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View the latest results of the Employee Retention Index

42 percent of US workers want employers to delay re-opening until vaccines widely available to employees, new Eagle Hill research finds

More than half of workers say employers should offer vaccine incentives
Workers remain split on employers requiring COVID-19 vaccines, but want employer involvement in parameters around masks, social distancing, testing and temperature checks

Arlington, Va., February 23, 2021 – As the U.S. ramps up coronavirus vaccinations, new national research finds that many U.S. workers (42 percent) indicate that their employer should wait to re-open until COVID-19 vaccines are more widely available to employees. About one-quarter (26 percent) say employees should be required to take a COVID-19 test before entering the workplace, while 37 percent say testing should be encouraged. 

A new national poll of working Americans from Eagle Hill Consulting also finds that 57 percent of survey respondents believe employers should offer vaccine incentives to employees. And, slightly above half (52 percent) agree that employers should require vaccines, up from 49 percent in December 2020. And, there is growing support among employees that employers should stay involved in some areas like requiring and encouraging masks, social distancing, COVID-19 testing and temperature checks at work. 

These findings are contained in the 2021 Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workplace Survey conducted by Ipsos from Feb 5-9, 2021. The survey included 1,006 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S. This survey follows similar polling conducted from December 4-8, 2020

In terms of COVID testing, most (45 percent) say that employers should cover the costs for any employer-mandated tests. Twenty-nine percent say the federal government should bear the costs, while 15 percent say insurance providers or state/local government (10 percent) should pay for required tests. Only two percent agree employees should pay. 

“The COVID-19 vaccine is slowly starting to reach some segments of the workforce, but the road ahead remains complicated for employers – from when to bring employees back to how to ensure safety,” says Melissa JeziorEagle Hill Consulting president and chief executive officer.  “Our research shows many employees are reluctant to return to the workplace until vaccines are more prevalent, and more than half say financial or paid-time off incentives could encourage vaccinations.” 

“We also found that employees remain split on employer vaccination requirements, but do want employers to require safe practices in the workplace,” Jezior added. “All of this means employers must engage with employees at a deep level to understand their views and align decisions with employee preferences. There will not be a one-size fits all approach, and it isn’t enough to just announce plans. Employers have to find the balance between ensuring a safe environment while not imposing requirements that will generate employee anxiety or animosity. That’s the last thing employers need as they try to return to some sense of normalcy for employees and customers.”

When asked about the role employers should play with COVID-19 precautions even after a vaccine is widely available, there was broad support for employer involvement.  

Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Strategy & Performance, Talent, and Change. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, from financial services to healthcare to media & entertainment. Eagle Hill has offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Boston, MA and Seattle, WA. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.

Media Contact:  Susan Nealon | 703.229.8600 | snealon@eaglehillconsulting.com | @WeAreEagleHill