Survey: Execs back Biden’s vaccination mandate—despite fears of employee blowback

New polling data reveals broad support for the push for mandatory inoculations. But many are concerned about the long-term impact on company culture, morale and productivity.

By Robby Brumberg      @robbybrumberg      

As the White House doubles down on measures requiring companies to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated, a survey of CEOs and top-level execs, conducted by the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED), reveals mixed feelings from corporate America.

Almost two-thirds of the respondents support President Biden’s stringent new policies, but more than half expressed serious concerns about their ability to implement the mandate at their companies.

CED’s survey also portends more trouble ahead: About 30% of respondents believe the decision has negatively affected their employees and the overall company culture.

The survey gathered insights from more than 100 CEOs and board directors—approximately 90% of whom represent companies with more than $1 billion in revenue. All the respondents are from companies that meet or exceed the threshold set by the federal mandates.

Dr. Lori Esposito Murray, CED’s president, noted:

“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. 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.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

1. The majority of surveyed business leaders agree with the president’s mandate push.

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents support the new vaccination and testing requirements.
  • However, about a quarter of leaders strongly disagree with the decision.

2. Despite significant support, more than half of the business leaders surveyed believe implementation of the mandates will be difficult.

  • More than half of respondents believe it will be difficult (40.5%) or very difficult (15.3%) to successfully implement the new testing or vaccination mandate within their company.
  • Comparatively, roughly 20% feel it will be an easy lift.

3. A third of respondents say the vaccination announcement has already hurt company culture. 

  • About 30% of respondents believe the decision has negatively affected their company’s overall culture.
  • More than half feel that it has not impacted their organization’s overall culture.

Read more about CED’s research here