Vaccinations Are Here! – What You Need to Know to Drive Your Business

Vaccinations Are Here!  – What You Need to Know to Drive Your Business

Welcome to our second post in the series on Common Sense People Management for Small to Medium Businesses

Return to “normal” planning

As we write, the pace of vaccinations is accelerating and some optimism is returning but new infections and hospitalizations are starting to creep upwards making “return-to-normal” planning more complex.  The key message is that despite near universal COVID-weariness, this is not over yet.  So, let’s address some key management planning principles.

  • Keep your options open as long as possible.  The states are in the process of lifting restrictions, but we urge caution.  In this changeable environment, by not committing to a specific set of actions or a particular operating environment, business owners can avoid creating unrealistic expectations and/or disappointing employees and customers.  You will never have perfect information you need but wait until you have enough to confidently implement your plans.  Think through various “what if” scenarios and pull the trigger on the best fit solution when the time comes.
  • Are your front-line managers prepared to lead?  If your business depends on front line managers for day-to-day supervision, evaluate if they have the tools, knowledge, and mindset to lead in the new environment?  If not, what are they missing and how do you “skill” them up to be prepared? For example, several of the major global consultancies are urging their clients to adopt more flexible people management practices.
  • What Google (or Amazon or Facebook, etc.) does may not be the right answer for your business.  Many of the technology giants have declared permanent partial or full remote work.  That may or may not be right for your business.  And remember, the tech giants generally have a vested financial interest in promoting more and more use of technology solutions.
  • Managing a Hybrid workplace is more complex than seems on the surface.  While we will devote an entire post to “Hybridity”, a few comments are appropriate here.  A hybrid workplace can seem attractive on many levels.  It can allow a business to reduce its real estate costs and lower its carbon footprint.  But having your team in the same place at the same time (co-location) delivers smoother coordination, informal networking, and greater face to face collaboration.  Power and influence will be affected by one’s skill and comfort level in navigating a hybrid work environment.
  • Every business has a culture – what do you want yours to feel like as you go forward?  Even if you have never thought about, your business has a culture.  The smaller the business, the more likely the culture is a direct reflection of the owner(s).  What values or operating principles do you want your people to embrace in the new normal?

We close this post with a few critical Q’s & A’s about vaccinations:

Q:  Can employers require employees to get vaccinated?

A:   Generally, yes.  According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance from December 2020, employers may enforce this requirement since a vaccination is not considered a medical examination.  However, the EEOC went on to say that employers must include a procedure for employees to request an exemption or a reasonable accommodation.

Q:  What should an employer consider when deciding about mandated vaccinations?

A:  First, employers need to ensure they are following federal, state, and local guidelines on vaccinations.  This will help identify what you can do and what you cannot.  Beyond this, the nature of the business is a determining factor.  For example, childcare operations may determine that vaccinations are mandatory due to the increased risk of exposure.   On the other hand, if you are a distributor or a transportation company with no direct customer contact, vaccinations are likely to be a lower priority.

Q:  Do I need a vaccination policy?

A:  We believe the answer is yes.  Your policy should clearly explain whether you require or encourage vaccinations.  If you elect to mandate vaccinations, you should state the reasons why.  Depending on the nature of your business, protecting fellow employees and customers is a reasonable example.

Q:  What is a reasonable accommodation if one is needed?

A:  A reasonable accommodation may include some or all of the following actions:  remote work, an isolated working arrangement, continued masking coupled with social distancing in the work environment.   However, remember, an employer may not be required to provide an accommodation if doing so creates an undue hardship.  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) an undue hardship will cause the employer significant difficulty or expense.   This is a tricky area and employers need to consider each accommodation request on the unique facts and circumstances as well as the particular job and workplace.

Disclaimer:  We are not lawyers and the information provided in this and future posts should not be considered legal advice.  We urge you to consult with your attorney before taking any actions that could expose you and your business to legal actions – however, well-intended those actions may be.

