Vacation time is a scarce and precious commodity for most employees. When we use it, we want to make the most of it. The picture here is me with my children in New Zealand a few years ago. We saved and planned for a long time for that trip – including banking the vacation time we’d need. But employees who have paid vacation time off aren’t just using it for vacations.
For many workers, the need for that time isn’t so much about multi-week trips as it is about having the means to get their work done while still having the flexibility to attend to personal priorities. They’re using it to take care of obligations in their lives that occur during working hours – from child and elder care to visiting city hall when it’s open.
Unlimited vacation time is still a rare benefit, with fewer than 2% of US organizations offering it to their workers according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2016 Employee Benefits report. Organizations who do implement unlimited leave need to prepare both employees and managers for that change.
In the absence of a policy that limits vacation leave, some managers may feel ill prepared to manage leave fairly across their teams. Employees may be unsure as to how much leave is too much – and some may end up taking even less leave than before. On the upside, in organizations where high trust exists between employees and managers, the flexibility that is possible with unlimited vacation leave helps to drive engagement and retention.
I recently interviewed two of our board members who have deep insight on this topic. Sharlyn Lauby, also known as the HR Bartender, talks to lots of HR leaders who are contemplating this change. Dave Almeda, Chief People Officer at Kronos, is already a year into the implementation of an unlimited vacation policy at Kronos. Listen in below while we discuss:
- What are the benefits of unlimited vacation time?
- How should organizations prepare for this change? How did Kronos do so?
- What are the biggest challenges this change presents?
- How do you train managers to have these conversations with employees; i.e. balancing employee requests for time off with productivity objectives?
- How does this work in jobs that require presence vs. those that can be done on a laptop?
Listen in on our conversation then add your own comments. Have you considered this policy at your organization? If you haven’t implemented this change, why not? If you have, what are the benefits? What would you have done differently?
Earlier this year, we conducted a global research project with Coleman Parkes Research to dig into the drivers behind employee engagement – and what a lack of engagement may be costing organizations.
One of the key findings from this research is that in the US, the average worker spends 3.4 hours per week on tasks that are not core to his or her core job role. These are tasks that are generally low value and administrative in nature. The opportunity cost of this no-value work adds up to $1,518 per employee per year in the US – for a total of $687 billion across the American workforce.
Other world regions are similarly impacted:
- China: $522 billion;
- Germany: $144.6 billion;
- France: $79 billion;
- United Kingdom: $78 billion;
- Canada: $66 billion;
- Australia and New Zealand: $35 billion;
- Netherlands: $34 billion;
- Belgium: $16.5 billion; and
- Mexico: $2.2 billion.
For more details about what the study revealed, you can access the full US report here.
To learn more about the study and the insights it reveals about drivers of employee engagement, you can view a replay of a webinar of my conversation with Research Director Ian Parkes here.
In this webinar, co-sponsored by HR Executive, we discuss the following topics:
- The increasing complexity of working life and the impact on employee engagement
- The high opportunity cost of time wasted on non-job-related administrative tasks
- How outdated technology is hindering employee productivity and engagement
- Why executives and HR need to focus on building a culture of engagement
Please tune in, then share your ideas about how to improve employee engagement by commenting here.
I recently had the opportunity to moderate a panel discussion at the SHINE Senior Care HR Executive Summit. The panel was entitled “The Trifecta Tsunami – Minimum Wage, Overtime, Living Wage, and Paid Leave. Senior Care and the New Normal”. Yes, the title is a mouthful. And it’s an important topic for any labor dependent business.
Wage stagnation and income inequality are pervasive topics in the media. Wage initiatives at the local, state and federal levels are putting pressure on labor costs that create challenges both from a financial and administrative standpoint. And organizations can’t pass all these increases along to their clients. Recruiting and retention are impacted. Organizations are challenged to find enough workers, with adequate education and training, to fill their jobs.
In the senior living industry, talent truly is everything. From dining to clinical staff, it takes a lot of people with a strong service ethic to make these organizations successful. The jobs can be tough, and often the employees they need can often find equivalent or higher wages at jobs that are easier to perform. Seniors and their families in many cases are literally trusting these providers with their lives, and have high expectations of the service levels from providers.
The panelists I interviewed are all leaders in Senior Living organizations, and all face these challenges:
- Denise Rabidoux, President and CEO EHM Senior Solutions
- Lynne Katzmann, President and CEO Juniper Communities
- Dana Ullom-Vucelich, CHRO, Ohio Presbyterian
- Matt Broman, Director HR, ERA Living
They are all executing strategies to pay competitive – and compliant – wages while still meeting their overall financial objectives. You can listen in to our conversation by clicking on the podcast link below. The first minute or so was cut off, however the opening remarks are captured in the text above.
- What is your philosophy on raising wages significantly? Are you rising to the minimums required or getting ahead of that curve?
- What specific challenges do you face and what strategic measures are you taking when managing the “trifecta” impact of living/minimum wage increases, FSLA overtime rules changing and paid time off?
- How do considerations of talent recruitment impact your wage strategy?
- What strategies are you employing to mitigate the pressures of rising labor costs while retaining the right people?