5 tips to encourage employees to get the Covid vaccine

Not everyone is getting into line to get the Covid vaccines. There is a hesitancy amongst a particular segment of the population. Yet, it is essential to nudge and activel encourage your employees to get the Covid vaccine and alleviate their concerns. Here are some tips to help in your organisation’s vaccination efforts.

A recent study has thrown a spotlight on people’s hesitance to get the Covid vaccine. In the most extensive survey of its kind, in April 2020, the Delphi Group at Carnegie Mellon University, in partnership with Facebook, collected 18 million responses regarding people’s attitudes and behaviours surrounding the virus.

“The report highlights the specific challenges societies will face in encouraging people to get vaccinated. The study showed that adults who are vaccinated or are willing to be vaccinated have grown from 72 percent to 77 percent. However, the share of unvaccinated adults who are hesitant to get a vaccine has remained constant, at around 23 percent,” says a report in the Guardian.

Does any of this sound familiar? You may be facing similar barriers within your organisation. Some common refrains are, “I don’t plan to travel.” Or “My country has it under control.” Another worry could be, “I’ve heard the side effects can be severe, and so I’m waiting to see if it is safe.”

How do you overcome this reluctance and encourage employees to protect themselves and their loved ones?  We have a few simple suggestions for you.

Create a communication channel within the organisation

Make sure that all the essential details about the vaccination sign-up process are shared with your employees. How do I sign up? Where do I find information about the vaccination centres in my area? What are the vaccines approved in my country and what are the resultant side effects?  An open and transparent dialogue is the cornerstone of any change, and it is essential to communicate all the relevant facts in a steady cadence. Your organisation could use emails and internal newsletters or even address these concerns through a town hall dedicated to this purpose.

Ensure that your internal human resource department is up to date with the latest advisory from reliable resources and encourage employees to come in and have a chat with the designated person.

Focus on the science and the emotional narrative in your communication

A year of living with the virus has sent most of us into a mind-numbing indifference to the statistics about the virus. People are fed up hearing about death rates, mortality rates etc. While it is important to focus on the facts in your communication, ensure that you make some messaging personal.

For example, an employee could share a personal incident where a close friend or family member got sick with Covid and struggled with the recovery. An emotional connection is a much more powerful change agent rather than dry facts.

Give people time off in case of side effects

One of the key reasons that employees might hesitate is the side effects of the vaccines. Besides the concern of serious side effects, employees that earn a daily or hourly wage might dither overtaking the vaccines since it could mean a loss of income. It might be prudent to protect them from this loss of salary through a change in company policy. Think about it this way: a Covid case within the organisation could end up costing you far more than protecting an employee’s wage in the case of any side effects.

Make the vaccine mandatory for certain activities

Let your employees know that they need to take the vaccines for certain actions and activities. For example, you may choose to put unvaccinated employees in functions that do not require international travel.  It is likely that certain airlines may not allow travel unless the individual is vaccinated.

Set an example

Employees might follow your lead if the top brass in the company gets the vaccine first when eligible. This is why the political leaders in many countries have chosen to publicise images of themselves getting vaccinated. This gesture generates trust and encourages people to emulate their leaders.

In summary, vaccines are the only way to win the battle against the virus eventually. Effective employee communication goes a long way in helping to accomplish the goal of herd immunity by encouraging people to get vaccinated.

Will a vaccine become a mandatory requirement for job screening? Something to think about.

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