PROVO — Utah-based customer experience giant Qualtrics has created a solution for businesses to track verification of COVID-19 vaccination or negative testing.
U.S. President Joe Biden last week announced an initiative for companies of 100 employees or more to require their employees to either be vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 regularly, in hopes of drastically increasing the number of vaccinated people nationwide. As part of the plan, millions of federal workers and government contractors will need to provide proof of vaccination with no test-out option.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not yet published the emergency temporary standard that would put this requirement into effect. But businesses can expect that the "deadline for compliance will be aggressive," Sydney Heimbrock, chief industry advisor for government at Qualtrics, said during the company's first-ever LinkedIn Live on Tuesday.
According to a recent Qualtrics study, 60% of workers agree with vaccine mandates. However, 40% — either ambivalent or against the mandate — is a large portion of a workforce, which Heimbrock said would most likely result in this initiative being met with a wide range of reactions. During that same study, Qualtrics found a quarter of the employees surveyed did not support vaccine mandates at work and said they would quit their job and go work elsewhere because of it, which would contribute to the ongoing labor shortage.
With Biden's new mandates, businesses will have "shift from whether they're going to mandate vaccinations to how they're going to," Heimbrock continued. And that involves thinking about how to make the process of reporting and providing proof as seamless and painless as possible.
"The future of work is about the experience we deliver to our talent," she said. "(Businesses) really need to approach this requirement as an opportunity to maintain positive experience for their employees."
From the beginning of the pandemic, Qualtrics has been developing systems to simplify and streamline contact tracing, symptom checking and now vaccine testing and attestation management. The company has been working with government and private sectors all over the world to create "the only system that can confirm vaccination status, collect test results, and screen for COVID-19 symptoms — all in one place," as it states on the company's website.
The new tech is customizable depending on how the company handles the new requirement. It can be customized on how strictly employers want to implement the new plan, whether it will be required of clients and visitors, whether testing is going to be allowed as an alternative option to vaccination, and whether boosters may be included eventually. It will also create an easy and efficient way for frontline workers to send in their proof or results without taking too much time away from their work.
Senior principal solutions engineer at Qualtrics, Cydney Miller, used the metaphor of a highway. All the employees should be moving in the same direction, but there might need to be different lanes for everyone. "The solution should likewise be unified but unique, identifying who should be where, why and how long," she said.
There is even a notification system for employees who choose regular testing. It would also provide a secure way for employees to upload a vaccine card, require an electronic signature to verify that it is the employee's card, submit the card and check an employee's vaccination card, and for employers to check on employments. The technology can also filter depending on organization, location and other groups of data.
"Qualtrics visualizes all three lanes of metaphorical highway at the same time," Miller said, which then allows companies to measure how well their company initiatives around vaccination and testing. And having that information allows them to "listen, reflect and act."