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Vaccine Mandate Contingency Planning

If you are a company of more than 100 employees and have a workforce that is, in any significant part, unlikely to get vaccinated, you need to start contingency planning now. Most likely to be impacted are skilled and unskilled jobs in the rural manufacturing space, where vaccination rates are the lowest. But no matter where you are, actions to consider immediately include:

  • First and foremost is communication. Every one of your employees knows about the mandate and they are certainly wondering and discussing what they think you are going to do about it. The longer you wait to communicate the more spin gets added to the dialog. You can be sure that there are already employees looking for jobs at smaller employers that will not have to comply.
  • Determine the most employee friendly process for weekly testing. Is it possible to hire a nurse practitioner to administer tests at your business? This way, employees who will not, or cannot get vaccinated do not have to drive to another facility, mitigating frustration and non-compliance.
  • Determine to what extent you are at risk with your workforce. Who and how many people are unlikely to get vaccinated that are not exempt? This goes for your senior management team all the way down the chain. Don’t assume your leadership will automatically comply, and if some leadership will not, you will need to plan around the resulting impact on the team(s) they lead.
  • Are you going to use positive incentives to get more folks vaccinated? I have seen leadership announce bonuses to incent their general workforce to get vaccinated, but how about senior leaders? Larger bonuses? And no matter the amount offered, will you pay the bonus to everyone who got vaccinated since the start of the pandemic? Figure out the dollar numbers that will work and get it budgeted and announced.
  • Pay attention to the mandate guidelines daily, watching for any change in compliance guidance to ensure that you do not get surprised.

These are indeed crazy times, but like all times, flexibility and accommodation are required to generate the best outcomes, and if you lead through this period proactively you will be one of the businesses least impacted.