Flu vaccine risk management

Summer’s over and cold and flu season is upon us. My friend, Tim, told me about a phone call he received a couple of weeks ago from a health care organization offering to immunize his staff with the flu vaccine. Tim got a quote and found out it would cost between $15-$20 per employee (fixed and variable costs), for those who want to get the flu shot. Of course anyone can get the flu shot themselves, on their own time, but for less than $1000 he could immunize an estimated third of his staff, provide the added convenience of bringing the service in-house to very busy people.

I pointed out to Tim that this was pretty good risk management. An average operations person earning $50000 per year, costs the company about $1000 per week. When the operations guy is home with the flu for a week, then that’s $1000 the company is paying him with zero productivity in return. The ROI seems pretty straightforward. Slam dunk. Quick win. Make it so Number One.

Tim called to tell me that his organization determined there was no budget for the flu shot this year. Good thing there are bottles of hand-sanitizer all over the place.

FAIL.

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