48% of firms won’t track employee Covid vaccination status

By Kate Birch
48% of large global organisations reveal they won't track employee vaccination status, while 45% expect workplaces to reopen in Q3 2021, reveals Gartner...

Nearly half (48%) of large international companies aren’t planning to track the vaccination status of their employees, while only 8% report they will and will require proof of vaccination. That’s according to Gartner’s study on March 16, which surveyed 227 HR leaders.

The study further found that among 258 HR leaders, nearly half (45%) expect their place of work to reopen in the third quarter of 2021, while nearly a quarter (24%) are instead planning for a return to the workplace in quarter four.

With so much uncertainty globally around vaccination status, most organisations that reopen “will do so with social distancing and mask wearing in place”, says Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice. 

Hybrid working to become the next normal

Even more interesting is the fact that regardless of reopening plans, only 1% of the HR leaders surveyed expect all of their employees to work full-time in the office.

And while nearly one-third (32%) of those surveyed say they will let employees work remotely all of the time, the majority of organisations are planning for a hybrid workforce, with 59% of HR leaders saying they will let employees work remote sometimes with approval from their manager. This marks a 21% increase since November 2020. 

“When offices reopen, many individuals will have been working from home for nearly two years or more and new ways of working will be engrained,” says Kropp. “It will be critical for employers to focus on building social and emotional connections with, and between, their employees again.”

HR leaders to provide onboarding experience

While Gartner research found that only one-quarter of organizations plan to maintain the well-being programs they introduced during the pandemic for the foreseeable future, leading organizations will not roll-back new or expanded offerings. In fact, Gartner recommends that HR leaders use the return to the workplace as an opportunity to re-onboard all employees as though they are joining a new organization. 

To do this successfully, HR should focus on three main areas:

  • Develop a philosophy on flexibility Rather than simply creating a static flexible work policy, leading HR departments are determining their organization’s philosophy on flexibility and sharing this with their workforce.
  • Communicate the purpose of the office. Prior to the pandemic, organizations simply described their office as the place where their employees work. Now, leaders must determine the role of their physical workplace – a team or company meeting place, a secure workspace, a social gathering space to support the community – and communicate that to employees.
  • Train managers on supporting employees. With a more dispersed workforce, HR must work with managers on how to manage employees who are working in different locations and at different times.

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