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As Covid vaccines are rolled out across the globe there is optimism that the pandemic will be contained and our lives will begin to return to something like normality.

However a just-published report by employee engagement specialist Perceptyx, A workplace divided, has revealed that attitudes by workers towards vaccinations vary – and that HR will need to be mindful of the different attitudes and concerns of those in the organisation around getting a jab.

While a survey of more than 1000 respondents revealed that most are willing to be vaccinated, it would be a mistake for employers to try to make this mandatory.

“Employees will take advice from their organisations, but will balk at being forced to get vaccinated. Strong, personal relationships between employees and their managers increase the likelihood of employees getting vaccinated if their employer recommends it,” the report found.

While it’s worth noting that the results are for a US workforce, it still serves as good advice for HR professionals in Hong Kong.

A total of 53% of employees say they would likely get a vaccine if one were available today, while 56% said they would get a vaccine if encouraged to do so by their employer. Interestingly, 60% said they would be vaccinated if their employers offered a relatively modest financial incentive of US$100 (HK$775) to get jabbed.  

In other findings, six in ten (60%) of employees are fearful of the possible side effects of the vaccine. However, more than two thirds (67%) believe the research and development of the vaccine is trustworthy.

Interestingly, an employee’s willingness to be vaccinated was dependent on their age and gender. One group that was particularly opposed to getting vaccinated was younger males (aged 18–24).

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However, the study found that “targeted messaging can help increase vaccination for this group – who are already more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours – especially if this messaging comes from their peers”.   

And finally, employees who feel genuinely cared about by their managers were more likely to be persuaded by their employer’s encouragement to get vaccinated. Specifically, employees who responded positively to the statement, “My manager cares about me as a person” were twice as likely to get the Covid-19 vaccine if their employer recommended it than are employees who responded negatively to the statement.

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