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Leon Kaye headshot

Vaccine Mandates: An Employee Engagement Tool?

By Leon Kaye
vaccine mandates

A recent poll suggests vaccine mandates could be one way for employers to score engagement and loyalty from employees, which over the past year has appeared to be in short supply.

It’s no secret that the ongoing “Great Reset” has many employees looking elsewhere. Others have quit and are holding out for a better paying job, because as we’ve seen what’s been unfolding across the service industries, better opportunities await. After all, many workers were told in early 2020 that the pandemic could result in a new way of work in which many of their jobs may not exist after we emerge from the pandemic, so many retrained or took online courses to “up-skill.”

Further, the delta coronavirus variant has made many employees skittish about returning to the store, warehouse or office. Add the “Great Rudeness” that predated the “Great Reset” — and in fact, the awful behavior has even become worse — and it is no wonder that many workers’ eyes are wandering elsewhere and away from their current tasks at hand.

There is no panacea for managers who are awake at night and during the day are scrambling to ensure the employees they have recruited will be retained. Nevertheless, a recent survey from The Harris Poll and Fast Company reveal that vaccine mandates won’t make things within companies more turbulent — if anything, such policies could be a net positive.

According to the survey, almost half (47 percent) of U.S. adults who participate in the labor force (as in the employed, unemployed and students), said they would be more open to accept a job offer from a company if it deployed a vaccine mandate. Less than a third (29 percent) indicated they would be less likely to accept that job offer.

Workers in the northeastern U.S. were more supportive of vaccine mandates by more than a 2-to-1 margin. While workers polled across the rest of the U.S. were overall less supportive, throughout the country those in favor of such policies outpolled those who said they are against vaccine mandates in the workplace.

People of color were more encouraged by such a workplace policy compared to whites. Men were more supportive of vaccine mandates than women, though women who were in favor of such a policy were looking at the big picture: 60 percent of women (as compared to 54 percent of men) believed vaccine mandates in the workplace were important to end the pandemic; more women than men (52 to 43 percent) said vaccinations to prevent illness from COVID-19 should be a universal requirement.

And what were the largest drivers of vaccine mandates at work? Almost 60 percent mentioned that more comfort with interacting with their co-workers, along with a greater sense of personal safety, were the deciding factors in favor of such policies. Bottom line, more than half (52 percent) agreed with this statement: “employers that mandate COVID-19 vaccination care about their employees.”

Whether or not companies just don’t care is the reality or only a perception, truth be told, it’s out there. One human resources consultancy poll recently concluded that only half of America’s workers feel as if their companies treat them fairly.

In fairness, there is only so much a company can do to prevent its employees from eyeing the exit door; but this Harris Poll and Fast Company survey concludes that ensuring workers are safe once they walk through the entrance doors is at a very minimum a start toward strengthening trust.

Image credit: Mufid Majnun via Unsplash

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye