Leading by Example - A Step Toward Normality

May 25, 2021

The Economic Alliance brought our full Team back to the workplace on March 22, just over a year since we first moved to almost fully remote work in the early days of the pandemic. With larger public meetings still prohibited in our building, we’ve been able to spread workspaces to provide more than adequate distancing. We are also continuing with aggressive cleaning and safety protocols, including mandatory masking, that allow us to maintain all CDC guidelines for a safe workplace. Our journey over the past year included times last summer when we were mostly in the office to a period from mid-fall through the holidays when it was a mostly abandoned space. We’ve had several hybrid iterations in between. We’ve been fortunate to have zero transmissions in our office space (knock on wood). And, whether they were remote or in the office, our Team worked hard to keep serving our members and our many economic growth initiatives all year long.

We’ll continue to monitor virus statistics and safety advice as we consider when to more fully reopen our space for public use. For now, we’re limiting meetings to very small groups and still keeping our Innovation Councils and other larger gatherings on virtual calls. I love having the Team back together, breathing life back into the district and neighborhood that we’re a part of and boosting the creativity and productivity of our work. We’re really looking forward to restarting our in-person meetings with all of you when the time is right.

As many companies are in the midst of the same sort of return to work steps, it’s interesting to note how influential messages from employers can be on the workforce. It’s an opportunity for all of us to continue to promote vaccinations, mask policy, safety protocols and more.

You see, people trust their employers, in many cases far more than they trust their government, the media or other organizations that are providing such guidance.

Research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows that managers who lead by example and share their own experience getting vaccinated increase the likelihood that workers embrace the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in small businesses. The relationship between getting vaccinated and economic recovery also seemed to be a compelling factor for workers, according to surveys. Employers should connect the dots between vaccinations and the economic growth of the company, region and country. Such messages resonate with their teams. Vaccinations aren’t just for you. Your shot means that everyone in the community is one person safer from the spread of the virus. We’re truly all in this together. Protect your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

Interestingly, there are other messages that aren’t as well received from managers or executives. It seems, according to the same surveys, that people don’t necessarily want to get lectured from their employer on the vaccine’s effectiveness or its safety. For those messages, people would rather listen to scientists and health officials. Fair enough.

Assuming trends continue, about a third of this region’s adult population will be vaccinated by the time this is published in mid-April. Private sector employers have played a key role in ensuring safe, quick and widespread vaccine distribution, just as they led so many efforts around workplace safety protocols in the early days of the pandemic. In our continued outreach to almost 1,200 members of the Economic Alliance, we hear every day about efforts to reinforce the importance of vaccinations and about the many workplace investments that have been made to improve safety and productivity.

Thank you, members, for all that you are doing to lead.

Sincerely,

Doug Neumann
Executive Director





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