During this challenging and uncertain time, WorkPartners would like to turn the spotlight on individuals making an impact and exemplifying excellence in the field of risk management and workers’ compensation. This week we are excited to feature Freddie Quiñones, Human Resources Business Partner at California Coast Credit Union. Thank you, Freddie, for spending time answering our questions. Enjoy everyone!
WP. Hi Freddie! Please give us a quick summary of your background.
FQ. I have been in HR for 22 years. Most of my career was spent in Chicago, primarily supporting manufacturing companies with locations in multiple states. Eight years ago, I moved to San Diego and had the opportunity to experience other industries such as agriculture and finance. Among other generalist duties, two of my biggest passions and primary responsibilities have been safety and workers’ compensation.
WP. You have managed workers’ compensation claims in agriculture, finance, and manufacturing during your career. Have you noticed a difference in your approach to prevention?
FQ. Yes. The exposure is far greater in some industries and the approach must be different. Industries with greater exposure are closely monitored and in many cases targeted by regulatory agencies. These industries have to stay on top of their game and put a lot of emphasis on training, coaching, and prevention. Communication and education is key to prevention.
WP. How has the COVID-19 crisis affected your work environment?
FQ. COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. It is very challenging to keep up with all the employment legal updates during this time. HR is the nucleus of the organization, and although we share the same uncertainty and concerns as everyone else, we must keep it together to provide support to the rest of the organization. For the first time, our entire team is working remotely, and we have not only succeeded, but surpassed our own expectations. I am extremely proud of our team!
WP. What is the most common misconception regarding workers’ compensation?
FQ. Sadly, a common misconception is the feeling some employees have that filing a work comp claim gives them immunity from adhering to company policies. I have witnessed employees file the most absurd claims believing anything occurring at work is automatically work-related and covered under workers’ compensation.
WP. What is one of the most impactful decisions in controlling costs a company can make and why?
FQ. Closely monitor and internally manage the claims. Employers must give the claim (and claimant) the attention needed, show compassion, stay connected with the employee, and truly be the liaison between the claimant and adjuster.
WP. What does the future of workers’ compensation look like in California?
FQ. Who knows? Although the last major reform took place almost a decade ago, changes still occur on a regular basis. California’s workers’ compensation is one of the most costly in the US, and unfortunately, it will continue to increase.
WP. Thank you for your time, Freddie. In closing how do you keep a healthy work-life balance?
FQ. Work hard, but play hard. It is difficult to maintain a balance, but it is not impossible. I find time to do things that make me happy. I try not to worry about situations beyond my control. I choose to live drama-free as much as possible. Life is too short; let us enjoy it.
Freddie Quiñones – Human Resources Business Partner
California Coast Credit Union