A few weeks ago, we posted an article on how work life could be affected if vaccination was made mandatory in Kenya. We do not need to speculate anymore because it has already happened.
A few hours after the announcement, reports emerged of hundreds, if not thousands, of Kenyans queuing in healthcare facilities to be vaccinated. From responses made to different media stations, majority of those who were getting vaccinated stated that they were doing so to avoid being banned from travelling. Some days later, other facilities that had been given directives to offer services on condition of vaccination had started implementing it.
From the work life perspective, the mandate came at a festive time meaning that workplaces have been temporarily spared from changes such as an influx of leaves and both voluntary and involuntary absenteeism and their accompanying results. But with most workplaces reopening in about a week, it would be too risky for employers to take the back seat because should the healthcare facilities fail to fulfil the needs of the population quickly, then opening of workplaces will be affected.
Bearing in mind that firing due to lack of vaccination can lead to legal issues, it is wise to explore how the matter can resolved professionally and empathetically. This brings us to our theme of the article which is how and why Kenyan employers should increase their efforts of helping their employees get vaccinated.
Employers can increase their efforts by:
- Seeking to know the reasons behind opposition
Ruling by the fist rarely produces the desired results, at least for a long time. In consequence, the best way is to apply empathy in all engagements. As we mentioned in a previous article on the role of Kenyan employers in vaccination efforts, there are many reasons why people are against the jab.
Some are citing misinformation, busy schedules, religious beliefs, underlying health conditions, and others. As an employer or manager, seeking to know the reason(s) behind the strong opposing will best inform you how to respond.
Some matters can be easily resolved: if it is about misinformation, you can easily access credible information from accredited sources and share with your team. If it is about lack of time, then the break from work would allow them recover.
- Communicating to know the progress
Your role as a leader does not end after availing the resources for truthful information about the vaccine or helping your team to book a session for vaccination. With the festive season, it would be wise for you to follow up and see the response.
That way you will potentially reduce the number of people who may be unable to report to work when certain bans are strictly implemented. In addition, should there be need for additional input, such as seeking on-site vaccination services, you will know early enough and make the necessary arrangements.
The results will be:
- Reopening as agreed
Chances are that as you went for the holidays, you had already planned for first few months or weeks of the new year. You know who will be in the office on which day and perhaps the tasks that they will be handling.
It would be so chaotic starting the year with a few employees and having to replan again until all of them are vaccinated and allowed to access essential services.
Assisting your employees to get vaccinated during the break by using the means available to you will ensure that the work year is unaffected, and everything flows as planned.
- Less sick days and panic
Perhaps the best reason of encouraging vaccination now is that your employees will have time to recover. That means you will not start the year with requests for leaves or working from home amongst those who have already taken the precaution.
- Smooth flow of activities
Planning for a month’s or week’s activities does not come without challenges. And having to do so several times is not only tiring but also expensive.
Needless to say, full team reopening means that all activities will flow smoothly. In addition, the likelihood of less panic amongst the workers when they are vaccinated increases productivity.
Leaders should keep on implementing their leadership tactics without looking at the season because we are aiming for wellbeing for everyone.