How to communicate to your employees about mandatory vaccinations  

 

For more than a million of Victoria’s authorised providers and authorised workers (APAW), it’s now mandatory to get vaccinated in a push to drive down COVID cases before the state’s reopening.  

The types of workers impacted range from education providers through to employees at financial institutions, supermarkets, hair salons and health care settings. It’s a very long list and those on it will need to have their first dose of the vaccine by 15 October and the second by 26 November.  

 This is a challenging time for many employers and business owners, with a lot of information to make sense of and lingering uncertainty about the legal, HR and broader business implications.  

How you communicate – to your employees, your clients and customers, your members, your communities – is more important than ever. It’s up to you to make the complex simple and to keep those who matter most to you both informed and reassured.   

 To help you, here are our top tips for how to communicate at a time when the situation isn’t always clear, and you might not have all the answers.   

  1. Take an informed position – If you have data or insights about your employees or members’ feelings or intentions about COVID vaccinations, then use them. If you don’t, consider sending out a quick, neutral, confidential survey to gauge baseline data. If you send out communications without doing this, you run the risk of basing your communications on false assumptions or reacting to a vocal minority. 
  2. Stick to the facts – With misinformation and opinions floating around everywhere, it’s vital that you communicate the facts drawn from credible sources, such as relevant COVID-related and industry-specific information on government websites.  
  3. Keep it simple and targeted – Each one of us has COVID information coming at us from every direction. The best way for you to cut through is to share only the information your employees or members need to know about and to make it as easy as possible for them to access and understand it. Use the insights you’ve gathered in Tip 1 to inform, tailor and target your messages.  
  4. Default to the experts – You don’t need to have all the answers to questions about the legal, HR and reputational implications for your business and your employees. Find the right experts to partner with, to help you shape an informed and sound position. 
  5. Get the tone right – This can be a divisive issue which may provoke strong emotional reactions from some employees. Don’t turn up the heat with your responses. Aim for a calm and neutral tone to your communications. Show empathy to those who may have a view that differs to yours or the health orders. Remember people’s reactions may be based on reasonable and rationale concerns, so be open to listening 
  6. Keep the conversation going – As Victoria reopens and we learn to live with COVID, there will be more public health directives and operational changes that will impact your employees or members and you’ll need to continue to engage with them. Build up your internal processes and capability to keep your stakeholders well-informed at every stage and give them regular opportunities to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns with you. This will build trust over time. 

If you want to find out more or need help with your approach, call CEO Clare Gleghorn on 0407 400 695 or email us at enquiries@bastionreputation.com.au. 

Click HERE for the Victorian Government’s full APAW list. 

For all the latest COVID information from the Victorian Government head to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au or if you’re outside Victoria, head to the relevant state or territory government COVID health website.