tips to protect a united culture

October 13th 2021

There’s no denying the topic of vaccinations is a very emotive issue and it has the potential to segregate your employees if not managed sensitively. Even organisations that had a strong culture and a united workforce, risk division in the face of a vaccine debate.

Organisations that already practice diversity and inclusion (D&I) will do well.  The culture of accepting differences in perspective, among other differences, will lead to a culture that invites, welcomes, and embraces choice.

But for Organisations less mature in their D&I practices, this divisive topic can drive an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture.  But there are 2 tips that could help protect a united culture.

  1. avoid discussions about vaccination status
  2. change the language and terminology used

Simply asking the vaccination question can inflate an already challenging and complex situation.  So I’d encourage you to think about your why.

Why are you asking someone’s vaccination status?

Of course, if you have roles that can only be done by vaccinated employees (either because of a government mandate or as a result of a robust health & safety risk assessment), then it’s a fair question and you will need to understand the vaccination status of employees in those roles.

But if you don’t, then I’d question whether this was a conversation that needs to happen.

It’s also worth thinking about the language you’re using around the workplace.  Using a blanket term like “anti-vaxxer”, as an all-encompassing phrase for anyone who has not yet been vaccinated, carries quite negative connotations, and can be harmful in its use. 

There are many different stories amongst the people who are currently unvaccinated, including some people with a genuine medical exemption to vaccination.  It’s important to keep this in mind, and tread carefully through this space.

As Dave Dobbyn recently said, fight COVID, not humanity.

Above all else, be kind. 

Category: COVID-19

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