The COVID-19 vaccination is a ray of hope for everyone – but ETZ wonders if a ‘no jab, no job’ approach could be a step too far for company recruitment policies?

Finally, it feels like there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Already, more than 16 million people in the UK have been vaccinated against COVID-19, with the government predicting that all adults will have at least one dose by July 31 this year.

For employers, the vaccine roll-out is providing fresh hope of getting more people back into the office (if they wish to return to face-to-face work), and bring new talent on board as economic recovery continues. Naturally, most companies are keen to safeguard their staff – and for some that means introducing a ‘no jab, no job’ policy for current employees and new recruits. But is this the right thing to do?

As a recruiter, you are a trusted advisor to your clients, many of whom may want your perspective on mandatory vaccination. And it’s up to you to provide a balanced perspective.

Creating a safe, confident working environment

There are several good reasons for organisations to insist on compulsory vaccination. Most obviously, it reduces the chance of people catching and spreading COVID-19 while at work. This is reassuring to both existing staff, and to candidates applying for jobs.

On a deeper level, putting a vaccination policy in place indicates that a company takes the health and wellbeing of its employees seriously – reassuring new recruits of their brand values.

It may also give employers a competitive edge, as applicants feel confident that customers will trust products and services provided by businesses with a fully vaccinated workforce. Equally, people who’ve been stuck home alone or in small flats for several months will be actively seeking opportunities to work safely in a face-to-face environment.

Prioritising candidates at the front of the vaccine queue

But while mass vaccination is overwhelmingly positive for national and global recovery, a ‘no jab, no job’ clause could make recruitment opportunities challenging.

In the short-term, vaccines are being rolled out over the course of several months, so some people will receive theirs before others. This may discount strong candidates from a role because they are young, fit and healthy, and therefore at the back of the queue. Additionally, some regions are moving faster than others, so the application process could become a postcode lottery.

Longer-term, employers need to acknowledge the fact that the COVID-19 vaccination is not available to everyone. While steps have been taken to reassure pregnant and breastfeeding women that it is safe to be inoculated, anyone with an allergy to any of the ingredients contained in the vaccine cannot have the jab. And if anyone suffers an extreme allergic reaction to the first dose, they are being advised to refrain from getting a second dose. Does this mean candidates that fall into these categories should be discounted from the recruitment process? And could this be classed as discrimination?

You’ll also need to manage candidate expectations, finding work-arounds where possible – for example, a company may be open to hiring non-vaccinated applicant if they work remotely.

Supporting your clients’ business recovery

Ultimately, it’s the employer’s decision whether they insist on all employees being vaccinated, whether they describe it as advantageous in job descriptions, or whether they pass no comment either way. Your role is to ensure that your clients understand the potential impact of their COVID jab policy on recruitment.

Not all clients will make the same decision, so you will need to keep track of candidates’ vaccination status – ideally through a CRM system – to see whether they are eligible to apply for new vacancies.

The no jab, no job is just one example of the complicated landscape recruiters are navigating in the post-COVID world. As challenges unfold and evolve, it’s important to maintain close relationships with your clients and contacts, and to manage communications efficiently. If you can help them recover and rebuild, it will drive new opportunities for your business – supporting your company growth after a difficult year.

ETZ is the ultimate recruitment tech stack, integrating CRM and communication features with back office and pay roll software, reducing agency costs by up to 85%. For more information visit the ETZ website.

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