On November 4th, the Biden administration announced details of two significant vaccination policies. Federal agencies, state departments, and large companies need to follow new rules.
For HR professionals, this means busy weeks and months ahead. Every private business employing 100 people needs to ensure its workforce is fully vaccinated or agrees to weekly COVID-19 testing. Those engaged or contracted by federal agencies will need to be fully vaccinated, most likely within weeks.
New technology can help HR departments around the country to do the job.
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What The Mandate Means for HR Professionals
HR teams are facing several different issues over the coming months.
– Information Gathering and Tracking
– The Great Resignation
– Legal Issues
– Communications and Procedures
Information Gathering and Tracking
Depending on the size of your workforce, gathering and tracking information can be a considerable challenge. HR teams will need to confirm who is opting for and who is opting against vaccination.
Among those opting out of vaccination, you may need to determine whether medical reasons prevent the person from becoming vaccinated now but make them a vaccination candidate later. It will also help you understand how many people your team needs to provide regular tests and record test results.
For those already vaccinated, it is essential to log and verify vaccination certificates. Tracking the vaccination date will become crucial for booster shots. It leaves people willing to be vaccinated who have not yet had an opportunity to get their jabs. For them, your team could consider offering on-site vaccination drives.
The Great Resignation
Some businesses have voiced their fears that vaccine mandates may lead to a wave of resignations. Combined with the current ‘Great Resignation,’ this may have caused problems for organizations. The vaccine mandate will help avoid these problems.
Companies like Tyson Foods, which decided to mandate vaccines before the federal government, avoided an exodus of staff. The meat processing giant mandated vaccines at the beginning of August when 50% of its workforce remained unvaccinated, and incentives stopped achieving the desired results. Since then, approximately 60,000 of the 120,000 strong teams have been vaccinated, leaving the company with a vaccination rate exceeding 96%.
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Once the OSHA standards are published, legal challenges are likely. Consequently, even if your organization is among those filing a challenge, you may still have to comply in the meantime.
At the same time, HR professionals need to monitor legal challenges to the mandate closely. Over time, some of them may lead to changes in the regulations the Biden administration is about to publish.
Communications and Procedures
Tyson Foods CEO Donnie King said it took “many, many thousands of individual conversations” to achieve a company-wide vaccination rate of more than 96%.
HR professionals need to prioritize employee communications to create trust at all levels of the company. Keeping employees informed about the company’s approach to the mandate and implementation plans will help convince many to be vaccinated.
At the same time, HR professionals need to start preparing procedures to help implement the mandate. While they may need to be refined once the mandate has been published, it is clear that they will include tracking requirements and testing.
How Technology Can Help
Gone are the days when large amounts of information were kept in spreadsheets on a single computer and perhaps distributed by email as an attachment. Using this type of technology would leave companies open to a wide variety of errors.
Platforms like the vaccination verification service from TrueCare™ make vaccination tracking simple.
They also allow employees to help with the process. As soon as an employee receives a vaccine certificate, they can upload it on their phone.
The HR team verifies the certificate, and the employee’s status changes automatically. The platform easily accommodates different locations and lets you see at a glance where additional vaccinations are required.
When your HR team chooses a technology partner, it is essential to team up with an organization that has a proven track record.
The information you are collecting is sensitive personal health data, and leadership teams and employees need to be sure that their data is safe. In addition, you need to choose a flexible platform to scale as the organization grows. As the virus develops, tracking requirements need to change regularly. Make sure your technology can adapt to those changes.
The Biden administration’s vaccine mandate is about keeping employees and their families, friends, and loved ones safe. While it will present a challenge to HR professionals around the country, technology can help make the implementation smooth and easy for the entire team.
Verify the vaccination status of the people in your organization and record any specific exemptions!
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