Retaining Gen Y By Loosening The Vacation Purse Strings

Generation Y Retention Strategy

Annual leave and vacation time has always been a draw to a specific job. Companies who loosen the purse strings and offer more than your average annual days typically have a lower staff turnaround purely because the anxiety/stress levels are lower and health of employees is better. It’s an attraction; an incentive for employees to stay with a specific company.

So why do more companies not do this?

Companies seem to comply with the law and stick to the status quo and norm; failing to stray from the box and offer something a little different. Of course there are your stand out companies who do things a little different. I wrote about the unlimited annual leave strategy which is adventurous and most probably not realistic for all but for digital start up’s like Netflix it seems to work.

Businesses are desperate to attract and retain the best Generation Y talent purely because they are the business leaders of the future. As boomers begin to retire millennials will take the helm so large corps want the cream of the crop within their establishment. It makes sense. What does not make sense is the retention strategy.

Let’s look at Generation Y values and understand what makes them tick. Millennial characteristics, values and traits typically consist of the following:

: Love to travel
: Family orientated
: Work Life balance

Why don’t we then take those traits and mirror them with the average number of paid vacation days given a year to employees in each country. These numbers are averages and actually depend on seniority. Companies typically have a tier approach where the longer you are with an organisation the more holidays you get so the numbers are most probably higher than the amount of holidays a typical millennial gets.

1. United States of America – 13 days
2. Belgium – 20 days
3. Japan – 25 days
4. Korea – 25 days
5. Canada – 26 days
6. United Kingdom – 28 days
7. Australia – 28 days
8. Brazil – 34 days
9. Austria – 35 days (42 for elderly)
10. Germany – 35 days
11. France – 37 days
12. Italy – 42 days

Source: VP Calendar

As somebody living in the UK the standout shock for me is the level of annual leave given to those in the US. 13 days doesn’t allow your typical 2 week vacation and family time within the festive period. It doesn’t provide the time for someone to step away from the sometimes unforgiving work environment and recharge the batteries.

So what’s happening?

Millennials are straying from the norm of corporate jobs as these restrictions don’t fit their life aspirations. The traits are clear for all large businesses to see yet they continue not to act upon it. Millennials on the other hand are choosing alternative ways to lead these lifestyle.

Some are world travelling while working remotely, others are running home businesses which actively fit around their life goals. As a generation we will continue to move away from the ‘perceived’ security these jobs offer and design our own lifestyles.

What should companies do?

It’s simple. Listen. If you’re wanting to develop and adapt with the change of your workforce then do it. There’s a new generation who would prefer a more balanced work life. More holidays to spend time with their family, recharge their batteries and enjoy what they do. These things both come hand in hand with one another.

There’s less of a focus on pensions, hugely inflated salaries and bonus schemes and more of a focus on life happiness. It’s simple; loosen the purse strings and implement a more employee focused vacation policy.

Allow employees more time to travel the world, see family members and friends. Give them a little more freedom to be inspired. Having a strict, traditional annual leave policy sticking to the ‘laws’ shows a company lacking flexibility, a company not listening to global trends and predictions.

This doesn’t mean changing everything your business stands for. Implement something realistic which matches your company’s objectives, seasonal trends and peak times. Implement something which works for you and your employee’s. They are the lifeblood of your business and to attract and retain the best you need to offer a little more.

Loosen the purse strings and attract the best.

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.


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