You can’t turn on the TV or open a webpage these days without seeing something about the Ebola virus. But let’s face it, at least for now, the odds of the disease impacting your workforce is minute.
We can’t say the same for the flu.
It’s estimated that between 10% and 20% of the U.S. workforce is out of work during the flu season. And it’s hardly a one-day-and-back proposition.
That can get expensive fast.
Fortunately there’s a step you can take that will give you an immediate ROI: flu shots.
Take a look at the financial case for flu shots and then your best strategies to maximize this tool.
Hard-to-refuse dollars and cents case
The folks at fluvaccine.org have created an ROI calculator on their website to make an airtight case for getting employees vaccinated. You’ll find it at http://fluvaccine.org
Take a look at the following example, for a 100-person employer:
- Average cost of a lost work day per employee: $100
- Average number of lost work days due to influenza: 5 Days
- Number of employees: 100 employees
- Percentage of employees with influenza-related illness: 20%
- Cost of influenza-related illness to your organization: $10,000.
That’s quite a bite out of any company’s budget. And while the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective against every strain out there and some people can’t get vaccinated (like those allergic to eggs), it goes a long way to preventing many cases of the virus.
Here are some strategies to make the most of it.
3 moves to make ASAP
To get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to flu shots:
- Offer them on-site if possible. You have a better chance of the maximum number of employees participating if you can bring the mountain to Mohammed. It’s getting late in the game, but if you can hold an on-site flu shot day, that’s your best bet.
- Give them time to get it done if you don’t. Just like you’ll allow employees an hour or so to cast their vote next month, why not do the same for an action that protects their health and your productivity? You might make it a company policy that any employee wishing to go for a flu shot can come in later or leave earlier one day to get it. Not having to eat into downtime may be the little push needed to get those feet-draggers.
- Extend it to family members. You might not only lose an employee for a workweek if he or she gets the flu – oftentimes absences are simply from employees staying home to care for a flu-stricken child or spouse. If you can open your on-site clinic to employee family, that’s great. But if that’s too unmanageable, you might offer to reimburse any family member’s copays to get a shot elsewhere. It’s a minimal cost to you, with the potential to save you thousands in the coming months. A small price to pay.