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Unlimited Paid Vacation Policy; Removing The Productivity Perception

Unlimited paid vacations? Where do I sign up?

It sounds too good to be true but this is the reality that some companies are taking to target the cream of the crop in the war for digital talent. Silicon valley start up’s are abolishing the traditional accrual policy and leaning towards the employee friendly paid time off policy. It may sound bananas but those who have implemented the new strategy have hailed its success.  We all strive for flexibility in the workplace and this new scheme puts the flexibility in the hands of the workers and gives managers a breather from holiday admin sheets. Let’s be real, how many managers actually successfully keep up with those sheets and realistically how much of a waste of time is holiday admin on business deliverables.

Psychological studies have shown that long hours and zero holidays result in people becoming ill easier, poor productivity and family rows. Who wants a family where you hardly see the Father because he’s always in the office? Now this new approach may seem like a PR stunt but isn’t this really how all organisations should operate?  Let’s first list some of the players currently operating this unlimited holiday’s policy.

Evernote
Netflicks
Zynga
IBM

Now we are not talking ‘Small’ organisations here. We have some real big players who are adopting this strategy. But is this a realistic strategy and what do the companies gain from this? A lot in my opinion. There are many who will read this and think it’s absolutely bogus. But take off the archaic rose tinted sunglasses for a minute and think about the real benefits you could gain from this. The organisations we are talking about here only want to hire the best. Don’t come at me with the notion ‘But what if someone takes three months off in a year’. We know this isn’t going to happen. These companies have a robust interview series which takes real knowledge to actually get the job in the first place and they only hire the passionate go getter types. It’s not a one size fits all strategy. It’s a strategy for real digital savvy companies who want to keep their employee’s engaged.

Here’s some of the main benefits I can draw from this for the company:

: Employee respect
: Refreshed employee’s
: Huge interest in job openings
: Inspired, engaged employee’s
: Hiring great people
: Losing another administration nightmare
: Holiday entitlement not required if somebody leaves the organisation

Why more companies should adopt this idea:

Unlimited paid vacation policy is another step towards making work better for the employee. Should all companies not strive for this as long as business objectives are not compromised? This gives the manager a real platform to work on strategic deliverables for each employee which need to be met. Employee’s not pulling their weight will unfortunately not fit into the long term future of the organisation. It’s the simple ill scratch your back if you scratch mine mentality.

But this scheme should inspire them to want to work and be passionate about the organisation and its long term strategy. I personally see the vision and understand why more companies are adopting this approach to holidays. Why shouldn’t Judy be allowed Tuesday off work at short notice if she’s pulled a 12 hour day on Monday and delivered 10k’s worth of sales? Let’s not judge work by the hours you are in the office but by what you deliver. There’s been this perception too long in business and essentially we need to remove this. I think vacation based perks can help remove this perception that just because someone is punctual and at his desk 9-5 automatically means he’s pulling his weight. It doesn’t.

I think unlimited holidays throws down the gauntlet for some organisations to introduce the ROWE philosophy (Results-Only Work Environment) , in which workers are look at what workers actually achieve as opposed to the amount of hours they clock on. Companies need to be smarter with their employee’s and by offering these types of incentives you attract a better calibre of candidate, a happier workforce and a focused workforce.

Within the right organisation with the right mentality the introduction of ROWE and Unlimited paid holidays could have a really positive effect on both the organisations future and its staff. Do I think companies will start to adopt this approach? Probably not. Most companies just don’t have to vision to do this nor do people want to get their hands dirty and try something different. Unfortunately I see this as a net start up policy only.

Make work less of a prison and we’ll inspire change. Until then work will always be classed as the 9-5 grind.

Articles to read:

The subject is fascinating to me and  I hope it is to you. If you want to read more on this then the following features are all well worth a read.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/07/31/the-vacation-paradox-why-some-companies-are-paying-workers-to-go-away/
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-19/to-recruit-techies-companies-offer-unlimited-vacation
http://mashable.com/2012/04/13/netflix-unlimited-vacation/
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/unlimited-vacation-time-ultimate-benefit-160807503.html
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443713704577603302382190374.html

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 GenerationY.com 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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