While most Australians are ready, willing and able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, there’s always going to be a minority unwilling to receive the vaccine.
In fact, a recent survey by the Sydney Morning Herald and research company Resolve Strategic found that one-third of Australian adults were unlikely to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
As we well know that vaccination is the key to returning to normal life in Australia, employers have an important role to play in encouraging their team to get vaccinated. Encouragingly, this may not be as difficult as it may seem at first.
- Open the lines of communication
Talk to your team! Address the subject of vaccination at team meetings, in weekly newsletters, across social media, even around the water cooler. Make it a topic of everyday conversation, with the question being: “When are you getting your jab?” rather than “Are you getting your jab?”
- Address employee concerns
Listen to concerns and feedback during conversations about the vaccine. What are the main misgivings around receiving the vaccine? If you and other team leaders feel unqualified to answer these queries and concerns, bring in a local expert to answer questions – a doctor or nurse, for instance. Arrange a webinar via Zoom!
Try to maintain positive messaging around vaccination, leading by example.
- Promote personal stories
Share your own experience of receiving the vaccine – how did it feel? What were the side effects? Why was it worth having? Encourage your employees to reflect on their personal “why”. For instance, I am having the vaccine because I want to travel again, because I want to visit my family in the UK, because I’m asthmatic and worry about contracting COVID, because I’ve lost family members to the virus, etc.
- Incentivise vaccinations
Many companies are offering their employees half a day of paid leave to get the vaccine, which employees are grateful for. You could do similar, or offer an extra days’ holiday once both vaccines have been received. You could reimburse travel costs to and from the vaccination, or provide gift cards for a pre- or post-vaccine meal. Small gestures mean a lot to employees.
With a few simple measures, vaccine-hesitant employees could well be encouraged to book their jab within days!