UPDATE: June 11, 2021: Wells Fargo will confidentially survey its U.S. employees over their vaccination status, the bank said in a memo Thursday, according to Business Insider.
Chief Operating Officer Scott Powell asked workers to reply by June 16, adding that the answers will not be shared with respondents' managers, and that the bank will not use the data on a person-by-person basis but rather as analysis of trends across job types, regions and business groups.
Wells Fargo executives told U.S. employees in March to expect to continue working from home until Sept. 6. That date — the Labor Day holiday — is a benchmark Deutsche Bank is also using for its U.S.-based workforce.
"To better inform our planning for returning to the workplace, we are asking U.S. employees to voluntarily take a brief survey regarding COVID-19 vaccination status and plans,” a Wells Fargo spokesperson told Business Insider in an email. “The data collected will be used as an aggregate only, not on a person-by-person level, and responses will be confidential.”
Goldman Sachs this week required its U.S. employees to log their vaccination status in the investment bank’s app-based system.
UPDATE: June 10, 2021: Goldman Sachs’s U.S. employees must report their COVID-19 vaccination status by noon Thursday, the bank wrote in a memo this week, according to The New York Times.
“Registering your vaccination status allows us to plan for a safer return to the office for all of our people as we continue to abide by local public health measures,” the bank wrote. “As a result, it is mandatory that you submit your vaccination status on the Canopy app, whether or not you are vaccinated.”
Asking employees for their vaccination status is legal, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as long as the data is kept confidential.
Goldman employees don’t need to show proof of vaccination but will need to record the date they received their shots and the manufacturer of the vaccine, the memo indicated.
“While we strongly encourage you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, we understand that the choice to get vaccinated is a personal one,” the memo read.
The bank told employees last month that they could go maskless in the Manhattan office if they reported their vaccination status. This week’s memo made clear that disclosing vaccination status was no longer optional.
Goldman had asked its U.S. employees in early May to prepare to return to the office June 14.
Goldman Sachs is asking U.S. employees to prepare to return to the office by June 14, according to a Tuesday memo seen by the Financial Times.
"We know from experience that our culture of collaboration, innovation and apprenticeship thrives when our people come together, and we look forward to having more of our colleagues back in the office so that they can experience that once again on a regular basis," the bank's three top executives wrote in the memo, according to the publication.
The news comes on a day when an Accenture survey found that 78% of 400 North American financial-services executives would prefer that employees work four or five days a week in the office after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, nearly 70% of executives responding to the Accenture survey said they think their company's office policies may hinder them in competing for talent. Most referenced the difficulty in training newer or younger workers.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, in a forum Tuesday with The Wall Street Journal's top editor, took that view a step further.
Working exclusively from home "doesn't work for young people," Dimon said Tuesday, according to Reuters. "It doesn't work for those who want to hustle. It doesn't work for spontaneous idea generation. It doesn't work for culture."
The nation's largest bank last week said it's opening its U.S. offices to all employees May 17, while adhering to a 50% occupancy cap. The bank's operating committee said it would expect all U.S.-based employees to be in the office on a consistent rotational schedule by early July.
Rob Dicks, Accenture's talent and organization lead for capital markets, told Bloomberg it's crucial that banks "work through the 'why' messaging" before pitching office returns.
"You've seen the senior executives sitting in their office and there's nobody behind them," said Laurie McGraw, managing director of Accenture's North America capital markets industry team. "And then you see the entry-level folks starved for in-person interaction because they need to be coached on a more regular basis. And then there's the vast middle that's content to be home."
In Goldman's memo Tuesday, executives said the bank would host 5,400 interns and junior bankers at its locations over the next few months so they could experience "living our culture first-hand." CEO David Solomon, for one, has long insisted on avoiding a second summer of virtual internships.
Goldman said Tuesday it was "committed" to giving employees flexibility, and invited employees who were unable to meet the return-to-work timeline to address it with their managers.
Dimon, in the forum, touted the value of business travel, saying he was “brimming with ideas” he wouldn’t have gotten through Zoom meetings after a trip to California last year. He also pointed to times when JPMorgan lost business to rivals, and clients had told him it was because “bankers from the other guys visited, and ours didn’t."
"Well, that’s a lesson,” Dimon said, according to CNBC.
Dimon also detailed a "nasty" note he received from an employee's spouse — "about 'How can you make him go back?'" he said of the office-return push.
"But that's life," Dimon said. “It’s got to work for the clients. It’s not about whether it works for me, and I have to compete.
"Yes, people don't like commuting, but so what?" he added. "We want people back at work, and my view is, some time in September, October, it will look just like it did before, and everyone's going to be happy with it."