Supervisor competencies for supporting return to work: a mixed-methods study

Johnston, Venerina, Way, Kirsten, Long, Maryann H., Wyatt, Mary, Gibson, Libby and Shaw, William S. (2015) Supervisor competencies for supporting return to work: a mixed-methods study. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 25 1: 3-17. doi:10.1007/s10926-014-9511-z

Author Johnston, Venerina
Way, Kirsten
Long, Maryann H.
Wyatt, Mary
Gibson, Libby
Shaw, William S.
Title Supervisor competencies for supporting return to work: a mixed-methods study
Journal name Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1053-0487
Publication date 2015-03
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10926-014-9511-z
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 25
Issue 1
Start page 3
End page 17
Total pages 15
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Springer New York
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose Line supervisors often play an important role in the return to work (RTW) process; whether they possess the competencies needed to carry out this work effectively is unknown. The aim of this research was to determine the competencies supervisors need in order to facilitate a worker's RTW following absence due to a mental health condition or a musculoskeletal disorder. Methods Supervisors from five Australian industries with high rates of compensable claims participated in focus groups to elicit the knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics required to support returning workers. From a multi-stage analysis of responses, RTW competencies were developed, allocated to clusters of related items, and incorporated into an online survey administered to rehabilitation professionals. Results 29 supervisors participated in 1 of 5 focus groups. Analysis of focus group data identified 84 generic competencies, eight specific to mental health conditions, and two to musculoskeletal disorders, arranged in 11 clusters. Survey respondents (n = 344) represented a variety of rehabilitation professionals and jurisdictions. Nearly all agreed that supervisors should receive training to support RTW. Over 50 % of respondents rated 90 of 94 competencies as very important or essential. The highest ratings were for competencies relating to personal attributes, knowledge of RTW processes, and empathetic support of the worker. Conclusions Supervisors and rehabilitation professionals perceive effective support of RTW requires supervisors to have a range of knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics. Our competency model should undergo workplace testing to evaluate its validity.
Keyword Return to work
Mental health
Musculoskeletal disorder
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 9 April 2014.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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