United Airlines chief executive officer Scott Kirby is on a media tour extolling the success of its mandatory vaccination policy, which in just seven weeks has resulted in the vaccination of 99.7% of its 67,000 U.S. employees. As for the remaining 232 employees, the termination process has begun.
United’s approach is decisive and firm and brings the airline in compliance with President Biden’s executive order requiring vaccination or weekly COVID-19 testing at US businesses with 100-plus employees. These federal requirements have been met with conflicting state-level requirements in Texas, Montana, and 10 others, banning vaccination mandates and leaving businesses in what some perceive as a catch-22. Most large businesses, however, have taken the position that federal law supersedes state and local laws, and mandates will continue to be upheld by the courts as they have been for over a hundred years.
As organizations plan for various phases of reopening or support those employees that never left, leaders and executives will need to decide on what degree of vaccination mandate makes sense for them. Whether it’s the carrot (financial and/or time-off incentives) that companies like Walmart, ALDI, Chobani are offering, the stick (unpaid leave or termination) that businesses such as Kaiser Permanente, Novant Health, and United Airlines are employing, or something in between, the key vaccination mandate conundrum is to MAKE A DECISION, because failing to do so constitutes a risk in itself!
In our latest research, The Business Case For Vaccination Mandates, we explore the risks and considerations of both action and inaction on vaccine mandates in your 2022 back-to-office planning. The key is understanding that any decision you make is bound to elicit a positive reaction, even relief, in some and enrage others — and comes with a myriad of risks to operations, employee morale, brand reputation, and customer-values alignment. Ultimately, mandates will continue to be a hot-button issue, and this report provides guidance for making the decision that’s best for your firm, which requires you to:
The original article by Forrester's senior analyst Alla Valente and vice-president and principal analyst JP Gownder is here.
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