In June 2021, we conducted a nationwide survey, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that gave us a sample of 1,036 people who mirrored the diverse makeup of the U.S. We plan to publish the survey in October.
We asked respondents to tell us what they would do if “vaccines were required” by their employer. We prompted them with several possible actions, and they could check as many as they liked.
We found that 16% of employed respondents would quit, start looking for other employment or both if their employer instituted a mandate. Among those who said they were “vaccine hesitant” – almost a quarter of respondents – we found that 48% would quit or look for another job.
And our research suggests in public communications there are a few things employers can do to minimize the number of workers who quit over the policy.
It starts with building trust with employees. Companies should also make it as easy as possible to get vaccinated – such as by providing on-site vaccine drives, paid time off to get the shot and deal with side effects, and support for child care or transportation.
Finally, research shows it helps if companies engage trusted messengers including doctors, colleagues and family to share information on the vaccine.
In other words, vaccine mandates are unlikely to result in a wave of resignations – but they are likely to lead to a boost in vaccination rates.