How HR can Prepare for Future Pandemics?

HR Tech Outlook | Thursday, April 01, 2021

It is critical to ensure that any decision HR pros make regarding the Covid-19 vaccines, including making vaccination mandatory, is legal.

Fremont, CA: The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 changed everything. With the start of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, HR is once again in uncharted territory. What are the consequences for human resource management? Will the vaccine have an impact on all HR processes, from hiring and onboarding to health and safety evaluations?

Prior to Covid-19, scientists debated "Disease X," an infectious virus with no treatment that turned out to be very similar to Covid-19. They estimate that there are approximately 700,000 viruses on the planet with the potential to infect humans, and the probability of this happening is increasing exponentially as a result of mass deforestation and increased wildlife destruction.

So how can HR put strategies in place for future pandemic events? Here are some suggestions:

Concentrate on regular risk assessments

People don't know how long it will take for the vaccine to reach everyone in the UK at the time of publication. If mass vaccination becomes a theme for 2021, HR should plan for the long term, beginning with a comprehensive risk assessment.

The risk assessment process may differ depending on the type of organization. Is there, for example, a requirement for occupational health and safety in an organization? Vaccination may thus become a passport to continue working in care homes. However, if a person works in a normal office setting, they will have to make some difficult decisions if they want to implement vaccination in the same way.

Employees who regularly traveled for work prior to the Covid-19 pandemic would need to be vaccinated when visiting different countries. As a result, mandatory vaccination may already be a process that your HR teams have dealt with in the past, which could serve as a springboard for developing a more comprehensive, company-wide vaccination policy. However, for most organizations, this is uncharted territory.

Check legalities to reduce the chances of discrimination

It is critical to ensure that any decision HR pros make regarding the Covid-19 vaccines, including making vaccination mandatory, is legal.

If they haven't already, HR departments should exercise extreme caution when it comes to the legalities of mandating vaccination. There are a plethora of potential issues to consider, such as consultation, discrimination, human rights, and if workers refuse, companies may face unfair dismissal claims, and the list goes on. The key to this is to have a concrete process and procedure in place that companies can prove that they have followed if they are subjected to a review or legal challenge.

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