EXPECT your employer to start "nudging" you towards vaccination, a behavioral science expert says as central Victorian companies watch SPC bring in its new mandatory onsite jab policy.
The three major Bendigo companies comprising banking, manufacturing and health all confirmed they had not brought in their own version of the Shepparton business's vaccination policy.
All said they were constantly monitoring the pandemic situation and are strongly encouraging their people to get vaccinated.
SPC's strategy has won plaudits from many including Nationals member for Victoria Damien Drum.
"It is a courageous decision and one that sets the tone for corporate Australia, particularly in light of the threat the delta variant poses to families, communities and business," he said.
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Many central Victorian businesses have already brought in leave for vaccinations, including the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
"The bank is not mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for staff, but we are doing everything we can to strongly encourage our approximately 7000 people across the country to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible," a spokesperson said.
Bushmaster manufacturer Thales has no mandatory policy but is closely monitoring the pandemic. So is Bendigo Health, though some of its front line workers are legally required to get the jab because of the nature of their work.
RMIT behavioral science expert Meg Elkins said that unless the federal government made vaccinations mandatory companies would increasingly need to lead the way for their workforces
They might want to avoid mandatory vaccinations though because they were among the "harshest" of the options available to businesses.
"If it's mandatory there's got to be repercussions if people don't take it, so there will be punishments for people who don't take vaccinations," she said.
That could immediately create problems for the employers themselves.
"When people get to the point where they are punished, that's the tricky bit, because that's when the organisation is taking away our free will," Dr Elkins said.
"It's taking away that chance to have good will towards the company and there might be resentment there. We lose that implicit motivation to do good. If you are forced to do it then it changes your relationship with your employer."
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It could also force the company to make sacrifices that undermine its own policies, Dr Elkins said.
What happens, for example, if a top performing employee refuses to get vaccinated?
Workers could expect more companies to start ramping up messaging and incentives as more vaccines arrived, or trying to make it a "social norm" within the workplace, Dr Elkins said.
Others might begin moving unvaccinated staff away from roles where they come in contact with customers. They might also be banned from company social and work events.
Dr Elkins said a company's best bet for vaccination was to find ways to actively "nudge" people into getting vaccinations.
That could mean setting up "opt-out" vaccination appointments for workers, where all they have to do is turn up unless they arranged not to in the days beforehand.
"The way people feel about those opt-out appointments is that it's theirs, it's easy, it's done for them and they don't have to wait in a queue for three hours," Dr Elkins said.
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