Ken brings more than 40 years of Human Resources and line executive and practitioner experience to his client relationships.  In addition to the United States, he has lived and worked across multiple industries in 6 countries (5 in Asia and 1 in Europe).   As a consequence, there are very few situations that he has not previously navigated with his clients. 

Ken is widely acknowledged for quickly establishing trust and critical thought partnership.  This essential trust is attained through his naturally engaging style, a focus on practical solutions, and the use of some well-timed humor.  After all, at times, coaching conversations can be challenging.  As an exceptionally good listener, Ken demonstrates vulnerability with his clients and expects the same, in return. While he tries to make the coaching process a pleasant experience, there is business to be done and Ken partners with clients to keep a laser focus on progressing through the cycle.   

His coaching assignments typically involve the use of a proprietary 360 tool that delivers a comprehensive and holistic view of how the client enables or inhibits organizational results.  An underlying premise is that the specific context in which the client operates matters.  This tool and the subsequent discussion about the results yields a specific and attainable set of objectives that Ken and the client partner to achieve.

While Ken has worked with many different kinds of functional leaders, he has a particular passion for helping HR practitioners who are committed to increasing their organizational influence and impact. As a consummate networker, he can draw on resources and solutions literally from around the planet.

Ken earned a BA in English Literature and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives with his spouse and their 11-year-old puppy in Bloomfield, CT.  Time zones and travel (when COVID is better controlled) are routine challenges that are easily overcome.

Ken has helped executives and their teams by:

  • Coaching leaders and managers on soft skills e.g., empathy, active listening, emotional intelligence to improve their effectiveness and focus on personal growth.
  • Working with managers to develop stronger prioritization and delegation skills and habits to reduce stress and attain greater work/life balance.
  • Coaching executives on communication style and presentation skills to build their reputations and enhance career growth.
  • Working with women leaders to enhance their executive presence and overcome the challenges associated with the Imposter Syndrome. Text Box: Contact Ken at ken@somershrsolutions.com or by phone at +1 508-507-1207 to explore how he can help your HR and business leaders create greater value for your organization.  Visit his website at https://somershrsolutions.com
  • Developing leadership team cohesiveness to drive business growth and agility.
  • Leading strategic offsites to align & motivate executives and to develop plans to respond to challenging business realities.

Comp360, LLC is a trusted advisor and partner to dynamic organizations in need of pragmatic and problem-solving guidance on Total Rewards programming that will enable attraction and retention of a talented and stable workforce.

Marc Kroll, Comp360’s owner, is a compensation consultant seasoned in the design, formulation and implementation of total reward strategies and variable pay plans across multiple industries, including service and manufacturing environments.

He has engaged and collaborated with executive management and employee teams to drive consensus on a variety of pay, benefits and performance challenges. These have ranged from compensation strategy formulation to full-scale implementation of business-based rewards programs, inclusive of sales, management and executive pay and benefits.

His career spans four decades during which he has led compensation groups both for corporate entities as well as privately held organizations. This experience and expertise enable him to assist a variety of clients with a wide range of operational challenges and work cultures.

Experienced in both profit and non-profit sectors, Mr. Kroll brings a broad perspective and in-depth knowledge to clients as they determine their pay and benefits vision and tactics.

Mr. Kroll has also served on the faculty of the Fairfield University (Dolan School of Management) as an adjunct instructor teaching performance management and compensation. He is also Assistant Chair of the Pension Committee for the Town of Woodbury, Connecticut.

Although Comp360’s focus is Total Reward Program design and delivery, we also offer:

  • Benefits Benchmarking
  • Performance Management Integration with Compensation
  • Focus Group Design and Execution
  • Communication Strategy and Training for program rollout

Contact Marc at mgkroll@earthlink.net or by phone at 203-228-0239 to learn more about how Comp360 can help your organization increase return on your Total Rewards investment.

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