Feel Prepared for Future COVID-19 Mandates with These 3 Compliance Tips

December 15, 2021 by Verified First

Feel Prepared for Future COVID-19 Mandates with These 3 Compliance Tips

New York City enacted a new mandate that is projected to affect roughly 184,000 businesses and around 3.7 million workers. Mayor Bill de Blasio is requiring all private business employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, effective December 27th. While this mandate was imposed to reduce the number of cases, it could also present legal challenges, leaving HR professionals throughout the nation with a prominent question: How can I prepare for future COVID-19 mandate compliance?

While NYC is currently the only city with a confirmed mandate, a national survey found that required workplace vaccinations should be expected in the near future. We want to help HR professionals compose an integration strategy that works for their organization. That's why we’ve composed a list of conversation-based tips to address with employees about COVID-19 mandates.

Offer Open Communication

The HR profession has undergone a shift in focus since the start of the pandemic. While still rooted in managing people, there’s now a strong focus on nurturing employee well-being. According to Forbes, HR professionals should take a holistic approach to promoting health. This includes expanding workplace incentives to mental health initiatives, nutrition information, and other facets of employee/staff personal life. 

This holistic approach is crucial to managing COVID-19 mandates. It shows that employees want to know how this new mandate will not only affect their work, but what it means for other aspects of their lives as well. When enforcing the mandate, consider offering open communication to your employees and staff. Some ways of fostering these conversations include:

  • Town hall meetings - Chances are that your employees and staff have similar questions that pertain to COVID-19 workplace mandates. Set aside time and space for those questions. Fostering group communication will inspire a sense of workplace community where each person can be heard.
  • One-on-ones - Because of the personal nature of COVID-19 vaccines, some employees/staff might not be comfortable talking about vaccinations in large groups. Let your people know that you can go over the details of the mandate with them one-on-one. This small group setting is likely to make the team member more comfortable when talking about such a sensitive subject.
  • Open door policy - Once a mandate goes into effect, employees/staff are going to have lingering questions in the weeks after. Set specific times that your people can come to you with questions. This can be accomplished in-office or even remotely through video sessions. By having an open door policy, you’re signaling to your employees/staff that their concerns are important and that you as a workplace leader value their well-being. 

Stay Up-to-Date

Especially with the changing COVID-19 variants, mandates are constantly evolving to maintain safety practices. Each state decides their own practice. Some states, like New York, are already working toward establishing mandates while others, like Texas, currently preempts localities from COVID-19 mandates. It’s important to pay attention to the conversation around mandates in your state so you can have accurate information to share with employees.

You can start by:

  • Being aware of incentives for employees - Some organizations offer incentives to their people for being vaccinated. Ensure you know the accurate information on your workplace’s process for incentives and how a mandate could play into these tactics.
  • Checking local government websites - Official COVID-19 websites are your best bet for accurate information in each state. This information is usually updated regularly, so it will reflect the most current mandates. This is especially important for businesses that require travel. Be aware of the city and state mandates of employee/staff travel areas in order to compliantly prepare them for their work trip.
  • Keep track of vaccination statuses - A good way to prepare for COVID-19 vaccination mandates is to start tracking vaccination statuses now. Ask your employees/staff in confidence if they’ve been vaccinated and if they can provide proof of vaccination. By doing so, you’ll have a head start on your organization’s vaccination status data to use for mandate compliance. 
  • Joining conversations on HR compliance topics - Many great resources have emerged from the need to navigate today’s changing workforce — our HR at the Table webinar series included. Attend one of our webinars with expert guests on a broad range of HR topics such as compliance tactics and other HR and Talent Acquisition challenges.

Remind Employees of Their Options

Like everything else with COVID-19, there isn’t a clear ruling on the scope of these mandates. One element that remains a prominent point of conversation is exemptions for religious and/or medical reasons. Those that fall into the two categories could have the ability to forgo the vaccine and still maintain compliance. 

Ensure that your employees know their health matters and religious beliefs will be considered. In fact, some mandates may even have options for those not able to be vaccinated such as undergoing weekly testing. Whatever the case may be, there will most likely be options that you can help employees navigate in order to stay compliant with the mandate.

In Conclusion

As a company that specializes in HR technology needs, we understand that HR professionals have a lot on their plate. Changing mandates add to a long list of other professional strains brought about by COVID-19. Rest assured that there are ways to prepare for possible changes to your workplace. Check out our thought leadership resources and join the conversation on supporting your employees or volunteers. By collaborating with other professionals, you can find the best way to maintain compliance in your organizations.

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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