Canadian HR Reporter

August 2021 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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Page 2 of 35 3 Another consideration: what happens if an employer plans an offsite retreat that requires travel, and some employees aren't vaccinated? Will they still be able to participate, asks Lekushoff. "What does that say about their progression within the company? How will they be promoted? How will they be seen within the organization? They're an integral part of the management team or the leadership team, and yet they're not able to be with the leadership team as they're charting the course for the coming year or making the most important deci- sions for the company." Leaders need to be super clear right now about what they're expecting of their employees. "Are they expecting them to have the vaccine? Will you require your employees However, when it comes to intracom- pany work, some employers are looking at having people come into the main office say twice a year instead of four times, so they're cutting back a bit, he says. "I think you'll see, coming out of the pandemic, some lingering concerns about even the face-to-face business travel between companies and conven- tions, and I think you' ll see hybrid conventions… where some people will be tuned in by video and others will be live." A lot of companies are taking a hybrid approach to meetings and conferences where a company will plan an event and then a certain level of employees or clients or suppliers go live to the event, while others participate virtually, says Robertson. "Companies are saying, 'OK, we're going to use this so we can get to more people, but as soon as we can, we're still going to meet face to face for our board meetings' or 'We're still going to meet for our sales conferences' or 'We're still going to meet for our incentive trips.' That's what people are planning." Vaccine and quarantine questions Of course, big questions still linger when it comes to vaccines. Will they be a necessity for business travel? What if an employee refuses the jab? Will they only be required for certain destinations? HR policies are really going to have to come into play for travellers, and with the opportunities for people to be fully vaccinated, a lot of those restrictions are going to change, says Robertson. "Obviously, that's going to have to be up to the company culture or the HR department, as to whether [a vaccine is] required or not." to show some sort of vaccine passport? Can it constitute as discriminatory if they don't? What kind of exceptions are you going to consider?" she says. "As a leader, are you going to set the tone? If you require, let's say, your sales team to travel, but you as a leader are not travelling, what about your leader- ship? If you say, 'Hey, you can work from home, you don't need to travel,' and your client demands that you travel, where does that lead? What does an executive do at that point?" In the near term, it's likely employers will have to adjust some of their policies for how they're letting people get out on the road, and where they're going, says Ferguson. "Over time, that will get peeled back… I would hope that the vaccination spreads to the four corners of the earth, there's some sort of immunity that's built, we figure out who's all in the most at-risk camps, and then we get back to something that's very similar to what we used to be — maybe not exactly, but pretty close." For now, in the United States, employers may run into personal disclosure issues in asking employees if they have been vaccinated, he says. On the other hand, employees could voluntarily show proof of vaccination, and that should make employers more comfortable with the idea of sending them out on the road, he says. "I feel like there's going to have to be a dual regime of 'Show us a vaccination' or 'Be willing to take a test that shows that you don't have the coronavirus.'" There is also the challenge of quar- antines when people return from a trip away, says Ferguson. "I don't think it works well; people don't like to do it. When they're not BUSINESS TRAVEL APPEALING TO WORKERS "Think of the efficiencies and the benefits to the bottom line of actually not having to pay for that travel of the employees." Andrea Lekushoff, Broad Reach Communications compelled to do it, they won't do it. And so, I think that quarantine will be hard to include inside those [travel] policies, but testing may well be, and then staying away from the office to get tests." Even if quarantines are reduced or eliminated, people may still have to be tested when they return to the country for the foreseeable future, says Robertson. "So, what does an employer do with their travellers for the three days until they get their test results back? You probably can make a virtual workplace available for that. I can't imagine many employers are going to allow travellers — certainly international travelers — to return from an international journey, have a PCR test and return to the work- place, at least the office workplace, before they get the test [result] back. So that's a fluid situation as well." Best practices for the new world of travel While employers and HR professionals might be able to find out current infor- mation about travel restrictions and policies on airline or government websites, a travel management company would also be helpful, he says. 85% Percentage of business travellers who say it is important when exploring new job opportunities 82% Percentage of business travellers who say it helps them perform better at their job 83% Percentage of business travellers who say it gives them greater job fulfillment Source: American Express and American Express Global Business Travel

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