Creating Your COVID Vaccination Plan for Employees

The COVID-19 vaccine is finally here, and it’s left many employers with a long list of questions on how to navigate the situation. Having a well thought out plan in place for when vaccine distribution begins for the general public is important for both your employees and the reputation of your business. In our last blog post, we covered all of the basics of the COVID vaccine for employees. Now, we’ll dive into getting employees onboard and what you need to know for creating your own vaccination plan.

 

Encouraging Employees to Get the Vaccine

Whether you’re planning to make vaccinations mandatory or encouraged at your organization, getting employee buy-in is key. About 60% of Americans say they already plan to get the vaccine, leaving millions more who are still undecided. 18% of these undecided adults say they may get vaccinated once more information becomes available. So, what does that mean for your employee vaccination plan?

Sharing info with your employees is important. 18% of undecided U.S. adults say they would get the vaccine once more data becomes available.

Utilizing Your HR Team
This is where open communication becomes essential. Your company’s HR department can play a crucial role in delivering information on the vaccine and your company’s guidelines to employees. However, HR professionals must take care to do so in a way that keeps your organization in compliance. Some essentials for HR leaders surrounding vaccine distribution include:

  • Quick, consistent, factual and trustworthy information about COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Clear communication of all company guidelines, laid out in a way that employees can easily understand.
  •  Guidelines that are based upon federal and state regulations to ensure compliance. Check local guidelines before putting these together for your organization.

Providing Incentives
Making it easy for employees to get the vaccine or giving them incentives to do so can also be beneficial. Consider paying for time off and the expenses associated with getting the vaccine, offering extra PTO, giftcards or even a small bonus contingent on their vaccination records. Doing so is a great way to galvanize undecided employees and can be well worth it when it comes to bringing back a sense of normalcy to your workplace.

Social Influence
Another tactic that has proven to be effective time and time again is applying social pressure. When employees see peers or team members that they respect are willing to get vaccinated, it can gently nudge them to do so as well. Encourage employees who receive the vaccine to open up conversations about their experience, and create content such as testimonials, photos and other internal communication campaigns around it.

Remember to be kind and encouraging when it comes to using social influence, rather than forceful. It is important to let employees know they have a choice that they are free to make. Once a certain number of your workplace population has become vaccinated, you can use this as a reminder for those who haven’t. A simple email from HR stating,  “80% of employees have received their COVID-19 vaccine. Have you had a chance to get yours yet?” can do wonders.

 

Creating Your Organization’s Vaccine Strategy

Now that you know tactics to get employees’ buy-in, it’s time to start creating your actual plan of action. Follow these steps:

Determine Whether Vaccines are Mandatory or Encouraged for Your Organization
As we mentioned above, deciding whether COVID-19 vaccines are mandatory or encouraged at your organization is an important choice that will inform your entire vaccination plan. Looking to peers in your industry and gathering employee feedback are both great ways to inform your decision. It is important to note as well that a recent poll from Gartner surveyed 100 HR leaders and found that most plan to make vaccinations encouraged at their workplace.

When it comes to vaccination plans, most HR leaders say they will strongly encourage the vaccine, rather than mandating it.

Document & Implement Your Vaccine Policy
After you’ve decided what your company policy on vaccines will be, it needs to be documented. This is important so that members of your HR team are all on the same page and able to communicate the policy effectively with team members. If vaccines are mandatory, there may be religious exemptions or medical exemptions under the Americans with Disabilities Act, so be aware of the legal risks this may entail. We cover these exemptions in more detail here.

Also keep in mind that employee vaccinations cannot be distributed on the basis of position and must be equal opportunity for every employee on your team. Once your policy has been documented and solidified, share it with your HR team to communicate with employees. It’s also helpful to designate a go-to person as a resource for each department.

Prepare for Distribution & Tracking
Lastly, consider your plan for distribution and tracking. Will you give employees time-off to go offsite for their vaccination or provide it on-site at your workplace? Once a distribution plan has been approved and begins, you’ll also need a plan for handling the record keeping that comes along with it. You’ll need a way to keep track of insurance forms, exemption forms and most importantly, proof of vaccination records.

OnTask makes tracking proof of vaccinations and all of the other paperwork that comes along with an employee vaccination program simple. Stay tuned for the last blog in this series to learn more about how OnTask can help with COVID-19 tracking and paperwork.

Need help navigating how to develop a proof of vaccination program? Contact us.