With every new variant, a triumphant return to the office and a fully staffed operation gets pushed back further and further. And HR leaders are exhausted, facing a slew of questions that never seem to go away, including:

  • Can the business accommodate teams requiring physical space to get work done?
  • How can leaders help accelerate the transition to having their staff back in proximity to them?
  • Are there any state, local, federal, and customer pandemic policies that should be considered?
  • Will the workforce respond to the transition well enough to build a cohesive culture and strong morale?
  • How can employees come back with the peace of mind that they and their families will remain safe, regardless of vaccination status?

These matters unquestionably impact how businesses drive enduring changes to operating models, adapt mindsets to meet safety measures, and ensure inclusive environments that support productivity. But when left unanswered, undue anxiety and stress emerge across the workforce – driving hesitancy of on-site work, increasing employee turnover and burnout, and making attracting new talent unnecessarily tricky.

Building Assurance and Trust with Technology

Just like technology was a critical enabler of a successful work-from-home transition, it can produce the insight and visibility to define and communicate policies and their rationale. And for employees, information – such as overall health and vaccine status – can boost their confidence when stepping foot into the workplace again.

After talking to our customers about their workforce challenges throughout the pandemic, SAP introduced the health and vaccine tracking portlet as a free upgrade option for the SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central solution that is also accessible through the SAP SuccessFactors Mobile app.

SAP is not positioned to offer legal advice on vaccine mandates, health guidelines, and state, local, and federal requirements. But we are distinctively qualified to build a mobile-friendly portlet that collects data from our cloud-based human resource information system (HRIS) solution to help monitor and track employee health and vaccine status and inform decision-making.

For example, employees can provide proof of vaccination status by uploading a copy of their vaccine cards or exemption documents with their desktops and mobile devices. Plus, by checking the verification field in their profile and following related workflows and notifications, they can help ensure the HRIS solution records their status accurately.

HR organizations can extend the employee vaccination feature to the SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding solution. They can customize vaccine data collection for new hires and existing employees to better monitor and make decisions that safeguard the health and safety of the workforce according to local and federal requirements.

Other areas of the business can also address unique demands and processes by personalizing the standardized content delivered through the health and vaccine tracking portlet. The portlet’s home page can be reconfigured to include links to national and local agencies, regional vaccine trackers, corporate policies, and organizational information.

Analytics embedded in the HRIS solution can also be used in the portlet to assess health risks securely and confidentially. A report story dashboard provides actionable data to designated executives and managers – such as employees in need of vaccination and the percentage of vaccinated employees based on, for example, department, division, and cost center.

Sharing Data to Help Ensure Business-Wide Health

The health and vaccination data collected with the portlet can help automate compliance verification. This capability can help meet the requirements of organizations that conduct government work, operate in countries or industries with strict mandates, or have internal vaccination policies for existing employees and new hires.

Automation of the validation processes is particularly important as vaccine-related obligations evolve rapidly and differ for every organization based on the type of business, location, and the emergence of new variants and health recommendations. Organizations can quickly report who is fully or partially vaccinated, has intentions to start the process, or chooses to decline due to health reasons or personal objections.

Businesses can further extend their use of the health and vaccine tracking portlet to include their legal and compliance teams in planning a physical workplace reopening. They can work together to address organizational and individual employee concerns with expertise in immediate corporate needs, local and federal policies, and long-term growth strategies.

Calming Fears and Moving Forward

While the desire for returning on-site work remains mixed, clear COVID-19 protocols and interventions can alleviate a considerable portion of employees’ stress. But following generic guidance is not enough to calm fears.

With the health and vaccine tracking portlet in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, businesses can be better equipped to care for the health and safety of employees and their families through specific COVID-19 practices. They can now understand their workforce’s health status in real time to identify opportunities and risks and plan a strategy that keeps people protected and productive.

Rinky Karthik is principal HR cloud architect for Cloud Architecture Advisory at SAP.
Mark Baker is head of Human Experience Management (HXM) Services Strategy at SAP.