Capturing important – and sensitive – information about staff isn’t a new requirement for HR. But it may be a challenge for HR teams without the right tech to gather high volumes of information about their workforce in a short period of time.

vaccination track

Quite aside from the question of whether employers have a right to insist on employees being vaccinated against COVID-19, many employers will at least want to have a view of their workforce’s vaccination status. But recording who has and hasn’t had a COVID-19 vaccine definitely isn’t a data entry job that HR wants to be inputting manually from lots of different forms or managing on spreadsheets!

What data do you really need?

Before you start to ask staff about their COVID-19 vaccination status, check with your business leaders exactly what data they want, how they intend to use the information and who will have access to it. When you do go out to your workforce to ask if they’ve had a vaccine, you’ll need to explain to them in easy-to-understand terms how the data is going to be used and how you’ll keep it secure. You’ll also need to consider if you need to do an impact assessment and how collecting this information should be reflected in privacy statements etc. for GDPR.

A workspace for collaboration

If you need to collaborate with other departments to address data privacy issues, using a workspace in a system like Cezanne HR can be helpful. You can establish who you’d like to work on this task with and set up a workspace that only those people that you invite to that workspace can see. This can be very useful when you want to keep all discussions and draft documents about particular work together in one place – and secure.

Creating a data-capture form

Once you’ve addressed all your privacy and GDPR concerns, you will want to consider how you’re going to capture the information you need from your staff. Cezanne HR’s form builder makes it easy to create bespoke forms, giving you total control over the fields you want to include in the form. You can then run custom searches on those fields after the forms have been completed.

To gain the information you need, you might choose a simple drop-down menu of yes/no to indicate if the staff member has received the vaccine. You might also elect to add a multi-line text field if you’d like to give your staff the opportunity to provide any further information about their vaccine – for example, if you want to know the specific brand, or where in the vaccination process they are up to if it requires more than one injection.

Internal communications

With your form ready to go, it’s time to think about how you’ll communicate the data request with your workforce. GDPR obligations aside, you’ll want to make sure you’re as transparent as you can be about why you’re asking for this data to get as much buy-in as possible from your workers. Explain how knowing this information will be useful for everyone. COVID-19 vaccines can be an emotive topic for some people – anticipate any objections and make sure your communications about the data request address them.

You can use Cezanne HR workspaces to let people know about the forms ahead of them actually being available, and then continue to communicate with your staff as needed on the topic. Make sure you monitor workspace threads that talk about this issue so you can address any concerns quickly. One-way communications for a request like this that fail to address feedback won’t help with engagement. You might also consider sharing links to expert guidance on the COVID-19 vaccine to help your staff better understand it.

The form

Once you feel comfortable that you’ve explained the data collection exercise to your workforce and that the form won’t come as a surprise, you can then start to ask people to fill in the form – it will be held in their own ‘form hub’. Cezanne HR’s SMS functionality can be used to remind staff to fill in the form to help with your response levels.

Approval workflows

After a staff member has filled in your form about their vaccination status, you can choose an approval workflow that routes the form past their line manager for instance, if that’s a step you’d like to include. Cezanne HR’s forms allow for multiple approval levels, just be mindful that you don’t share this data with anyone who doesn’t need to see it.

Reporting on responses

Once you’ve collected all the COVID-19 vaccination status answers that you need, you can run reports on the responses in Cezanne HR and share them securely with key stakeholders. You might also want to consider whether you will need to ask about COVID-19 vaccination status on a regular basis – especially if advice is given by medical professionals that the vaccine needs to be administered seasonally or yearly for example.

You can find out more about Cezanne HR’s form hub and how it can help you here.

Shandel McAuliffe author image

Shandel McAuliffe

Now based in sunny Australia, Shandel is prolific writer and editor - particularly in the world of HR. She's worked for some big names, including the CIPD and the Adecco Group. And more recently, she's been the Editor for new HR publication HR Leader.