Turning challenges into opportunities for employees post COVID-19

Old Mutual Masterclass series1

Written by Topco Staff Writer



This week we are providing a proactive, in-depth intervention for navigating the workplace in a post-COVID 19 era. Our focus is on mental wellness strategies, and how to prepare and facilitate the return-to-work process for employees (especially those with mental health conditions post-pandemic). Four panelists head this Masterclass: Urvashi Ramjee – Head of Claims Management @ Old Mutual South Africa; Prof. Stoffel Grobler – Professor @ University of Pretoria, Department of Health Sciences, Carol-Lynn Stirrat – Occupational Therapist, and Ralf Fletcher, CEO @Topco Media.

Ralf introduced this week’s masterclass by highlighting its alignment with the values and focus areas of the 2020 Future of HR’s latest summit and upcoming Virtual Awards –  fostering winning mindsets, energising your organization, and implementing the very best actionable practices.  He highlighted key topics in terms of that the Masterclass would be looking at: positive change, actionable insight, creating an environment in which employees may thrive, addressing stigma and transforming ‘disruptions’ into ‘opportunities’.

Key takeaways from this Masterclass included:

  1. How COVID-19 will affect long-term disability claims
  2. Impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of employees
  3. How you can use this time to improve your hiring processes, your employer brand and ensure hiring compliance
  4. How to effectively engage with candidates in a new digital environment
  5. The long term impact of the future of work and the working environment
  6. Steps you can implement in order to empower your disabled workforce for higher productivity levels, whilst ensuring adequate protection and reassurance
  7. What forward thinking companies are doing to tackle the hiring challenges head-on
  8. How organisations can use recent ‘disruptions’ to their advantage
  9. Importance of proactive wellness strategies in the work-place
  10. Creating a fool proof ‘return to work plan’ for employees with medical conditions

 Urvashi Ramjee qualified as an occupational therapist in 1992, and after working in various clinical environments, she moved into the insurance industry. In the financial services institutions that she has worked in, she initially specialised in the assessment and management of disability claims, and, thereafter, became involved in other operational functions related to group risk (employee) benefits. Urvashi joined Old Mutual in December 2015 where she holds the position Head of Claims Management.

Professor Chrisstoffel Grobler, presently aiding the Head Clinical Unit of Elizabeth Donkin Psychiatric Hospital in Port Elizabeth, is an esteemed Professor at the University of Pretoria and Associate Professor at Walter Sisulu University, within the Faculties of Health Sciences. As an academic with 20 years of experience and fulltime employed in the public service, he has made valuable contributions to the field of Occupational Psychiatry.  He has a limited private practice where he serves as independent medical examiner for the insurance industry, performing independent psychiatric impairment assessments. His qualifications are MBChB (UP), Diploma in Occupational Health (UP), MMed (Psychiatry) (UFS), FC Psych (CMSA) and MD (Psychiatry) (UP). He is a member of the South African Medico-Legal Association and serves on the South African Medical Association’s Human Rights, Law and Ethics Committee. His special interests include disability due to mental illness, psychiatric impairment assessment and biomedical ethics.

Carol-Lynn Stirrat, Occupational Therapist in the greater Pretoria Area, South Africa, works closely with the Netcare Rehabilitaion Centre, Auckland Park Johannes. She attended the University of the Witwatersrand, completing a BSc OT (Hons) Post Graduate Diploma in NeuroSciences, as well as a Wits Post Graduate Diploma in Vocational Rehabilitation UP. Her special interests include Functional Capacity Evaluations, vocational rehabilitation, case management and return to work in chronic health and mental health conditions.


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