As an employee retention speaker and employee retention author I hear the comment, “I want more vacation” as a regular mantra from employees. I also hear it from managers and supervisors as well. Everyone wants more vacation. I can understand why. One of the things that has taken place is that our lives have gotten SO busy with going to the doctor, events with kids, elderly parent care, sick kids etc. etc. So, we spend most of our vacation time chasing around doing needed “things” as opposed to taking vacation and actually relaxing. I see people getting burnt out. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those people that thinks Europe has it right and believes in shutting down the country for 6 weeks at a time. That is part of the reason they struggle to compete in a world economy and have 10% unemployment. But, we do have to do something to alleviate what I see as a major stress point when it comes to employee retention.
The reality is that I see private industry pounding the hell out of people and people are simply running out of gas. I talk to more people that have 10 or fewer years to get to retirement and they are simply hanging on. Then, the question becomes, what is going to happen to the Gen X and Gen Y people who are coming up and have 20-30 years left???? We have to do something that deals with the time off issue. Fortunately, many people have given organizations the answer that will enable them to solve the problem. I hear more people say, “I don’t need paid vacation, I just want the time off!”
Think about it for a minute. Give them the time off. It may cost you a bit to cover part of what needs to be done when they are gone but in most cases, organizations never do and the work sits until the person on vacation returns. Let’s stop kidding ourselves, that goes on all the time particularly with managers. We really don’t take time off, we end up trading time. But, people want to be away from the organization. Give them what they want. Besides, if you are churning through people because you can’t keep them, it is probably cost effective to give them the time off without pay anyway. For that matter, people want the time off so much, they would probably “buy” the time off. I know my colleague would.
It’s time for us to start wising up and realizing that priorities of people are different and that the world is different. It is not 1940. Unless we get to the point of starting to try some of these things, we will run into the same dilemma we have been running into where people leave for more vacation. So, give it a shot and, give them more vacation!