Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr. tackles your HR questions in a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest professional human resource society and author of “Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.”
Questions are submitted by readers and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for length and clarity.
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Question: I have worked remotely in my current position for the past two years. I recently injured myself while working from home during work hours. Can I apply for workers’ compensation benefits? –Chari
Answer: I am sorry to hear that you were injured! As the world increasingly relies on remote and hybrid working, new work scenarios will emerge, so kudos to you for asking this question. You might be surprised to find that you can indeed claim workers’ compensation benefits even if your injury occurred while you were working at home. To be approved for workers’ compensation benefits, you must first prove that you were acting in the best interests of your employer at the time the injury occurred.
Start by contacting your human resources department. They will probably ask you a few questions so they can complete an injury/illness report. Remember to properly document the details of all the circumstances surrounding your injury. You will also want to review your company’s workers’ compensation policy, if available.
Your company may also have a third-party carrier that will handle your workers’ compensation claim once HR submits the illness/injury report; so the carrier may contact you for additional details about when and how your injury occurred. Remember that each state has unique workers’ compensation regulations, so ask clarifying questions for the state in which you work.
If your worker’s compensation claim is approved, you may need to see a medical facility or a specific doctor for your injury. Be sure to ask if this is a requirement before seeking medical treatment. According to the workers’ compensation policy, you may be entitled to 66% of your regular salary and up to 100% after a waiting period. Some companies may require their employees to use accrued sick leave or paid time off during an unpaid waiting period.
I hope that by taking these steps, you will soon feel better!
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I was laid off from a job earlier this year. I couldn’t find work in my field and have only worked part-time since. My shame at not having been successful recently in my career has led me to close myself off from former colleagues and friends. I’ve never been keen on networking, but I feel like I’m missing out by not asking people I know for help. How can I better use my contacts in my job search? –Carter
First of all, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your last job. There is no reason to be ashamed of your recent fights. It is not easy to be unemployed and even more difficult to ask for help. One of the best things I’ve done in my career has been reaching out to former colleagues and friends to give and yes, receive support.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to old colleagues and friends, even if you haven’t spoken to them in a while. Here are some steps you can take to leverage these important connections in your job search:
• Have a plan. Determine the specific opportunities you are looking for in your career field.
• Focus first on rebuilding relationships. Networking is more than asking for a favor. Reconnect over a cup of coffee; if possible, chat over the phone or connect on social media.
• If you are looking to expand your network, consider joining a professional association.
• Share your goals with your network and ask them for advice, not just a job. They may be able to recommend training or conferences to help you broaden your skills and meet even more people in your field.
• Ask their permission if you want to use them as a reference.
• Stay logged in. Even after landing a new job, make an effort to keep in touch with them. Networking isn’t just about finding jobs; it’s about relationships. And who knows, maybe one day you can return the favor!
Talking with your network of associates and friends helps you broaden your perspective and see opportunities you might otherwise miss. You have invested time and energy in cultivating these relationships. Not only is it perfectly acceptable to ask for help, but it’s smart. The people you’ve worked with know what you’re capable of and can offer insights you might not know. Again, sometimes we are out of breath; other times we are at the reception. So, do not hesitate to ask for help and recommendations.
I hope you find the right opportunity for your career.