BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

COVID-19 vaccine: Moral suasion more effective than sanctions – HR experts

Human resource (HR) professionals have said persuading employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine is a more effective approach than coercion and threat of sanctions.

“Forcing them is not the right way to go about it. Instead use employees’ engagement to make them understand and accept the motive and the reason why they should be vaccinated,” Abidemi Ajai, HR manager at Nosak Farm Produce Limited said.

Ajai also said another way to convince them is when leaders in their organisations lead by example by taking the vaccine first and possibly being open about it to their employees.

Adebambo Aina, another HR expert, advised that both employers and employees should find a common ground through dialogue to understand the concerns of those sceptical and explain why the vaccination is important to the organisational goal.

The enforcement of compulsory vaccination has been a subject of concern, raising questions on the degree at which employers can dictate the personal health choices of their employees.

BusinessDay reported on Tuesday that some corporate organisations like Guaranty Trust Bank Holding plc (GTCO), Nigeria’s largest bank gave staff members till September ending to get vaccinated or face a pay cut and restriction from accessing the bank’s premises.

Apart from the bank, some oil and gas companies have also mandated staff members to get vaccinated or face lay-offs. In some other cases, staff members yet to get vaccinated are mandated to conduct COVID-19 tests once a week.

A research analyst who wishes to be identified only as Kelvin said that although the company he works for is yet to force them to take the vaccine as it goes against the firm’s ethics, but if he is forced, he has no choice but to take it because he would not want to lose his job.

Read also: COVID-19: Pfizer Booster Shots set for release on September 20th

“Just because I work for a firm does not mean that the firm should encroach on my rights to not make a choice for myself. So indirectly, they are trying to make a choice for adults, which is wrong,”

He added, “People are supposed to take it voluntarily. But if you are forcing them by means of threat, that is actually against what you stand for as a corporate entity that values the choices that employees make.”

More than 10 million vaccines have been supplied to Nigeria but less than half of those jabs have been administered. Some who hesitate to take the vaccine do so because they fear it could harm them, based on false information about the vaccines.

Unini Mosimabale, HR at Alles Charis Gas Limited noted that any form of force on employees could cause serious consequences for employers.

“Forcing employees could cause a lot of stiff atmosphere at the workplace. They would not be happy knowing that there is that pressure and tension. Companies could start having high turnover and loss of talents,” Mosimabale said.

Countries that are experiencing a sharp upturn in infections due to the Delta variant and a slowdown in vaccinations have pushed their governments to make COVID-19 shots mandatory for health workers and other high-risk groups.

Australia decided in late June to make vaccinations mandatory for high-risk aged-care workers and employees in quarantine hotels. Britain said it will be mandatory for home care workers to have vaccinations from October.

While Canada said in August, it will soon require all federal public servants and many other workers to be vaccinated. Last week, Joe Biden, US president, ordered that all federal workers and contractors would need to get fully vaccinated in the coming weeks, as well as health care workers.

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