Vaccinations and Mandates
(This came to me Anonymously from an HR Executive of a mid-sized, regional company. - Steve)
We are wondering how people are responding to possible vaccine mandates because we have a multi-location company that is also multi-shift with part-time and full-time associates. We feel that this could be a real employee relations challenge in complying because there seems to be little consistency or direction.
I know this is a volatile subject, but I was hoping people could provide their experiences, concerns, ideas, etc. I need to gather some other perspectives so I can be more informed in talking through this with our senior leadership team.
Thanks for any responses. It will be helpful.
I am happy to answer any questions that you may have. We mandated the vaccine back in late July/early August. If you would like to email me, I will answer any questions about our experiences and challenges.
Given all of the conflicting information in the media, we decided to hit the subject head on during our recent Town Hall Meetings (communication meetings) with employees. During those meetings I explained to employees that:
- We have continued to follow the guidance from the CDC and state and federal mandates and that we had no plans implement changes beyond those requirements at this time.
- We recommend that employees get vaccinated, practice social distancing, utilize the provided sanitation products, and wear masks when they will be in close contact with other employees.
- Currently the legislation was tied up in the courts and that we would provide updates as more information became available. I also explained that although we respect an individuals decision not to get vaccinated, if the government starts fining companies for unvaccinated employees, we would not be in the position to pay fines for them to stay unvaccinated.
Overall the message was received well. My thought is that you communicate what you know now including that it is a fluid situation so that if changes are required in the future, you have let them know in advance that you may need to revise policies/practices accordingly.
We are in the same situation. We have always supported our team member's decision to not get the shot, or to get it. We've also followed CDC and local health department guidelines. However, we are going to do our best to hold off on mandating getting the shot. We are currently trying to source tests that are at a reasonable cost. We already have a very difficult time in recruiting and retaining talent, so I know that mandating the shot would make it impossible. We haven't communicated this, so I'm going to suggest to my team that we do so. I'd love to hear what everyone else is doing that has a large population of "anti-vaxxers."
Leading up to the possible mandate we are offering a Vaccination Incentive Program, providing a gift card to anyone who sends their proof of vaccination (confidentially) to HR. This has been successful for us, not necessarily with getting people vaccinated, but knowing the number of staff who can/will be at work if the mandate goes through.
I work at a Federal Contractor and our date to be fully vaccinated is December 8, so the communication to employees has already been made. I believe that proactive communication staying in front of the issue as Craig suggested, even if there are no updates, is the best approach so that employees know that it is coming. This is a personal decision that may impact employment, but we support and respect whatever the individual decides. Mentally preparing our employees for what we current know is much a better strategy than hoping that it won't happen and avoiding the conversation.
We partnered with a third party that has a dashboard that seems to be the best solution. We have been giving it to our clients who have needed it.
The dashboard will track vaccinations, testing dates, who is eligible for boosters, how long employees need to be away based on CDC guidelines, etc. It is very easy to use.
The company that supplied the dashboard are also doing vaccine clinics, on-site testing, and quick drop home testing.
The biggest challenge is that this adds more work to the employer team. There will need to be someone checking and following up. We use it on single and multi site businesses across the nation.
This was the best solution we found and happy to give our clients access. If you want more information, please contact me at email@example.com and I will send you the info about the dashboard directly.