John O'Connor
John O’Connor

To vaccinate staff or not to vaccinate staff? That is the question.

A few senior living operators likely will steer clear of this pandemic-inspired matter. But most soon will need to confront the issue, one way or the other.

Which in many communities likely will give rise to another important question: How best to get staff buy-in?

Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently noted that mandates can be put in place, this option is pretty heavy-handed. It’s the kind of requirement that just might inspire many workers to seek employment elsewhere.

Instead, what we are likely to see in this sector is more nudging than shoving.  By that, I mean that many workers will be strongly urged to get inoculated against COVID 19 — but not required to do so.

As for how to, ahem, move the needle, employers in other sectors have found one surefire solution: offer money and/or other incentives.

Grocers such as Aldi, Kroger and Trader Joe’s are leading the way. They are joined by retailers such as Target and fast food franchises such as McDonald’s. Sweeteners these firms promise typically provide include paid time off, flexible scheduling and vaccine cost coverage.

One nice thing about going the incentive route is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be cost-prohibitive.  A recent study by Blackhawk Network found that a third of all employees would complete the vaccination process for $100 or less.

“Incentives are powerful tools for driving desired behaviors,” said Jeff Haughton, a spokesman for the firm, which specializes in branded payment programs. “The key for businesses looking to increase vaccination rates and support public health will be ensuring they are offering incentives their target audiences find most valuable and attractive,” he added.

Moreover, they might be just what your community needs to give vaccination rates a shot in the arm.

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