Mark Miller | VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International

Mark Miller | VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International

We previously partnered with Software Advice HR Analyst Kyle Lagunas on a blog and we’re excited to have HR Market Analyst Erin Osterhaus back to weigh in on another key topic in the HR world—Vacation Time and Employee Satisfaction!

We all love vacation, but how many of us can even take the time off we’re allotted? And, with recent news like the Yahoo work-from-home debate coming to the forefront, how do you balance employee satisfaction and engagement with paid time off and working from home?

And, how does this relate into the brain? Does a one-size-fits-all vacation policy work, given the cognitive diversity in the way employees think about their work and life. What may appeal to a Structural Thinker (knowing exactly how much time they have to take off and being able to monitor and plan accordingly) may seem stifling to those who think Conceptually (I want to know I can go on vacation…maybe I’ll take a long two-week jaunt to Europe or maybe I’ll end up not taking vacation at all!).

The point is that organizations need to figure out how to get the best from their employees by understanding what motivates them to work harder, be happier, stay with the company, and maximize productivity.

Do you even need a vacation policy?

A “no-policy” vacation policy is an emerging trend in companies across the US. These companies have abolished the traditional vacation plan in which employees were either given a set number of days off, or accrued paid time off (PTO) the longer they worked for the organization.

Instead, some employers have granted their staff–with the approval of their managers–the freedom to decide when and for how long to take time off. These companies have, in essence, an “unlimited” paid time off (PTO) policy.

While such policies still aren’t common – only one percent of companies in the United States offer them – proponents of limitless vacation days claim that by giving employees the liberty to choose their work schedule, morale, productivity, and employee satisfaction and retention has improved. And there is also the added perk of lowered HR administration costs due to time saved not tracking vacation days.

However, for each supposed benefit of an unlimited PTO policy, there is also a flip-side. Abuse of the policy could lead to lowered productivity if employees took more time off than needed. Changing to an unlimited vacation policy for all employees might cause resentment among more senior staff who previously had to work for their vacation days, while junior staff may have less incentive to stay with the company for the long-term.

With these factors in mind, is an unlimited PTO policy something you should consider for your company? Software Advice weighs all these factors, and more, on its HR blog, The New Talent Times, in order to help you determine the best course of action to increase employee satisfaction.