I’m here with insights for Australian businesses on 7th October 2021
In this briefing I discuss:
- Team members who are apprehensive about getting vaccinated
- Team members who object to getting vaccinated
- Options if an employee remains unvaccinated
Firstly, a bit of perspective:
Victoria is currently at 55% full vaccination, NSW at 70% and Australia at 60%.
The NSW government announced yesterday that the restrictions on unvaccinated people will be lifted from 1st December.
The Victorian government has been more conservative throughout this pandemic so I think there is a fair expectation that Victoria will likely follow suit sometime in January or February 2022.
However, mandatory vaccination may still apply in certain industries (such as healthcare) and may still be required by certain organisations (for example, BHP announced that all of their workforce will be required to be vaccinated to attend any company office or facility).
My point is that the Vic government’s mandatory vaccination requirement may be eased in the next few months.
While many people feel comfortable getting vaccinated there are some people who are apprehensive about the vaccine and others who are steadfast in their decision not to be vaccinated.
If your own beliefs are that vaccination is a good option for you, it can be easy to discount the views of people who don’t want to be vaccinated.
Please keep an open mind to their views; they may have real reasons for holding these views. Just as you would be tolerant of someone who had different political beliefs or religious beliefs, please be tolerant and empathetic with everyone’s views on vaccination; pro, hesitant or anti.
At this time, as leaders we want to pull our team together as much as possible. This means accepting that people have different views and working around everyone’s beliefs as much as possible.
The Tenfold business coaches offer the following advice to support business owners to have constructive, positive conversations with your team members:
How to support team members who are apprehensive about getting vaccinated
- Talk with people on your team who are apprehensive about getting vaccinated;
- Listen to their concerns and help them feel heard and be empathetic;
- As part of your discussion, explain to them the implications of the vaccination mandate to their role in your business.
How to support team members who object to getting vaccinated
Some people have taken offense at the government “telling them what to do”, and they may feel it’s a matter of principal to object to getting vaccinated.
Again, be impartial and empathise with their perspective. However, point to the government decision that effectively limits or removes your ability to have them attend the workplace or sites while the mandatory vaccination direction remains in place.
Options if an employee remain unvaccinated
Work out a plan by which they can effectively sit on the sidelines until there is an opportunity when they can return to work. This might involve leave without pay and possibly include a mix of annual leave.
There may be instances where an employee’s unwillingness to follow a reasonable and lawful direction might prompt you to consider terminating their employment. Please discuss this with your coach so we can ensure you have access to the best advice in this untested Fair Work area. At Tenfold we have access to specialist lawyers who can direct you on the best process to follow to minimise the risk to your business.
As I have outlined in recent briefings, recruiting new staff is particularly challenging at this time and will continue to be into 2022, so do your best to maintain positive relationships with all of your team (whatever their beliefs). If they do decide to go on leave without pay, retain a link with them so it’s easier to bring them back on board when the time comes.
Your role as the leader of your business
Everyone in Vic and NSW is tired of the lockdowns and people’s patience is wearing thin. Be patient and give your team members a bit more latitude. Work toward plans to get as many on your team vaccinated or plans to see those unvaccinated return to the business in 2022.
Ashley Thomson B.Eng. (Hons), Grad. Dip. Mgmt, MEI
Tenfold Business Coaching