and care NSW (icare), QBE Insurance (QBE) and the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) to strengthen leader – injured worker relationships in NSW government agencies regularly exposed to complex trauma.

After employees at a Youth Justice Centre suffered physical and psychological injuries from an inmate riot in 2019, icare, QBE and DCJ searched for a way to help leaders better handle the fallout these incidents have on their workers. Research indicated that the link between leader and injured worker is one of the more powerful tools available to aid injured worker recovery and return to work. With this in mind and guided by the icare created and Griffith University reviewed Checklist for Employers–Engaging Workers after Psychological Injury, the idea for Connect & Care emerged.

Connect & Care is an experiential education intervention featuring a robust co-design element that holds participants’ experience in high esteem, empowering them to shape the program for their organisation. Spread across three two-hour workshops, with workplace activities before and after, the program guides frontline managers in how best to support workers experiencing a complex injury by connecting them through better communication and demonstrating empathy in support. An integral part is the implementation plan which guides participants in how to embed the program in their organisation’s culture and processes.

The program’s results so far have been positive. Managers who have completed Connect & Care find it highly valuable and are taking ownership of the support of their injured workers. Employees with workplace injuries report feeling more supported by their workplace. Organisations involved are experiencing a reduction in complex workplace injury claims and overall claims costs, better return to work rates, increased productivity and positive workplace engagement.

Connect & Care is available to all NSW Government agencies through Risk Education eXpress (REX), icare’s government education service, in a train-the-trainer format. There are future plans to make it available in the private sector.

icare is the largest public sector insurer in Australian and delivers insurance and care services to the businesses, people and communities of NSW. Through Insurance for NSW this includes 202 government agencies covering more than 329,000 government employees and 82,000 volunteers. QBE is an international insurer and reinsurer offering a diverse portfolio of commercial, personal and specialty products, as well as risk management solutions. The NSW Department of Communities and Justice commenced in 2019 and brought together Family and Community Services (FACS) and Justice. It is now the lead agency in the Stronger Communities cluster.

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