How To Implement A Company Vaccine Policy On Your Construction Site
On any construction site, the safety and security of workers are a top priority. Companies work hard to comply with safety measures, including protective gear, extensive training, and data-driven compliance measures. In 2021, this safety and security include combating COVID-19.
Many companies have implemented PPE (personal protective equipment) protocols for employees and other site visitors. Masks, social distancing, and hand-washing practices are standard operating procedures at this point. But does it go far enough?
Vaccinations against COVID-19 are now widely available, and many people have already gotten vaccinated. Having vaccinated employees on-site can only improve the efficacy of a project. But how can leaders and managers go about facilitating this measure?
Normalize vaccinations as a safety measure
On a construction site, safety is paramount. Communicate about vaccinations as if they are a crucial piece of that safety, which they are. A team that is hit hard by a virus such as COVID-19, with its symptoms, quarantine requirements, potential hospitalization, after effects, and contagion possibility will not be able to complete projects and assignments in any sort of timely manner. Treat vaccinations as if they were as crucial as headgear or safety goggles, and communicate that importance to team members.
Consider requiring vaccination for new hires as well. Anyone looking for employment should understand the need for everyone to be properly vaccinated.
Provide education regarding the vaccine
In our “information age,” there are many opinions regarding vaccines. Provide employees with science and data-driven resources, pointing to the vaccine as safe and effective. Avoid controversial sites, videos, and other emotionally charged materials. The Centers for Disease Control website is a reliable and factual tool for providing information.
Have resources available
There are many ways to find out where vaccinations are available. The CDC’s Vaccine Finder tool is one way to give employees the information they need. This tool includes accurate and up-to-date information about pharmacies, clinics, and health departments in the user’s area, including whether the vaccine is “in stock” at a certain provider or not.
Track Employee Vaccinations
Using management tools such as those INDUS.AI provides, employers can track employee vaccinations. QR codes, quick surveys, and other employee-facing tools can make this process easy and accessible for any employee using a smartphone. Team leaders can then use this information to place members in teams and on job sites.
Many industries and companies are using public-facing dashboards to track COVID cases (anonymously, of course); consider using this same framework to track vaccinations. Seeing the numbers of those vaccinated will be reassuring to employees and customers alike.
Bring vaccines to them
Employees may struggle with the logistics involved in getting a vaccine. Finding a provider, taking time off, physically getting to the provider (transportation)—all of these may be deterrents. Consider working with area health care providers and public health departments to set up a mobile on-site vaccination clinic for your employees and their families. Including families in the clinic may boost morale among employees too.
Provide incentives and follow-up care
Ensuring the safety and care of all team members and their families should be important to every company employee. Building a system that acknowledges and incentivizes that care communicates value for all employees, and creates an environment of security. Put measures in place to reward compliance, for both the individual and the team.
Also, remember that the vaccine does carry with it a small chance of after-effects: those receiving the vaccine may experience flu-like symptoms for a couple of days, requiring them to be at home. It’s possible that the idea of taking time off to recover may be a deterrent to getting vaccinated for some. Be clear in up-front communication that employees will not be penalized for needing to rest and recuperate post-vaccine.
Empathy is key
Many industries are providing professional training that includes “empathy” training. What does this mean? In summary, it means that team leaders and managers seek to understand employee and customer emotions on a particularly relevant topic; in this case, the wide variety of opinions and feelings about the COVID-19 vaccine.
It is no secret that this issue is highly controversial, and employers may find that their teams are made up of people with widely varying opinions. In implementing a company-wide vaccination policy, it is important that leaders recognize this fact and seek to communicate effectively with those who may resist a company vaccination mandate. Many people are somewhat frightened by certain aspects of this subject; it’s important for leaders to continually point back to factual science, remaining outside of any controversial fray, while maintaining a position of understanding and empathy.
Be empathetic yet firm
If your company has decided to implement a vaccination policy, it is crucial to follow through with the parameters you have decided to put in place. As important as it is for employees to experience empathy from leaders and managers, it is equally essential for them to understand the requirements. Provide clear communication about expectations, including timelines, deadlines, and other required policies and procedures put in place.
Ultimately, the issue is this: having fully vaccinated employees and families helps ensure the effectiveness of any company. When employees feel safe and cared for, their productivity will increase along with loyalty to the company. When the company provides access to that safety and care, employees and customers alike will be motivated to return again and again, continually allowing the company to build a culture of success—in spite of COVID-19.