Talking To Your Employees About The COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine

[Guest Post]

The COVID-19 vaccinations are in full swing as millions of essential workers and high-risk Americans schedule appointments to get the shot. The news is excellent for society as a whole and will ultimately lead to fewer deaths, restrictions, and hopefully, some return to normalcy. However, for employers that believe vaccines are ideal in the workplace, you still face a few obstacles. 

Mandates And Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccines

The EEOC states that employers have a right to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their employees. There are a few exemptions like individuals with religious practices or disabilities that prevent them from getting the vaccine. As everything is still relatively new, most companies decided to offer incentives instead of issue mandates. 

The idea is that employees will be interested in a few extra bucks, a free gadget, gift certificate, or time off from work just to get vaccinated. Unfortunately, there are issues with incentivizing as well. If the offers are “too good,” it could be viewed as coercion. If anyone starts to feel left out or overlooked, it could also become discrimination. 

Communication Goes A Long Way

The safest and likely least expensive way to inspire employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine is to talk to them. When you open up the lines of communication, hear what they have to say, and offer sound advice in return, you have a higher chance of them doing what it takes to protect themselves, coworkers, customers, and their families (and ultimately, the success of your company). As talking about the vaccine can be tricky for some employers, here are a few tips to help you out. 

Hold A Company-Wide Meeting

The first thing you want to do is hold a company-wide meeting including staff from all departments. This initial meeting is just to relay what you know about the COVID-19 vaccines, what the rules and regulations are at this point, and essentially where your company stands. Then allow your employees to express their knowledge, concerns, and comments with you to do research and devise a plan of action. Ensure that everyone can express themselves freely without judgment. If someone would prefer to talk in private, schedule time to do so.

Solutions And Facts

The next thing you should do is address the concerns your staff had. Review your meeting minutes to determine whether you can resolve the issues quickly or if you need to do research and consult the experts. List each concern in order of importance and begin tackling them as best you can. 

Whether you cite posts from reputable sites that offer tips on things like a job background check and COVID-19 vaccines or consult a medical professional to learn more about the types of vaccines, the idea is to gather as much information as you can. You want to have all the facts and reputable sources backing up your statements when you present your findings. 

Inform And Encourage

Now that you’ve done the necessary research on COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace, you’re ready to represent this information to your employees. It’s best to work with a human resources expert to determine the best way to draft and present the information so that everyone comprehends. 

Ensure that you provide them with all the details, be honest about what you don’t know, offer reasonable solutions, and show a list of reputable resources your team can use to learn more from experts. Finally, let your employees know that you’re willing to assist with their individualized problems, concerns, beliefs, or challenges (within reason). 

It’s a shame that the COVID-19 vaccines wouldn’t be a given for everyone. It would make your job as an employer a lot easier to manage. Although you may want your employees to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated, forcing it typically won’t produce the best results. The most efficient way to empower and encourage your team to get the coronavirus vaccine is to make them a part of the conversation. Get their opinions, answer their concerns, and then go to bat doing what you can to provide them with the information and resources they need to make the most informed decision.