We’re at a critical inflection point of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just over 40 per cent of Canadians have now had their first vaccine shot and things are looking up despite some politicians coming up short on delivering effective public health messaging, deploying rapid COVID-19 tests in workplaces, and developing vaccine passports. But what we’re learning is that the virus is resilient. New strains are evolving and taking their toll, and vaccine hesitancy remains a very real challenge.
The stark reality is reaching herd immunity above 80 per cent will likely remain an elusive goal, and as the virus mutates and continues to target those who haven’t been vaccinated, we’re likely to see this pandemic evolve into what public health officials are calling an endemic. Such a reality should raise the bar for companies to step up and take a leadership role when it comes to looking after the wellbeing of their teams and getting the economy back on its feet.
So while the focus right now may be on reopening and stabilizing business operations, as we rebound from lockdown, leaders need to embrace back-to-work strategies that include vaccine incentives, workplace immunity passports, and personalized mental resiliency programs if they want to help their teams regain their sense of physical and mental resilience.
If businesses want to be part of the solution, it will require a different kind of leadership. One grounded in compassion and empathy for team members who may not be clinically depressed but rather languishing from grief, fear, anxiety, and feeling aimless. Leaders must embrace challenging conversations backed up by a bold business continuity strategy to enable their teams and customers to interact in person again.