Using Vacation Time and Leave Perks to Increase Employee Retention

Vacations and Flexible Leave May Mean More for Staff Retention Than a Fatter Pay Check Ever Will

Using Vacation Time and Leave Perks to Increase Employee Retention.pngA study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reveals that a big paycheck is no longer a major motivation for employees wanting to stay at their current workplaces. This shift is a result of the increasing number of millenials in the job market. These types of employees value their work/life balance and are quick to move to an organization that fulfills this desire. As an employer, you can retain your best talents through attractive vacation perks and work schedules to give them enough time to spend with their families.

 

Work Life Balance is More Popular Than Ever

Modern employees want to work to live not live to work

Employees who live to work think of their careers or employment as the core source of satisfaction in their lives. This attitude is reflective of the thin line between work and life as far as the affected employees are concerned. In contrast, employees who work to live perceive their careers as a source of livelihood through which they acquire their basic needs. This attitude represents an even balance between work and life where such employees often have their real interests elsewhere.

The live-to-work attitude was predominant among the workforce of yesteryears but most modern employees have adopted the work-to-live attitude. A 2017 survey by Benefits Pro magazine reveals that 40 percent of the respondents noted that work/life balance is an influential factor in employee happiness. In light of this finding, it is important that you provide your employees with a work environment that affords them an equal work/life balance.

 

Savvy employees are more interested in lifestyle design than bank balances

Anushka Asthana from the Guardian refers to a survey in 2008, which should further enlighten you on where the priorities of the newest crop of employees lie. Better known as Generation Y, this crop of employees consist of teenagers and young adults who previously witnessed their parents struggle to balance their work and personal lives. Most of the 2500 respondents interviewed in the survey stated that they were willing to quit their jobs if they were not fun and fulfilling.

From the perspective of millenials, a fun and fulfilling career places greater value on opportunities for holidays as well as time off to participate in charity ventures. Thus, when scouting the job market for savvy employees, you ought to tailor your organization’s unique selling point to reflect the needs of these job seekers who do not consider better remuneration as their sole motivation for accepting a job offer. These selling points may include opportunities for teleworking, longer periods for family leave and flexible working hours.

 

Organizations Who Are Flexible With Leave Keep Employees Happier

One of the core fears pessimists have expressed over flexibility of leave periods is that certain employees may exploit this opportunity to do their own things instead of working from home. These pessimists also note that such a flexible schedule is dependent on trust between the employer and his/her employees. However, studies have revealed that flexible leave is a critical factor for enhancing employee happiness and productivity.

A report by the Corporate Voices for Working Families in 2011 identified various benefits that you can enjoy when you provide employees with a flexible leave schedule. A standout benefit is that this flexibility makes your employees happier at work due to job satisfaction. Another study by a Fortune 500 company in 2016 corroborates this fact by revealing that employees with flexible leave schedules feel more empowered by their superiors and have enough time to spend with their respective families. Flexibility spares your employees from psychological stress and burnout by affording them time to refresh their minds.

 

If Cash Flow Doesn’t Allow for Increased Salaries Then Increased Leave May be Just as Good

A situation where the revenues of an organization are not sufficient to increase employee salaries has become common in many companies. A 2011 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reveals that the hard economic times had prevented over three-quarters of organizations from increasing their employees’ salaries. Instead, most organizations were now transferring the responsibility of managing retirement savings, health care expenses and leave to their employees.

Worry not if you find yourself in this situation because other perks, such as workplace flexibility can compensate for the inability to increase remuneration. Such perks include telecommuting, increased leave periods and flexible schedules, which provide your employees with the chance to concentrate on work-unrelated activities. A case in point is Google, which increased its paid maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks and subsequently witnessed a 50 percent drop in the number of new mothers quitting their jobs.

 

It Doesn’t Have to be as Drastic as a Month Off

Can be small and simple

Increased leave does not mean that you should make drastic increases in the number of leave days to the extent of hampering your organization’s operations. The trick is to provide a flexible leave perk that gives them the freedom to take their leave at their most convenient period within a working year. Combining the vacation time and sick leave into a Paid Time Off (PTO) is a plausible option you can pursue to boost employee retention. Increasing the number of leave days under PTO will further sweeten the perk as it gives employees more time off from work without losing their remuneration.

 

Make them comfortable & aware of the idea that they can occasionally leave work earlier to get to a social engagement

Without the management’s support, flexible work schedules can reduce visibility of employees and increase isolation, which then affects career progression and productivity. A study conducted in 2014 reveals that the use of PTO among American employees has decreased drastically over the last 40 years. One of the key reasons for the minimal use of PTO is the feeling among most employees that their organizational culture discourages vacations.

Some employees may avoid using their PTO to prove to you their job dedication or out of the fear of coming back to a huge workload. Assuage these fears by constantly reminding your employees on the need to take some time off work to refresh themselves. You can also communicate your organization’s policy on vacation in your employee handbook.

 

Say yes to a self-declared long weekend more often

As the senior-most figure in the organization, it is important to walk the talk by taking some time off from work to relax. This involves a self-declared long weekend during which you should avoid immersing yourself in work issues – except in urgent cases. For example, set an automatic “out of office” email notification to inform your contacts of your unavailability. Avoid making work-related phone calls or responding to emails while on vacation.

Employee retention should be a key focus of your organization because employees are the most valuable assets. Their efforts will boost the value of your organization and enable it to attain its targets. Work flexibility and leave perks are tools that you can effectively use to retain your best employees.

 

This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice.  Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.

 

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Michelle Nystrom
Michelle Nystrom
Recruiter, people enthusiast, career match maker. I specialize in helping people see and reach their full potential, find meaningful work, connecting candidates and companies, and some HR on the side just for fun. Life should be lived at full speed, preferably in the great outdoors, and nothing should be left on the table. Literally. I love food.

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