Home » Episode #491: Strategies for Enhancing Employee Engagement and Health-Insights from Delaine Fowler

Delaine Fowler is an innovative physical therapist with over 20 years experience. Early in her career, she noted a recurring pattern; numerous workers from the same company were suffering identical injuries. Driven by curiosity and a proactive mindset, she started reaching out to these companies, offering to tour their facilities to attempt to understand the underlying causes of these injuries.

She quickly recognized an opportunity to intervene before workers ever needed medical attention. She recalls an encounter that particularly shaped her approach: a worker approached her, clipboard in hand, visibly nervous about her presence. The worker explained that she had recently switched to a different line at her plant and had been experiencing wrist pain ever since. This interaction underscored the impact of workspace adjustments on worker health and solidified Delaine's commitment to workplace health advocacy.

Delaine's proactive approach and dedication to preventative physical therapy have made significant strides in improving workplace safety and reducing the incidence of work-related injuries. Fowler has not only aided countless individuals in avoiding painful injuries but also helped transform the way companies think about employee health and safety while saving them significant money as well. 

Regarding the impact of workplace health initiatives, she states, "We help reduce claims. We also reduce the cost of claim. We reduce lost time to work. So we're measuring all these things with clients to demonstrate that this is a high ROI for the the company."

Key themes discussed

  • Therapist identifies workplace injuries and takes action.
  • Understanding physical limitations in manufacturing for efficiency.
  • Designing ergonomic work stations for varied physical needs.
  • Company’s use of data to negotiate insurance rates.
  • Virtual model relies on management support, care.
  • Wholesale code, improving products, entrepreneur's challenges, promoting safety.
  • Treating work as a physical workout is beneficial.

A few key takeaways:

1. Delaine emphasizes the significance of addressing potential health issues within the workplace before they become serious, using her background in physical therapy to make impactful changes in industrial settings. In one example, she illustrated this with her early career experiences of minimizing repetitive injury risks by simply adjusting the positioning of a button in a factory.

2. Delaine highlighted the connection between employee engagement and productivity. By creating a workplace environment that prioritises employee health and safety, businesses can significantly boost productivity. This involves understanding and modifying the physical demands of jobs to prevent injuries, ultimately enhancing overall company performance.

3. Through examples like saving a company over $1 million by reducing OSHA reportable injuries and other health-related costs, Delaine demonstrated the economic advantages of integrating health-focused programs within workplace practices. This proactive health management not only improves employee wellbeing but also results in substantial cost savings for employers.

4. The conversation pushed the idea of viewing employees as "industrial athletes," which shifts the perspective on occupational health from reactive to proactive. Just as athletes prepare and maintain their bodies to perform, workers too need to be supported to maintain their physical health to perform optimally in their roles.

5. The importance of evolving workplace health initiatives to be more comprehensive was discussed—a shift from traditional wellness programs to more integrated, holistic health services onsite, like first-aid care and job-specific physical coaching. Delaine suggested this approach will gain traction as the benefits become more apparent to employers across various industries.

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