Unlimited Vacation Days: Treat Employees Like Adults

If you’re looking to improve your company culture and impact employee retention, it’s time to consider dropping your standard vacation day policy and taking a more flexible route. The unlimited vacation day honor system is sparking a wave of positive interest across companies and industries.

Many companies like Best Buy, Netflix, Evernote, Zynga, Red Front Events, and even my Web marketing agency Ciplex have all made the transition to unlimited vacation days–and it’s time for you to do the same. In fact, the average American employee leaves two unused paid vacation days every year.

Still on the fence? Take a look at some of the benefits of offering unlimited vacation time:

1. Establishes employee responsibility. Break away from the fear of being faced with an empty office, mountains of work, and unhappy customers–your staff may surprise you with their use of their new freedom. Offering unlimited vacation days is one way to show your employees you trust and respect them.

2. Acts as a recruiting perk. Are you looking to expand? One of the best ways to gain the interest of potential job candidates is to tout your perks. In fact, nearly half of working adultsreported they would be willing to give up some percentage of their salary for more flexibility at work.

3. Keep employees engaged and productive. Allowing your employees to take time off when they need it most encourages a more productive work environment. Instead of working when their minds are elsewhere, they’ll be able to give you their full attention.

4. Eliminates a sense of hierarchy. Does upper-level management have more flexibility with their PTO? Stop hierarchy in its tracks by giving your entire staff a fair shot at a flexible schedule.

Transitioning may still seem impossible, but I can assure you it’s not. Drop your fear of change and stop making your employees keep tabs in order to travel or fulfill personal commitments. Use the following steps to help you transition:

Step 1: Survey Your Employees

Get a feel for what your employees really want before you make the transition to unlimited vacation days. Start by educating them on what exactly unlimited vacation days are: a highly-flexible paid-time-off policy, not a free-for-all. Give your employees the necessary information to get them onboard and then send out a brief survey to get a feel for their interest.

Step 2: Craft Your Policy

At Ciplex, we offer unlimited PTO, not just vacation days. It’s up to you to create a policy most suited to your company’s needs–create a standalone vacation policy or add it onto the current PTO policy that includes both sick days and flextime.

Step 3: Establish Requirements

For a successful unlimited vacation day policy, you’re going to have to develop some basic rules. Start by requiring team approval — not just manager approval — for any employee interested in taking vacation days or PTO, set up a standard amount of advance notice for taking vacation days, a limited number of consecutive weeks of leave, and potentially frozen times of the year where a full staff of employees is crucial.

Step 4: Carefully Track Performance

If you’re still worried about lost productivity, keep a close eye on the performance of your employees in conjunction with your new policy for unlimited vacation days. At my company, I noticed a boost in productivity, engagement, and overall happiness in the workplace.

Step 5: Grow Your Policy

Good things take time. Survey your employees after a few months with the policy in place and see if they have any insight worth noting.

The benefits of unlimited vacation days are endless. Make the transition today and see how quickly your employees become more productive and engaged.

Do you provide unlimited vacation days? What prompted to you to make the switch?

Image courtesy of Kevin Dooley; Flickr

About Ilya Pozin:

Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and ’30 Under 30′ entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!

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