returning to work after a serious illness: tips for employers.

‘Keep in contact with your sick employee, avoid breaking all ties’, is the advice of Katrien Kerckhove, HR manager at Randstad.

maintain an open dialogue.

Many people soon tend to view a returning employee as “back to normal”.

‘We encourage dialogue and get help in doing so from Care for You at Securex. This external company assists employees during the course of their illness. Specialised psychologists stay in touch and also organise practical matters, such as keeping hold of a company car.’

‘When someone returns bear in mind that much may have changed in a few months or years: new colleagues, different IT systems, etc. Give the employee the opportunity to discuss his or her fears. Work together to find a good solution to suit both sides. If necessary organise a good send-off.’


Reintegration should be a two-way process. You are in it together. Regular conversations and evaluation are essential. Make it an individual approach, similar to the process involved with a new employee. The manager’s role is crucial. It must be possible to discuss everything. Many people soon tend to view a returning employee as “back to normal”. It is important to stay alert.'

The key is to communicate honestly and with no taboos.