HR has been through enough over the past two years with all the unexpected, but necessary pivots. The transition to remote work, implementing mask policies and maintaining your employees’ well-being has not been easy.

And with news of new COVID-19 variants emerging, vaccine mandates are becoming a hot topic. Whether federally mandated or privately enforced, vaccine and testing mandates are something you should keep on your radar to be prepared for, if they’re not already part of your responsibilities.

READ MORE: Everything HR Needs to Know About OSHA’s ETS

How to Be Prepared

The legislation for federal vaccine requirements faces legal opposition, but may be implemented as early as January 2022. So whether your organization goes forward with it anyway or you want to be prepared for OSHA’s proposed emergency temporary standard (ETS), here are seven action steps to prepare your organization for testing and vaccine mandates.

1. Create a Vaccine and Testing Policy

A vaccine and testing policy is a requirement from OSHA’s ETS. It can provide clarity for your employees about what is expected of them. Creating this policy will ensure that you are on the same page with your employees about everything COVID-related. 

Your policy might include answers to questions like:

  • Where are vaccination and testing locations?
  • Will I be reimbursed for the cost of my test?
  • When do I need to submit my vaccination status?

There are probably plenty of other questions that your employees may have about how you will handle vaccines and testing moving forward. You may want to send out a survey where they can list their concerns so you will know exactly what to address in your policy.

2. Distribute the Vaccine and Testing Policy

Send out the completed Vaccine and Testing Policy to all your employees so they can return to it when any concerns come up. In the world of remote and hybrid work, you’ll want to keep your distribution digital. 

There are a few different programs that will allow you to send it out better than through email. Document management, for example, is a great way to do that because it will also keep the file available to the employees and can be updated as needed.

3. Get Acknowledgement From Employees That They Accept the Policy

Distributing your policy is one thing, but ensuring that your employees understand and accept it is an entirely separate step. Failure to follow the vaccine mandate perfectly can result in severe consequences, so you should cover your bases with verification that each employee has read the policy.

Technology will help you accommodate all of your remote employees and simplify things for your in-office employees on this step. eSignature will give them a one-step solution to providing that acknowledgement. Plus, it will be easier for you to get an overview of who has or hasn’t signed the policy.

4. Update Your Employee Folder Template

You’re already managing plenty of employee documents. Now with proof of vaccination, the signed policy, and test results, you’re adding more to the already large stack.

With 100+ employees, adding these documents could take hours at a time, preventing you from getting to your most important work.

The simplest way to take on this extra paperwork is by updating your employee folder template to include this documentation. With a click of a button, you’ll be able to automatically fill each existing employees’ folder with vaccine and testing information in addition to their already existing employee information. Your employees will be able to see all of the paperwork required of them.

5. Automatically Request Documentation

Your first thought for collecting the oncoming paperwork may be to send out an email to all of your employees reminding them to send their documentation your way. You’ll likely be bombarded with emails that you have to sort through to download, save, and upload to the proper location.

Automatically requesting documentation is the way to go. With just a few selections on your document management system, you can determine what type of document you need and where the uploaded document should be routed to. Once you’ve selected exactly who you need the documents from, it will be as simple as ever.

This way, your employee can upload their vaccination status for it to be filed to the exact location(s) you specified.

6. Turn on Employee Reminders

Complying with this ETS might not be the first thing on your employees’ minds. So keeping it uncomplicated for them to follow will be critical.

With automation tech, you can send them nudges to complete their end of the paperwork so you can stay focused on yours.

You can customize these notifications based on their choice of a one-time proof of vaccination or weekly COVID-19 test results. These can continuously go on while you are kept busy with your own responsibilities. 

There’s absolutely no need for you to be the one sending reminders, taking away from your limited time, when technology can do it for you.

7. Keep Your Files Accessible

If the ETS does go into effect, you want to have everything organized and ready to pull if OSHA requests anything from you. So you will need to have every single employees’ vaccination or test documentation.

If you prioritize your file management, you can keep all of your documentation in one secure place, and still share it as needed. You can share a document with anyone inside or outside of your organization with the click of a button. If OSHA needs documentation from every single employee you’ll already have it ready to go. Easy.

You can make sure that all these documents are easily accessible without having to sacrifice security

Document management can be the ultimate tool to help you follow these seven action steps seamlessly. Rubex can help you face any changes to federal vaccine or testing requirements without a hitch. Discover Rubex today.