Last week NPR story ran about a woman in Texas who was fired after testing positive for Covid (1). Listeners did not learn the full extent of her story, and we can hope that similar situations are rare, but the fact that stories like this are being told at all should bring executives and HR directors pause.
In order to secure workplace stability, regular COVID testing must be accompanied by a promise of position protection. If employees feel that a positive result could lead to penalties, they will avoid testing which will lead to outbreaks and an associated decline in employer trust – a downward spiral.
In other words, organizations need to approach COVID workplace safety with a commitment to Psychological Safety – the understanding that employees will be protected while taking risks as long as what they are doing is what is right for the company. You can read more about psychological safety here.
Positive examples of workplace risk are easy to find. Pointing out an accounting error after the ledger has been approved, asking questions until the problem makes sense, suggesting an alternate path in a room where consensus has been reached, and challenging an executive who may be making a decision on personal motivation are all behaviors managers want to encourage. Now we can add taking a COVID test and willingly quarantining if the result is positive.
Simple Ready can help your employees keep the workspace medically healthy in many ways. We can schedule trained health care professionals at your organization, collect samples, test for COVID and other things, and report back through executive dashboards and employee phones. We can upload employee vaccination cards and check for validity. We can create easy to read reports informing HR who has fallen out of compliance and even ensure that doors open only for people who have met COVID requirements – like recent negative results or vaccination. We can help with government compliance and ensure your travelling sales staff has what they need to board a plane.
But Simple Ready can also help ensure that employees feel psychologically safe. A psychologically safe testing program requires management to publicly acknowledge that the cost of protecting quarantined employee’s jobs is far lower than the cost of an uncontrolled outbreak and subsequent shut-down. It promises, “if you do you r part, we will do ours.” Our dedicated experts can help craft those policies and make sure that message gets out.
Simple Laboratories is regarded as one of the most reliable and compliant clinical laboratories in the Midwest, but with Simple Ready, we are much more than a testing lab. Talk to us and learn how we can address your return-to-work challenges.
(1) “Even if they can find a test, not everyone wants to know they have COVID”, February 1, 2022 5:02 AM ET, NPR Morning Edition