Vaccinations have become a top priority for businesses across the country as more employees are beginning to return to the workplace, and community banks have been no exception. If you have not started to plan already, now is the time to think through how to best bring your employees back.
Offer Incentive Programs. Though some employees may already be vaccinated, as many employees as possible need to get vaccinated to keep everyone happy and healthy. To help those who may be hesitant, Ogden-based Bank of Utah has initiated an incentive program for its 380 employees across the state to get a COVID-19 vaccination. The bank offered to pay $250 to each employee who provided proof they were fully vaccinated by July 1, 2021.
Shawn Choate, human resources director for Bank of Utah, stated, “We hope to reduce situations where unvaccinated employees are exposed to the virus and have to quarantine, and we want to ensure that all our employees can come to work and remain healthy.”
Choate continued, “Last year at this time, there was so much uncertainty and fear due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But here we are now, hopeful and close to feeling back to normal, thanks to the hard work and countless hours of health and medical scientists who have developed and tested vaccines to prevent the harsh impact of the disease. We hope our bank team members will take full advantage of the vaccine if at all possible.”
Be Flexible. When considering an incentive program for your employees, banks need to consider an employee’s scheduled time to get the vaccination and factor in the time necessary to recover from any possible side effects. If an employee cannot schedule an appointment or attend a walk-in clinic outside of work hours, Bank of Utah is providing up to two hours of paid time off to receive a vaccine. And, if an employee has an adverse reaction to the vaccine and is unable to work, the bank will give that person up to two days of paid time off to recover.
Don’t Forget. Though incentive programs are intended to encourage all employees to get a vaccine, banks should be prepared to respect those who chose not to get vaccinated. It can be a sensitive subject for some employees and should be treated with the utmost care.
“The bank understands there are employees who may have a disability or a strongly held religious belief that prevents them from getting vaccinated, and we respect that,” says Choate. “And of course, we encourage those employees to contact human resources (HR) to discuss their situations in private.”
Continue with Guidelines. As your branches start to open back up, it is best to continue following suggested guidelines to ensure your employees and customers feel safe to return. By continuing to pay attention to recommended guidelines, you are also helping prevent viruses from spreading further.
Bank of Utah urges employees who are not fully vaccinated to continue to wear masks and socially distance themselves. And, the bank continues to ask those employees who are vaccinated to be respectful of requests by others to wear a mask.
As brighter days continue ahead, make sure your bank is prepared to welcome back your teams with an enhanced plan and ways to ensure everyone’s comfort and safety.