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Less than Half of U.S. Workers Believe New Vaccine Mandates Will Be Enforced, Qualtrics Study Finds

Last updated:  November 3, 2021


2021-11-03

55% of people say they will consider reporting a coworker for violating a vaccine mandate

Companies are at risk of losing employees with 75% of unvaccinated workers saying they are considering leaving their current place of employment when mandates go into effect  

PROVO, Utah & SEATTLE, Nov. 3, 2021 — New research from Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM) reveals that less than half of U.S. workers believe their employers or the government will effectively enforce federal vaccine mandates. Even though a majority of employees (58%) support President Biden’s proposed vaccine requirements, which are meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, just 49% believe the federal government will be able to effectively enforce them for private companies. The full results of the study can be found here.  

While federal vaccine mandates are still in final review, 60% of employees say vaccine mandates or discussion about them have caused contention at their place of work.  Employees say that conversations around vaccinations are affecting company culture and productivity in the form of decreased trust among coworkers and managers, and the formation of groups or cliques. Once the mandates are enforced, division may become an even bigger problem for workplace culture as 55% of employees say they would consider reporting a coworker to OSHA for violating a vaccine mandate.  

Still, most (58%) of unvaccinated workers are not afraid of losing their jobs if they don’t comply with vaccine rules. Only 12% say the risk of being fired would convince them to get the vaccine anyway. On the other hand, at a time when retention is a top priority for business leaders experiencing the effects of The Great Resignation, 75% of unvaccinated people say they would consider leaving their jobs if vaccine mandates are put into place. If unvaccinated workers do find themselves out of a job, 13% say they will retire or take a break from work, potentially adding to the current labor shortage. Larger percentages however will look for new jobs — 22% at smaller companies and 32% at companies with over 100 employees that are not as strict about vaccination.  

“In order for these rules to be most effective, people have to trust that they will be enforced. This will be a challenge for leaders as they roll out new vaccine requirements,” said Sydney Heimbrock, Chief Industry Advisor for Government, Qualtrics. “It’s crucial that employers understand and anticipate how their workers will react to new policies. The way in which organizations roll out their strategies, and how they are listening to their employees, are crucial to success and to preventing unwanted turnover.”  

More key findings:

  • Politics may influence company policies: 84% of employees say politics affect their company’s vaccine, mask and testing policies — with 42% saying politics has a negative impact on company decision making and 22% saying it has a positive impact.
  • Unvaccinated people are unlikely to be swayed by federal mandates: Only 7% of unvaccinated people say a law or executive order would motivate them to get the vaccine, and 52% of unvaccinated people say mandates would make them less likely to get vaccinated.
  • Tech employees are most supportive of federal mandates: 74% of tech and IT workers support the proposed federal vaccine mandates, and government workers are the least supportive at 51%. 56% of healthcare workers, 54% of retail employees and 54% of those employed in the Travel, Hospitality and Food industries support all of the mandates the Biden Administration has announced.
  • Most employees feel comfortable talking about their vaccine status with coworkers: 53% feel comfortable talking about their vaccination status with coworkers vs. 25% who feel uncomfortable. The main reason people feel uncomfortable is “it’s personal information.”
  • Employees are split on enforcement: 42% of employees want their company leadership to enforce federal vaccine mandates, while 39% do not want them to enforce the new regulations.
 

Methodology  

This study was fielded between Oct. 12 and Oct. 15, 2021. Respondents were selected from a randomized panel and considered eligible if they live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age and are employed full time or part time. The total number of respondents was 1,309. Respondents who did not pass quality standards were removed.  

For the full results of this study, please visit: http://qualtrics.com/blog/fall-vaccine-research-2021  

To learn more about Qualtrics’ Vaccination and Testing manager, click here.  

About Qualtrics  

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business—customer, employee, product and brand. Over 13,500 organizations around the world use Qualtrics to listen, understand and take action on experience data (X-data™)—the beliefs, emotions and intentions that tell you why things are happening, and what to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action that helps businesses attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who build a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love and build a brand people are passionate about. To learn more, please visit qualtrics.com.  

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