Business Leaders Support Vaccination Mandate, Anticipate Challenges

Nearly two-thirds of business leaders support the vaccination mandate, but over half are concerned about ability to implement them at their companies.

As President Biden rolls out federal mandates requiring companies ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated, a Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) survey of CEOs and Directors reveals mixed feelings from corporate America.

While nearly two-thirds of the surveyed business leaders support the President’s decision, more than half are concerned about their ability to implement the vaccination mandate at their companies.

Vaccination Mandate
(Credit: Getty Images/SeventyFour)

CED’s survey results reveal an additional red flag: Roughly 30 percent of respondents believe the decision has negatively impacted their employees and the overall company culture.

The survey gauged more than 100 CEOs and Board Directors, approximately 90 percent of whom are at companies with more than $1 billion in revenue. All respondents will be impacted by the federal mandates.

“While our survey results reveal that the President has significant backing from the business community, the Administration should proceed with caution given the intensity of the opposition felt by a quarter of the business leaders and the expected difficulties in implementation felt much more broadly,” said Dr. Lori Esposito Murray, the President of CED. “Unless the OSHA vaccine guidelines put in place are clear and actually achieve the objective, the end result may be more division in the workplace instead of more vaccinations.”

Key findings from the survey include:

SUPPORT: The majority of surveyed business leaders agree with the President’s decision.

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents support the new vaccination and testing requirements.
  • About a quarter of leaders strongly disagree with the decision.
    • Do you agree with the President’s decision to mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require their workforce to be vaccinated or tested for the virus at least weekly?
      • Somewhat Agree: 20.7 percent
      • Strongly Agree: 42.3 percent
      • Somewhat Disagree: 9.9 percent
      • Strongly Disagree: 24.3 percent
      • Neither Agree nor Disagree: 2.7 percent

IMPLEMENTATION: Despite significant support, more than half of these business leaders believe actual implementation of the mandates will be difficult.

  • More than half of respondents believe it will be difficult (40.5 percent) or very difficult (15.3 percent) to successfully implement the new testing or vaccination mandate within their company. Comparatively, roughly 20 percent feel it will be an easy lift.
    • How would you rate your ability to implement the vaccination/testing mandate in your firm?
      • Easy: 15.3 percent
      • Very Easy: 4.5 percent
      • Neutral: 24.3 percent
      • Difficult: 40.5 percent
      • Very Difficult: 15.3 percent

COMPANY CULTURE: A third of respondents say the vaccination announcement has hurt company culture.

  • Roughly 30 percent of respondents believe the decision has negatively impacted their company’s overall culture.
  • More than half feel that it has not impacted their organization’s overall culture.
    • How do you think the President’s decision to mandate vaccinations or at least weekly testing has affected your firm’s culture?
      • Negatively: 29.7 percent
      • Neutral: 58.6 percent
      • Positively: 11.7 percent
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