When it comes to paid vacation, the U.S. and Canada don’t get it. Giving two weeks paid vacation to employees says you’re a mediocre employer, at best. In fact, most people would never work for someone for years if they knew they only got two weeks of vacation.
Two weeks of paid vacation is particularly hard to swallow if you characterize your company as being “like a family.” Really? You call that family.
Would you really want your siblings or parents only getting two weeks of vacation? You know that would really suck. So, don’t do it.
European and Australian employers give five to six weeks’ vacation. The argument in the 1980s used to be, “Yeah, but look at the productivity of Americans—they only give two weeks of paid vacation!”But we can’t in good faith argue that point anymore. Productivity has declined because we give our employees less and expect more, and that has to change.
The companies attracting and retaining the most qualified employees all give more vacation than their mediocre counterparts.
If you really want to be a great employer, here is one easy way to do it that doesn’t cost you any more money that you spend on people today: Give all of your full time employees five (yes, five) weeks’ vacation. Include sick days in those five weeks off. In addition to those five paid weeks’ vacation, they obviously still get the other statutory government holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Day and so on.
Why does this work?Vacation time that includes sick days means employees won’t come into work as often when they are sick. They know they have enough time off to cover those days, so they won’t come in and infect everyone else. The number of sick days per year for your company will drop. You are also going to find that the only people who don’t love this are the people who smoke or are unhealthy and perpetually sick. Well, you don’t want them on your bus anyway.
No one is going to quit. Why would they? Where else can they get such a great vacation package? With lower attrition rates and increased retention of employees, your employee training costs drop.
Everyone knows that the most productive day at the office is the day before vacation. So the more vacation you give people, the more days they’ll have those “before vacation” productivity gains.
Give all employees the same vacation time, too, otherwise if you give tenured staff more vacation time you’re saying, “we like them more than we like you.” Not a good move.
For more information on this topic, check out: Building a World Class Culture.