To encourage … or to require? A new survey by the Institute
for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that employers are far more comfortable
with encouraging (68%) employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s
widely available than they are requiring inoculation (5%).
Having settled on encouragement, organizations have answered
a core question. But that opens another: How to encourage?
Providing employees with information about the vaccine and
its merits is the leading strategy companies report that they are already deploying
(and plan to continue) to promote vaccination.
The other top tactic for encouraging vaccination among a
half-dozen asked about in the survey is clearly linking vaccination to
employee well-being programs.
Almost three in 10 respondents—29%—said that connecting
vaccination to workforce well-being programs is a strategy they’ve already implemented
or plan to; another 51% said their
organizations are considering it.
Well-being programs can strengthen outcomes
For much of the past year, i4cp has explored workforce
well-being and organizations’ efforts to optimize it. Our research has bridged
pre-and-post-COVID timeframes (Next
Practices in Holistic Well-Being: The Performance Advantage and Before and After: Effects of
the Pandemic on Workforce Well-Being and Employer Healthcare Plans),
and we’ve published many case studies, articles, infographics, and blogs on
specific well-being topics.
Consistently, our findings reveal that companies with
effective well-being programs report healthier employees, stronger workplace
cultures, lower benefits costs, higher levels of workforce engagement, and many
other outcomes that drive better business results, individual productivity, and
Including efforts to encourage and facilitate vaccinations
under the umbrella of employee well-being makes sense and stands to strengthen
outcomes in multiple ways. A few examples:
- Accountability. Well-being programming
typically falls under the responsibilities of Total Rewards, HR, or other senior
talent leaders who provide oversight and are accountable for producing agreed-on
results. Those same leaders can help create and guide vaccination programs or
encouragement campaigns for organizations.
- Consistency. Companies’ well-being
programs are structured around formal policies that ensure consistency in
program content, implementation, eligibility, communication, and other factors.
That structure can provide the same consistency in vaccination-related efforts.
- Senior-leader support and role-models. i4cp
research identified active program participation and support by senior leaders as
important contributors to success in organizational well-being programs.
Applying similar leader behaviors to encourage employees to get COVID-19
vaccinations is likely to bolster that strategy as well.
- Credibility. For various reasons, many
people are distrustful of COVID-19 vaccinations (or even vaccinations in
general). Linking vaccination efforts to established and accepted
organizational well-being programs can add credibility that helps overcome
resistance and gain vaccination buy-in.
- Resources – Linking vaccination campaigns
to employee well-being programs can open access to resources that range from
experienced well-being professionals, to proven communications strategies, to
educational materials (about such things as flu vaccines) that can be quickly
adapted to answer questions and alleviate fears about vaccines. Not only can
that linkage heighten efficiency and speed timelines, it can save costs, too
(production time for communication materials, staff time to create new
items/procedures vs simply adapting what is already on hand, etc.).
Obviously, tapping into an organization’s existing
well-being programs and the know-how of the experienced professionals who
design, deploy, and manage them can provide a powerful shot in the arm (pun
intended!) for campaigns to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.
One in four business leaders i4cp surveyed confirmed that
they are already adapting their current well-being materials or plan to, and
about one in five said they are or will press organizational leaders into
service as role models or advocates for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Read more about the role of company leaders in encouraging
vaccinations in Getting Personal About the COVID-19 Vaccination: How Leaders Make a Difference.