COVID Vaccine: How Can Organizations Encourage Employees To Get Inoculated


After living with the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year, HR professionals and business leaders are battling the vaccination challenge while ensuring a safe return to workplaces. Though the rollout of several vaccines has given a new hope, the transition will not be an easy one, if it happens at all.

It is very likely that employees and employers will not be on the same page regarding the vaccination. A New researchOpens a new window released today by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed while many organizations will encourage employees to get the COVID-19 shot, a significant number of workers will not get inoculated. Believe it or not, only 56% of respondents said that they would take the vaccine as soon as it is made available to them. A staggering number of 28% said that they would not get the vaccine even if it costs them their jobs.

Meanwhile, SHRM president and chief executive officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr, said, “Returning to the worksite once a vaccine became widely available was always going to be a complex effort, and the way organizations and employees handle questions about the vaccine will have a profound impact beyond the current public health crisis.”

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The Vaccine Hesitancy Is Quite High

A whopping 69% of surveyed employees confirmed they are not keen on taking the vaccine because of the possible side effects. Also, 41% do not trust the vaccines at all.

The study also noted that 58% of the respondents want to wait and see if they are safe and maybe take one later, while 40% feel that others need it more than they do right now.

It was noted that vaccine adoption would be higher if the federal government introduced monetary incentives (56%) or tax incentives (52%). The study also found 27% of employees are likely to take the vaccine if companies,  as a potential consequence, limit their ability to interact with customers or colleagues in person.

What will make employees take the vaccine: SHRM

With Vaccination, Organizations Will Still Face Troubles

Remote working benefits like saving commute time and staying close to families are likely to prompt employees to continue working from home even after the vaccines are made available for everyone. The study noted that 52% of respondents said they like to work from home permanently, if given an option.

As many as 35% of surveyed employees are likely to take salary deductions ranging from five to 20 per cent in lieu of working from home permanently.

How much salary employees are likely to forgo for working from home: SHRM

There’s also a dimming enthusiasm in organizations when it comes to implementing the vaccine mandate. Presently, 60% of the surveyed companies stated they would not mandate vaccination as a condition for returning to the workplace, compared to 40% of organizations before. Also, only 5% need some or all employees to receive the shot before returning to work.

However, more organizations intend to recommend their workers to get vaccinated now. 74% companies now recommend their workers to get vaccinated, compared to 40% before. Big organizations are also likely to push for vaccination more than the smaller ones.

Encouraging Employees To Take the Vaccine

Companies should not arm-twist their employees to get vaccinated. Instead, providing some incentives can be an effective way to get the workforce vaccinated. Almost one-quarter of employees are likely to get vaccinated, or at least consider it, if offered cash bonuses or stipends.

Unfortunately, 88% of companies have no plans to offer or they are unsure about any incentive to encourage vaccination.

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Going the Tech Way

There are some vaccine management solutions HRs can adopt to track and monitor. While Cloud-based vaccine management solutions help distribute vaccines to on-site and remote workers and monitor their health after receiving them, Blockchain technology actually provides real-time visibility into vaccine distribution.

However, various privacy issues have been cited with such apps and HR should have clear policies around the usage and governance of  employee data collected while deploying these apps.