Articles, information and support tools

    The benefits of workplace assessments

    Publish Date:

    Helping people return to work following an injury or illness isn’t just a moral obligation for a business, it’s a legal one too1. Workplace assessments from an independent expert can make life easier for both employee and employer.

    Risky business

    Many organisations may think a risk assessment just involves making sure members of staff don’t trip over a loose bit of carpet by the canteen. In fact, a risk assessment goes far beyond reducing the risk of accidents. It looks at potential health risks as a whole, taking in both the physical and psychological, and entails a full assessment of someone’s workstation and working conditions.

    The rights of employees with disabilities have long been protected by legislation to ensure they have equal opportunities to be at work and stay at work. However, businesses should also be aware that this includes making reasonable workplace adjustments to ensure disabled people aren’t at a disadvantage compared to their able-bodied colleagues.

    No less an organisation than the Home Office lost a legal challenge brought by an employee with dyslexia2 . She successfully argued that the Home Office’s failure to reduce her workload resulted in her having to work longer hours than her colleagues because of her condition.

    The ruling cements that it’s the employer’s responsibility, and not the employee’s, to identify stumbling blocks and make reasonable adjustments to ensure a level playing field. But understandably, they may need expert help to understand what options and resources are available.

    Our Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants (VRCs) will work with both employer and employee to bridge the knowledge gap and offer guidance on what adjustments may help someone return to work, or stay in work.

    Our workplace assessment

    Carrying out a workplace assessment is far more than just dropping in for a half an hour. Our VRCs appreciate the need to understand both the business and the employee’s job role. It’s why we’ll liaise with all parties before making any recommendations.

    A typical assessment may look like:

    Step 1 - The VRC arranges an initial meeting with the employee to understand their history, current abilities, treatment, their view of their role and duties. They would also then speak to their Line Manager/HR to get their views and understand what the business could accommodate.

    Step 2 - They may hold a meeting with all parties to discuss possible options, taking into consideration what the employee sees as barriers to carrying out their day-to-day activities and any support needed.

    Step 3 - Our consultant would propose a plan outlining suggested working hours, their duties and any recommended adjustments to their work or workplace.

    The key part of our service is our ability to understand the employee’s challenges as well as the employer’s. We can also prepare plans and recommendations that the person can take to their health practitioner for discussion.

    As well as having an independent third party to help advise and guide, it also ensures the employer has another expert viewpoint, making sure all factors of the staff member’s wellbeing is being considered and included in any plan.

    Dyslexia vocational evaluation

    Our dyslexia assessment is for employees who have:

    • Difficulty with memory, numeracy or literature (that are not linked to other conditions)
    • Concerns they may be dyslexic
    • Undiagnosed dyslexia or cannot provide evidence of diagnosis even if they have been previously assessed
    • A diagnosis of dyslexia, and need advice or guidance on how to manage it at work

    Our evaluation includes:

    • A review or an existing dyslexia assessment report Or
    • Use of psychometric measures to determine if positive traits of dyslexia are present And
    • An assessment with the individual to determine difficulties in the workplace and provide a report outlining recommendations to support the employee in work and using coping strategies

    The results can be invaluable for both employer and employee in determining if an employee has dyslexic traits. It also identifies potential strengths and weakness in their role at work – highlighting areas where they may struggle and areas where they may do well – plus recommendations on how employers can support them.

    A business that clearly shows it cares about their staff, and is proactive in smoothing the way for disabled colleagues and employees returning to work following illness or injury is recognised as a company to work for.

    For more information on our rehab team can help, click here.

    1 https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/support-to-help-you-keep-your-job-when-ill-or-disabled
    2 https://www.icaew.com/en/library/subject-gateways/law/legal-alert/2017-03/case-law-employers-should-consider-all-reasonable-adjustments-for-a-disabled-employee