What environments produce a happy workforce?

What environments produce a happy workforce?

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, so the impact this environment can have on our outlook, on life and health, is massive.

The average person spends a third of each and every day in their place of work, so the quality and associations of the workplace makes a real difference to the physical and mental health of employees.

Millennials make up a huge amount of the population, and they need to be represented now more than ever. By 2020, “66% of workforces will be millennials. They need a workplace that is a home away from home,” stresses Bina Mirchandani. But, this requirement can be carried across all age ranges. To get this right and to satisfy staff, there are certain measures that need to be taken. Here are some of the top considerations to make in your physical space to maximise employee engagement and satisfaction.

Getting the light right

A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that sitting by a window during your working day results in 46 minutes more sleep every night. Where possible it is also preferable to opt for light that is less artificial and reflective of natural light. All lighting should imitate this, rather than harsh LED lighting that has become synonymous with offices.

Uber’s San Francisco HQ is situated on a large site once owned by Salesforce. The six and eleven-story buildings boast a futuristic exterior, glass walls and large, light, open spaces for collaboration. All features that we’ve considered in our Head Office refit.

Temperature

It’s hard to please everyone when it comes to temperature. Some employees will always favour a bit of breeze and a window seat, while others reach for a jumper and a heater. A study from Helsinki University showed that 22 degrees Celsius is the optimum temperature for workplace productivity. High temperatures in the office have more of a detrimental effect on productivity than cooler climes, with a 6% reduction in productivity in warmer temperatures and a 4% drop with colder climes. Keep the temperature under control to get the most out of employees.

The rise and fall of open plan

Open plan was once desired at home and at work. We all opted for large, open areas to maximise space and to improve communication. But, times have changed. Now, it’s been proven that large, open offices actually breed a silo effect.

But, what happens when you choose to create an inviting, open space on a smaller scale for each team, or each style of work? You create an environment where collaboration is encouraged and everyone feels they can contribute freely. This also presents the right amount of quiet to get work done.

Hot spot areas are another way of offering staff a variety and giving staff space for different work to take place. Workplaces can’t comply with a one-size-fits-all model, and mixing it up can do the world of good. More inspired employees are more productive, so in turn it’s the right thing to do.

Where do aesthetics fit?

workplace environments

Research has shown that aesthetically pleasing workplaces can help create trust within organisations, and according to Crown Workspace 68% feel that office design impacts on the ability to retain talent. It is from this point of trust that employees build their career within an organisation. There is more than one way that this can be fulfilled. Whether it’s creating more open spaces, using windows to provide more light or making strategic use of space and décor, there are always ways to improve. What may seem like small changes can have a huge impact. Incorporating plants is said to produce a 15% increase in productivity, reported lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology.

What’s in it for you?

If a workplace meets some, or all, of the above criteria, then it could improve the quality of sleep employees get, create greater inclusion, increase productivity and encourage staff to embrace a work-life balance. All of which results in better employee retention.

Look out for our next instalment to read about our Head Office refit, and how we are creating spaces for our employees to thrive.

Promoting your employer brand on Social media: a guide on what NOT to do

Social media is fast becoming the way candidates find out about your employer brand, with a staggering 68% of Millenials choosing to specifically visit company social channels to evaluate their employer brand prior to applying for a role. After the company website, the most visited site when researching a potential employer is their corporate Facebook page. Is it time you took control of your employer brand on social media? In this blog, we go through our top tips on what not to do as well as some inspiring examples from companies who are getting it right.

Stay the same

Each social channel has its own merits and the way content is consumed differs accordingly. Ensure your posts are tailored to the particular channel and limit cross-posting. It can start to look automated if you post the same content on all channels on the same day. Change up your timings or be selective of where you post – will that funny Gif work as well on LinkedIn as it will on Twitter?

Sound like a robot

Automation is efficient and can be really effective if used correctly. But just because something can be automated doesn’t mean it should. Some ATS systems can automatically post job vacancies to your social feeds however, rather than flooding your audience’s feeds with irrelevant job openings, we’d recommend cherry picking the right roles to promote.

