Working in public transit means that my 65,000 co-workers and I have had access to the vaccine before many other New Yorkers. (We qualify under category 1B in the state plan.) It’s quite a wonderful perk for office types like me but absolutely essential for the frontline employees who have been working throughout the pandemic. The MTA lost over 140 workers to COVID, so this is an issue that is really personal for our workforce.
Initial vaccine supplies were limited, so MTA leadership advised those of us in the administrative ranks to let the frontline workers go first. Now that supplies are plentiful, the goal is to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.
To accomplish this, we are running a comprehensive internal communications campaign to encourage employees to get the shot, either through our on-site centers or other channels.
My favorite part of the campaign is the selfie stations, featuring campaign graphics created by my team. The idea came from our Chief Customer Officer and is modeled after similar efforts at other vaccination sites. The goal is to create a sense of celebration around each employee’s vaccination, a small but hopeful symbol of the steady march towards the end of the pandemic.
At each of our centers, a volunteer staffer is on hand to encourage and assist with selfies. We use a selection of the photos to create digital posters that play on the employee screen networks across the MTA. The idea behind this is simple: we want to normalize vaccinations and the vaccination process. The more people that are seen getting vaccinated, the more people will be encouraged that it is safe and prudent (and easy) to do so.
We’ve also been doing some social media on employee vaccinations to let the outside world know how we’re taking care of our employees. The public-facing messages also help reinforce the internal-facing efforts.
Most of the employee selfies are of folks flexing their biceps, so I felt I should do something different after my shots. I love making people laugh, even if it’s at my own expense. And especially if it’s for a good cause.