Employers play a critical role in ending the pandemic

March 24, 2021

Article image
If you could visit a COVID-19 vaccination site, you’d feel a very palpable sense of hope. Our employees have been volunteering at a site near our home office in Portland, Maine, and have returned with stories of vaccine recipients who are nothing short of joyful at taking this first step back toward normal life.

We know not everyone is so convinced about the vaccines. But we also know that, throughout the pandemic, people have consistently trusted their employers to provide reliable COVID-19 information, as well as tools and resources that help them maintain their physical and mental health and well-being.

That’s why, here at Unum, we are actively and strongly encouraging our employees to get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine is offered to them. For the health and safety of all of our customers and policyholders, we urge you to do the same.

Your voice in encouraging vaccination can be very powerful. We have taken several steps at Unum to inform our employees, decrease vaccine hesitation and help get our community well and back to business. Some of these may spark ideas you can use at your own organization.

Communicate a pro-vaccine message

Our senior leadership has announced to all our employees that, while we are not mandating vaccination as a condition for returning to the office, we strongly encourage them to get their shots. We are delivering this message in a way that is sensitive to the cultures and attitudes of our diverse workforce, stressing the ability for us to safeguard each other and our customers.

Direct employees to credible, reputable sources of information

We have developed a centralized list of trusted, reliable information sources where our employees can educate themselves about the virus, the vaccines and what we need to do to end the pandemic. These sources can be used to combat misinformation when it is encountered. Here are a few that you might find especially useful:

General vaccine information

Vaccine safety

Vaccine availability

We advise looking for local resources that may have the most up-to-date information about vaccines and virus trends in your area. Check and update information frequently. As we all know, guidance about the pandemic changes from day-to-day.

Article image

Make it easy for people to get vaccinated

To the degree practical, it’s important to remove obstacles that may prevent employees from getting their first shots and/or getting second doses in a timely manner. Some employers are allowing time away from the workplace to get vaccinations, others are offering child care while employees get their shots, and some are even providing incentives or rewards to encourage vaccinations.

Think through the vaccination strategy

In deciding not to mandate vaccination, Unum took a host of practical and legal considerations into account. You may want to consult your legal advisor before making your decision. HR experts can help you think through other implications, such as employee concerns about returning to work with people who choose not to be vaccinated.

Other helpful COVID-19 resources from Unum

Podcast: Exploring medical and HR perspectives on encouraging vaccination
Webinar: Small Business Benefit Trends 2021