Workplace Safety

Managing vaccination requirements

[below is a slightly modified transcript of the video above]

One of the most challenging topics that we've encountered with our customers and the many, many companies that we've talked to across the country over the past year - is how to handle vaccinations in their workplace.

From the moment the news came out last November that the vaccine trials had gone successfully, we started having conversations with HR leaders at companies big and small about how they were going to approach requiring vaccines. Would they be expecting or encouraging people to have vaccinations or choose to ignore the topic completely? For many folks, they felt - especially in the early stages - that it would be uncomfortable to engage their teams about vaccinations at a company or corporate level.

What we've seen over the course of the year is the national conversation around vaccines has changed a lot. What I thought I might do is take a minute or two to talk about what we've seen, what we've heard from our partners and customers, and to share how we're thinking about solving that problem. We want to help it be an easier solution for companies to engage in healthy conversations and practices around vaccination requirements.

Earlier this year we saw a big wave of vaccinations in the spring, followed by some plateauing nationally, and more recently a much bigger conversation around vaccination desires and discomfort with the onset of the Delta variant.

Now over the last few months, we’ve really started to see more and more companies announcing vaccination requirements especially in the wake of some federal policy requiring vaccinations in order to come back into the workplace. But what we know and what we hear a lot from our customers and folks that we talk to is that one approach is not going to work for every company.

For certain companies, they might feel very comfortable implementing vaccination requirements while for other companies, they may want to only encourage vaccinations. They might want to be aware of who might be vaccinated coming into the office and establish different policies for folks who are coming in that aren't vaccinated, whether that's testing or mask usage. And of course they want to figure out how to create an environment that still is comfortable for all their employees.

For example, if they're going to allow all employees to come in regardless of vaccination status, but maybe require unvaccinated employees to wear a mask, how do they make sure they don't create an uncomfortable environment for folks because the mask is a visual indicator of people's personal choice?

When we've taken that feedback in from our customers and when we've talked to folks about it, we realized that what we really want to do is give the tools to customers that allow them to really emphasize making the choices that feel right for their employees and for their organizations. Everything we've done in building solutions for vaccination management is with that choice in mind.

Over the next month, we'll be rolling out some new functionality to manage vaccinations requirements and policies. The first step will be enabling companies to ask and understand “who has been vaccinated at my company?” We know many companies would prefer to do that through a platform that doesn't use insecure spreadsheets or special forms that require them to constantly be asking employees directly about their vaccination status and/or updates. Scoop wants to help by being the intermediate player who can comfortably say “we're going to let you know who has been vaccinated on your team.”

And companies do not have to do anything specific with that information. So the first step is just giving Scoop customers the option of requesting basic vaccination information. 

The second is enabling companies to act on that information and say “if you want to come into the office, we're going to require that you be vaccinated.” And again, Scoop is in a position to help companies build that into the primary check-in flow and experience of the office, as opposed to having to add a lot of extra overhead and additional steps, or constantly be interfacing between the employees and the HR team. We believe Scoop can create something that's a little more comfortable for the employee to engage with, as opposed to having to talk to, you know Joe from HR and tell them their vaccination status individually. And of course, for some of our partners, they won't want to ask for vaccination status at all. They'll keep it out of sight, out of mind.

As we continue to build on this capability in the coming months, we'll start to do things like look at vaccination dates and get prepared for updated information like boosters. If boosters are something that companies are going to want to start to pay attention to, or perhaps understanding the difference between someone fully vaccinated with two shots versus maybe three or more, we’ll handle it. 

We’ll also look to support status verification for a company that is going to want to be able to see a vaccine card or an electronic record and verify it. That's one of the most important but difficult parts of a vaccination policy, because there are a lot of legal considerations in terms of who owns or maintains those files.

And again, we feel like we have an opportunity to help folks have the right system for verifying and understanding that someone's been vaccinated without necessarily having to take control of sensitive information or be responsible for destruction requirements and things like that.

So in general, our view on vaccinations in particular is that it is a unique area where companies have a tough choice to make around what fits their company, culture, and policy. The right tools can really help an HR team or a company in general apply those policies and apply those in a comfortable way for everyone. That way they can match what feels right for the company while also making sure to keep people safe and comfortable in the environment inside the office.

Jon Sadow

Jonathan Sadow is the Co-Founder and Chief Product & Technology Officer overseeing all product, engineering, and UX at Scoop. When he isn’t immersed in creating the best hybrid work platform around, he can be found spending time with his family and Scoop’s unofficial mascot, Kugel the goldendoodle.

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