Here are some strategies HR departments are implementing to increase their flu vaccine compliance rates this year, and why they might actually work:
1.Motivation from Above
At Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston's oldest and largest hospital, the occupational health services department emails managers every two weeks about the status of employees' incomplete flu shot compliance.
An email also goes to employees of "unknown" status, which represented around 5% of employees at MGH last flu season.
This year, the hospital's flu shot strategies focus on this small segment of the 23,000-member workforce, says Andrew Gottlieb, MSN/MPH, FNP-BC, the director of occupational health services at MGH. The email system delegates MGH's management of flu vaccination compliance from the ground-up, says Gottlieb.
If a healthcare worker won't get vaccinated for their friends or family, the greater community, the safety of the patients they treat, or themselves, hopefully they will get moving to stop being on their boss's to-nag list. If not, perhaps there's a bigger problem that needs addressing.
2. Peer Pressure
At MGH, nurses in each of the inpatient and outpatient clinics every year volunteer to be "Flu Champions"—they are stocked with vaccination equipment, compliance forms, posters, and communication materials to advertise facts vs. myths of getting vaccinated.
This isn't a strategy unique to MGH. Many hospitals have implemented employees vaccinating one another within different departments.
But it streamlines the vaccination process by providing a convenient "mini clinic" and allows HR to have grassroots flu shot campaigners interacting with peers every day. They stomp out myths with a single bound, and overcome fears of needles with comfort and camaraderie.