When President Biden announced a new federal mandate requiring all employers with over 100 employees to mandate their workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly, companies across the nation were suddenly faced with a new challenge. How to quickly, easily and securely manage large amounts of personal health data from employees, all while navigating new policies that could create friction among employees.
For HR professionals, there is no playbook for "how to mandate vaccines during a pandemic while employees are quitting at record levels during The Great Resignation." But, there are steps leaders can take to comply with federal mandates while prioritizing employees' needs and expectations.
Understand how your employees feel about vaccine mandates
Listening to employees and earning their trust is more important than ever. If your employees truly feel their voice is heard and taken into consideration while decisions are made around new policies, employees are likely to be more empathetic and understanding when they are implemented.
Research shows that only two thirds (60%) of employees would support a vaccine mandate at work and nearly a quarter (23%) of employees would strongly consider quitting if their employers mandated vaccines. Clearly, there is no 'one size fits all' approach for implementing vaccine mandates. Understanding employee sentiment around vaccines within your unique organization can help guide decisions on how to best communicate and carry out new policies.
Clearly communicate policies as early as possible
The top three things that matter most to candidates during the hiring process are: clearly communicated expectations, feeling like their well-being is a priority and knowing the employer's work policy, according to research. In the past, that included clarity around remote, hybrid or in-person work. But now, that includes vaccination and testing mandates. Companies have to make their policies clear from the very beginning so candidates know what to expect and what is expected of them if they join.
The same can be said for employees. Once new policies are ready to be communicated, make sure that executives and managers have the information and resources they need to have informed discussions with their teams about what will be expected of them as well as be able to answer questions or know where to direct people to learn more.
Make implementation and HR compliance easy
When it comes to the actual mechanics of gathering and managing information about employees' vaccination or testing status, leaders will want to make sure whatever systems they implement are scalable for their organization, seamless for their employees to use and flexible enough to keep up with any policy changes or legal requirements to remain compliant.
Qualtrics has a solution called the Vaccination & Testing Manager, which enables organizations to securely and easily capture information about their employees' vaccination status as well as conduct daily symptom checks. The solution was designed to be flexible so that employees can use it via text, email, QR code—however and wherever is convenient for them. Employees are guided through an automated workflow that asks them to verify their vaccination status and allows them to upload a photo of their vaccination card, test results or proof of exemption. The solution also includes a daily symptom checker to help prevent potential outbreaks.