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IMA Human Resources Blog

What Does Your Vacation Policy Say to New Hires?

by Joe Lopykinski

The Overture Group is an IMA B2B Partner

Vacation time. All companies offer it, but many times it can become a sticking point during hiring negotiations because there are still many companies out there who wish to stick with older, outdated corporate vacation policies.

We have found that candidates are placing an even higher degree of importance on the amount of vacation time they receive than ever before. Some candidates are even willing to forego some of their salary in order to get an extra week’s worth of vacation time. So why do some companies still insist on offering one or two weeks of vacation for all newly hired employees regardless of years of experience or title?

Concerns when considering a more liberal vacation policy

Our policy has always been this way. It would be unfair to employees who are already here. They all started with the same amount of vacation that we are offering to you.

This may have been fine in the past, but savvy candidates recognize what other companies are offering and do not feel that they should have to settle for less.

In other cases, they may already be earning that third or fourth week of vacation now and would have to reduce their vacation to accept the position. Being asked to begin at a lesser amount of vacation time is not only demoralizing, but it could potentially result in losing out on a great candidate.

An additional week of vacation would cost our company $XXX in time away from work.

When they take vacation, are they truly 100% disengaged from work? Many executive level employees still carve out a small window of time to answer critical questions at the beginning or end of their vacation days.

It isn’t only being able to take vacation that is important, it is the peace of mind that it provides to the employee. Earlier statistics support that the average US employee chooses to forego four days of vacation per year. In other words, many of the days in that “extra offered week” end up going unused.

It would be too difficult for our company to change our vacation policy at this time.

The question that companies should ask themselves is whether it may be too costly NOT to do so, especially if their competitors are offering more vacation than they are.  That additional offered week could be packaged as an additional perk that your competition is unwilling to offer.

Why companies SHOULD offer ample vacation time to newly hired candidates:

The main reason to offer that extra week of vacation is that time off reduces burnout, stress and the risk of heart disease. Statistics have shown that people who take vacations have reduced stress, a better outlook on life and a higher level of motivation when they return to work. Stress and burnout are among the leading reasons why employees leave their previous employer. If that isn’t enough reason, here are a few more:

  1. It sends a message that they value the candidate’s work/life balance. Asking a candidate to accept less than they received before sends a message to the contrary.
  2. Most employees come back from vacation better rested and more creative – ready to tackle work’s challenges. Job issues that once seemed unsolvable prior to their time away now appear easier.
  3. Time away from work allows people to deepen their relationships with others outside of work, and a happier employee is a better and more productive one.

In closing, there are many reasons why companies should be willing to offer an extra week of vacation when constructing an attractive offer to candidates. Candidates are more savvy than ever before and want to work for companies that are cutting edge and offer progressive benefits. The proper amount of vacation time is one of those benefits. Don’t be left behind!

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