Communication essentials: your vaccine policy

The picture around vaccination policies is starting to get a little clearer. Consider the numbers:

  • 65% of employers will offer incentives to vaccinated employees.
  • 63% of employers will require proof of vaccination.
  • 44% of companies will require employees to be vaccinated.

These numbers are from a very recent survey conducted by Arizona State University with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. You can read more about the report in this article from CNBC.

So, given that context … what is your vaccine policy? Are you like I was and are going to move forward without one?

“Wait…did you say ‘was’?” Yes, I did.

Why? Because earlier this week I listened to the ‘Build a Better Agency’ podcast from Drew McLellan. And in that podcast he tackled vaccine policies. In fact, he got right to the point and said in the first few minutes that if you take one thing away from the podcast it’s that “you cannot, not have a vaccine policy.”

Despite the podcast being for agency owners, I would highly recommend you listen to it for one reason: Drew completely shifts the thinking around policy.

He successfully makes the point that by design or by action, your company already has a vaccine policy. The “aha” moment, for me. You don’t have a policy? That’s your policy. But you still need to take the time to formalize it. Otherwise, and shame on me for not realizing this myself, your employees will fill the vacuum and create the policy with their own opinions and perspectives.

Drew talks about the three options you have for a policy: require, encourage or ignore. In my case, even if you ignore, if you truly don’t want to require employees to get vaccinated, it’s important that you have a policy to reinforce that.

I’m not going to repeat everything Drew says because he will say it better than I could ever summarize, but trust me, the listen is well worth your time. In his podcast he also covers:

(Note: If you listen, just skip to the official start at the 8:20 mark)

  • Language and legality around requiring and encouraging a vaccine.
  • The right way to communicate any policy to your audiences.
  • Considerations you may not have been thinking about when it comes to loopholes (if you require a vaccine).
  • Walking the walk.

As we have talked about so many times, it is leadership’s responsibility to own communication. A vaccine policy falls squarely in the middle of that responsibility. I hope you have time to listen and you find it as helpful as I did.