What Does Your "V" Stand For ?

september 2, 2021 – Michael Marsh

I've previously written about the concept of making a decision for your role in the workers' compensation industry. Those responsible for the results of a workers' compensation program must first make a decision to follow the industry...or lead. It is important to make a decision for your descriptive attribute: V = Victim or V = Victor.

Through personal development classes, coaching and a variety of marvelous counseling situations, I've been exposed to some pretty amazing individuals. Both from these people and the education that was provided, it has become clear that a claims professional prospers most when they come to grips with who they are and how they define themselves. I train claims professionals to know themselves and their personal traits in order to best serve recovering workers and their families and employers.

Relationships are the basis of the workers' compensation claims process. We as claims professionals are responsible for creating, defining and serving those relationships. It has long been shown in studies that engaged patients recover faster and more completely than disengaged, or worse, combative, patients. Where we are not creating engaged, empowered patients, we are increasing the cost of claims. I'd go further and suggest that disengaged claims handling can actually cause long term damage to people, either through delayed or incomplete healing or reduced earning capacity...or both.

While we may not literally dress the same in the post-COVID work from home at all costs days as we used to, one thing has not changed. We all figuratively wear the letter V somewhere. Maybe not on a tee shirt or sweatshirt, but the letter V is there. As a human being, we all have the V. How the V impacts upon our lives is subject of some speculation. However, in my training and experience, there is one consistency for claims professionals that has become evident. The claims professional defines on a daily, hourly basis what their V means and how it will impact upon the claims processes for which they are responsible.

V = Victim OR V = Victor

Highly positively impactful claims professionals uniformly identify as a Victor. They are confident, pursue continuing education, empathic and intellectually curious. They investigate at every step of the way, always asking questions, always curious...but never losing sight of the ultimate goal. That goal is to assist the legitimately injured worker through a complicated system and help them exit the system as quickly and effectively as possible.

I've worked with some workers' compensation claims folks that wore the Victim shirt. Unfortunately, my experience has been with these people has been less than optimal. It is difficult for them to leave their world outside of the claims process. We used to say 'Leave your personal issues at the door" in the old work in an office time. Work-At-Home has muddied those waters. Those with this Victim identification issue as a major trait are now working in their homes, where some (or a majority) of their problems may source. To expect that this person will be able to put the issue to the side while they lead a recovering worker through the complications of medical treatment, early return to work and ultimately a final claims determination for closure is childish at best. 

On the flip side, those with the Victor shirt bring experience and confidence to the claims process. They lead the engaged worker through the process of recovery and return to work. Their positive attitude and approach permeates the process and impacts the worker.

In one of my trainings, I have ended with the question:

How are you going to show your V to the world today?

Takeaway: To know ourselves as people first, and knowing and managing how we interact with the world based upon that knowledge, is to begin the journey towards excellence in claims handling in workers' compensation. When we are Victors of the process, we best serve recovering workers to assist their return to the maximum function possible. V = Victor 

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