From Around the World: Vacation Policies
Being a talent advisor has never been easy. You have a major say in what goes on in the company, who comes aboard and who has to walk the plank. That is a lot of power if truth be told, and as Uncle Ben told Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. Of those aforementioned responsibilities, one of the most important has to be that of maintaining a continual awareness of trends related to the changing needs and wants of the masses (we mean the workforce). This is necessary to ensure that your company is able to attract, recruit and retain the right talent.
But what is it that today’s workforce wants? Of course they want more money (who would say no to that?), but according to an Accountemps research, the thing that employees want most is “more time off”. This makes “more vacation days” rank ahead of better benefits, more working hours flexibility, additional training and even free food at work.
Though, another contradictory fact states that a lot of the employees don’t use all of their paid vacation days. Sometimes they are saving up their paid days for an emergency or they are just so dedicated to work that an off sounds like blasphemy to them. There is a direct correlation between those who have more unused paid time off days and those who have been reported as feeling “stressed” at work. So we now bring to you, four fun vacation policies from companies around the world, policies that make sure that the employees take their leaves and enjoy them. Feel free to get “inspired” by any of them.
1. As many offs as you can take
Silicon Valley startups and some high-profile companies have started a new concept of “unlimited vacation days”. This policy makes it possible for the employees to take as many off days as they want, with the only condition that their work is completed as per the deadlines. Earlier this policy had been the domain of tech startups and small, niche businesses, until bigger companies like Virgin America and Tribune Publishing decided to give it a try. Even now, a rather small percentage of companies have been brave enough to offer unlimited vacation time. There have of course been a few failures with this policy, including that of the Tribune Publishing, but quite a number of companies like Netfix, Hubspot, and Virgin America have reported success with this policy.
2. Make them take the off days!
Every employee can probably relate to this – you feel a weird obligation to take less off days than your boss does or less off days than the other people on your team. You don’t want to seem weak and if they can do it, so can you. So that makes unlimited vacation days rather redundant. If your employees aren’t ready to take them, what use is unlimited vacation? To address this concern, some companies have started providing guidelines in regard to how much time is “expected” to be taken as an off. They have even started incentivizing minimum vacation time amounts. For example, Hubspot, in addition to its unlimited vacation policy, has a mandatory two-week vacation policy.
3. Pay for a paid vacation
If you have really stubborn employees who still won’t take the time off, there is still more to be done. You can follow the lead of companies like Evernote, they encourage their employees to take at least a full week of vacation at a time and offer a $1,000 bonus for doing so. Then there are companies like FullContact, which pay their employees $7,500 to go on a vacation (on top of their paid vacation), the only condition of which is that the employee commits to disconnect and not work while they are on vacation. Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz and the current “Wizard of Moz” states that the benefits to the company and to the employee outweigh such incurred costs.
4. Summer Hours
If your company is not yet ready to go all the way and start dolling out unlimited vacation time or vacation bonuses, you can opt for an easier route. Offer your employees summer office hours. Offered during the summer months (May, June or July), this allows the employees to shorten their workweek and have Friday afternoons off, to use as they will. The shortened week is a very popular benefit that is well received by potential candidates as well.
Office culture today demands that employers provide workplaces that not only facilitate productivity but also encourage them to disconnect and refresh. Sometimes a simple thing as a customized vacation policy might just be the key to increased productivity and profitability that ultimately spells out success!