WeCo prides itself on inclusion and diversity. Because nearly everyone in our company comes to us from places of exclusion—not being able to be hired despite our accomplishments and education—we are far less hasty to judge each other. So when it came to developing and launching our vaccine policy, we had a solid foundation of understanding with which to begin.
At WeCo, our people not only accept each other’s disabilities, we accept and trust in each other’s abilities too, without question. I have honestly never experienced that in any professional environment before, where coworkers were only too ready to pounce upon one’s honest mistakes.
And where there is trust, a shared sense of reality can take root—even among people with vastly different viewpoints and backgrounds.
I believe that trust is why we received strong support from both our Teams when our Directors, when we rolled out our Vaccine Requirement Policy in May 2021.
Setting the Stage for Your Vaccine Policy
But our Director Team knew that there were other important things we must do, to pave the way for a successful vaccine policy, and roll out. We took these two preparations steps that really helped.
- Leading with an Unwavering Focus on Health and Safety: WeCo’s vaccine policy was based upon medical and scientific facts, taken from long-trusted state and federal government sources. We do not mention political views or in any way venture down the path of theories that deviate from these sources. Our Team Directors felt that we needed to make that clear, and, if lost people who could not trust that our decisions being health and safety driven, they would probably be happier working somewhere else. I am happy to report that everyone remained on board and voiced to us that they appreciated the thought that had gone into the policies.
- Offering People Choices Where Possible: If there is any group of people that understands what it’s like to not have control over your own body or life, it’s individuals with disabilities. We are fortunate in our company to have the ability to extend flexible choices to our people. Our Team Directors felt strongly that our vaccine policy needed to allow people choices, wherever they did not interfere with the health and safety of others.
Soft Sell Your Policy Roll Out
We didn’t just roll out a stark, “just the facts” vaccine policy, that barked a command to comply. We worked to convey to our Teams the “whys” regarding our decision, and when possible, ways they could have choices and work with us, including:
- An explanation on why the policy exists: while this may seem obvious to us decision makers, there is so much misinformation out there, we wanted to make absolutely certain that everyone was operating on the same set of facts.
- A brief highlight of the facts that apply to our company’s situation. For some companies, it may be exposure to the general public. For us it’s the fact that nearly all of us are physically vulnerable to viruses like COVID, that makes a vaccination policy vital to us, both as an employer and as a team.
- The opportunity for our Team Members to work from home if they are not able to be vaccinated. Through this point of flexibility in our policy, we learned that one of our newest staff members was life-threatening allergic to many types of vaccines. Because her doctor had advised against her receiving the COVID jab, she needed to be able to continue to work and attend meetings from home. Our vaccine policy’s flexibility allowed for her to be open about this and receive reassurance from us that she could remain safe while under our employ.
How we launched the policies was as important as how we constructed them. Both policies were sent to each Team Member and reviewed at our monthly Staff Meeting. This allowed everyone time to ask questions. Our Directors also took the time to check in with their Team Members, individually, in the weeks following policy release.
Watch for our third, and final, segment of our Vaccine Policy series: Outcomes and Thoughts on Our Company Vaccine Mandate.
Learn how we made the decision to roll out our Vaccine Policy by reading: Why We Chose A Company Vaccine Mandate