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Topics: Risk Management
Vaccine mandate for companies – have you seen or do you foresee any direct or ancillary impact to project-based activities?
Although a sensitive question, we all recognized the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on project-based activities. Whether related to RIF’s (reduction in force) actions, project freezes, virtualization, the great resignation, or the like.

However, as many organizations are rebooting and recovering their project initiatives, should we be concerned that a new wave of project impacts are coming our way due to the mandates? What have you seen, or what do you foresee?
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From my perspective, my employer is looking to let go (discharge from service) several thousand folks who don't comply with vaccination mandates. As far as impacts go, many of these folks are the front-line individuals who execute projects or sustain operations in ways automation (AI or ML) can't.

I foresee a reshuffling of projects to help senior leaders/management prioritize what projects have the biggest ROI. It'll force many folks to more closely scrutinize minor actions that could widely impact the triple constraints.
George -

I'd say that most employers which are mandating vaccinations for all full time staff are providing reasonable time frames to get vaccinated so PMs can take the time to plan risk responses based on their estimates of how many of their team members may be unvaccinated.

One strategy would be to work with sponsors or other funding bodies to boost contingency reserves to enable the use of contract or part-time staff to enable projects to continue with minimal impact.

However, I'd suggest that this overall topic is better addressed at a portfolio management level by the governance committee. This is no different than an unexpected organizational cost constraint which might require the committee to suspend certain projects to free up staff and funds for higher priority ones.

Kiron
I do not see any issue in our business. Almost everyone is fully vaccinated.
I have seen on the order of about 3-5% of employees who are choosing termination/unpaid leave over complying with the mandate. At those levels, I think the risk is more due to who you lose, than raw percentages of the total population.

If you have a small team, losing one person can have a big affect, especially if it is someone with hard to replace skills. That's true though under any circumstances due to illness, family circumstances, or other personal risk factors. Part of risk management is often trying to prevent the loss of one person from being a show-stopper through having trained backups like the understudy in a theater group.

Meanwhile, I have seen something like 3% turnover across the entire workforce in a single fiscal quarter. People are finding better jobs, working less, retiring earlier, etc. as they have had time to think during the pandemic disruption.

That is huge by comparison so I think considering the risk of losing employees (especially critical skills), is very important right now, with vaccine mandates being only one part of a much larger issue.
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1 reply by George Freeman
Nov 10, 2021 1:08 PM
George Freeman
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The anxiety I sense in management, definitely relates to the potential (some already realized) of losing resources with “critical skills.” However, as you stated, the turnover rate has increased in general due to pandemic influences.
Nov 09, 2021 10:40 AM
Replying to Keith Novak
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I have seen on the order of about 3-5% of employees who are choosing termination/unpaid leave over complying with the mandate. At those levels, I think the risk is more due to who you lose, than raw percentages of the total population.

If you have a small team, losing one person can have a big affect, especially if it is someone with hard to replace skills. That's true though under any circumstances due to illness, family circumstances, or other personal risk factors. Part of risk management is often trying to prevent the loss of one person from being a show-stopper through having trained backups like the understudy in a theater group.

Meanwhile, I have seen something like 3% turnover across the entire workforce in a single fiscal quarter. People are finding better jobs, working less, retiring earlier, etc. as they have had time to think during the pandemic disruption.

That is huge by comparison so I think considering the risk of losing employees (especially critical skills), is very important right now, with vaccine mandates being only one part of a much larger issue.
The anxiety I sense in management, definitely relates to the potential (some already realized) of losing resources with “critical skills.” However, as you stated, the turnover rate has increased in general due to pandemic influences.

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