Gartner HR Poll Finds Two-Thirds of Organizations Are Delaying Workplace Reopening Due to New COVID-19 Variants

  • Organizations Are Using a Mix of Tactics to Encourage Vaccination

A Gartner, Inc. poll of 238 executive leaders on August 24, 2021 revealed that 66% of organizations are delaying reopening their offices due to new COVID-19 variants.

“Leaders have been determining if and how to mandate employee COVID-19 vaccinations for the last several months, and the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine is another aspect employers are now considering,” said Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice.

According to Gartner’s August 24 poll, 16% of organizations are mandating vaccination – a significant increase from the 2% of companies that reported mandating vaccination in January 2021. Thirty-three percent of executive leaders said that FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has increased the likelihood that their organization will mandate employees get vaccinated. Yet, nearly 50% of respondents reported that the FDA approval will have no impact on whether their organization mandates vaccination.

“While many organizations are not mandating vaccinations, the majority are tracking vaccination status via several methods, including requiring a physical record of vaccination (28% of respondents) and self-reporting measures (40% of respondents),” said Kropp.

Amid the current COVID-19 resurgence, organizations are employing a mix of incentives and restrictions to encourage vaccination. Twenty-eight percent of executive leaders said that their organization is offering COVID-19 vaccination at work; 18% of companies are offering non-monetary incentives, like additional time off, and 17% are offering monetary incentives. Fifteen percent of poll respondents reported that their organization is mandating that employees get COVID tests before coming into the office if they don’t show proof of vaccination. Further, 21% of companies are limiting access to certain features of their workplace – for instance, the gym, cafeteria or bus transportation – for unvaccinated employees; 8% are planning to terminate employees who don’t get vaccinated. 

“What is most likely to increase the number of organizations pursuing vaccine mandates is requirements from state and local governments,” added Kropp. “Employers want the benefit of a vaccinated workforce, but don’t want the responsibility of having to implement and manage a vaccine mandate.”

CHROs and HR leaders can learn more about how to lead organizations through the disruption of coronavirus in the Gartner coronavirus resource center for HR, a collection of complimentary Gartner research and webinars to help organizations globally respond, manage and prepare for the next phase of COVID-19.

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