Share corporate content or stock imagery

Your content should showcase real people in your organisation and give a true picture of what it’s like to work there. Take advantage of the digital era we live in and encourage your employees to capture shareable moments, which prospective candidates will be truly interested in seeing.

Only post about you

It can be off-putting if a person only ever speaks about themselves- the same can be said for companies on their social media channels. It’s great to post about your employees and organisation, but avoid being predictable or producing forced content. Intersperse this with curated content which represents your brand values, and will be of use to your audience.

Start without a solid Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

It is important for all members of the social media/marketing team to be aware of your brand values before you begin. This will ensure a consistent style and tone across your social channels. A strong EVP will drive your content strategy and have the adaptability to work across various social channels without feeling repetitive.

Ignore your audience

Social media isn’t meant to be a one-way conversation. By interacting with your following and asking questions you’ll increase engagement (major plus!) and you’ll discover insights about your audience that you can use in the future.

Stay free forever

Once you’ve nailed down your strategy and gained an understanding of what your audience likes, don’t be afraid to put some money behind your posts. Using Facebook sponsored advertising, even on a minimal budget, will increase engagement and give you the ability to target specific audiences.

Stretch yourself too thin

The main social channels are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but there are others including Google+ and YouTube. Be sensible with the number of channels you decide to use as each will take valuable time to manage. If you have limited resources stick with 1-2 channels and perfect your content before you consider expanding.

Stick to what you know

When it comes to recruiting the social network of choice more often than not is LinkedIn. This doesn’t mean it is the best platform for every business to showcase their employer brand though. If you are only launching on 1-2 social channels initially think about where your target audience spends most of their time, and place yourself in the action.

Go it alone

It’s crucial that your employees back your brand from the beginning and show their support by sharing posts on their channels – especially at the beginning. A good way to do this is by utilising an employee referral program (ERP) which will make it easier for your employees to share your content. As well as increasing your reach, referrals will also increase the quality of applicants. Referred candidates are 3-4 times more likely to be hired than candidates who haven’t been referred.

Who’s doing it right?

There are many companies that are using social media to promote their employer brand. Here are a few examples from organisations who think are doing particularly well.

Employer branding example on Facebook

Why does it work well?

Not only does it use an authentic-looking picture of a Nando’s employee, it is accompanied by a quote about his personal experiences of working there. This post is simple, unpolished and packed full of honesty.

Employer branding example on Twitter

Why does it work well?

The BBC Careers account shares live job listings, but BBC Get In, their entry-level recruitment account, touches on the more human, user-generated side of things. Here, they repurpose images and posts from employee’s to share behind the scenes content. This is posting in its most natural form, and no extra context is required.

As well as this, the name of the channel sets them apart from other more generic careers social channels, and sets the tone for the rest of their feed.

Employer branding example on Instagram

Why does it work well?

Instagram is a place where you can really get creative with your content. Penguin Random House Careers are onto a winner with this post – fun user-generated boomerang image, a quote from an employee and a handful of relatable hashtags which will make the post easier for potential candidates to access.

Employer branding examples on LinkedIn

Why does it work well?

This post by Oath reflects their company values by referencing their commitment to diversity and equality. Including a group photo emphasises their authenticity and commitment to their people.

People spend on average 1 hour 40 minutes a day on social media and it is increasingly becoming the first point of call in candidates’ search for jobs and information on hiring companies. With 69% of candidates more likely to apply to a company which manages its employer brand its crucial, now more than ever, for your employer brand to be present on social media in order to attract top talent.

Looking for more figures on social media? Check out our blog on our top social media stats you need to know if you’re in recruitment.

A glimpse inside the ERE Recruiting Conference

The opening session at the ERE Enterprise Talent Acquisition: Recruiting that Scales conference was kicked off by Janice Bryant Howroyd – Founder and CEO ActOne Group, a global recruitment business. Breaking for a typical opening session, her keynote didn’t start with depressing statistics telling us about the war on talent, nor did it try to scare attendees into signing up for a must-have technology. Instead it was a captivating, authentic and inspiring session that set the tone for the rest of the conference.

If you haven’t heard of Janice Bryant Howroyd, she is the first African American woman to operate a company that generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, according to Black Enterprise Magazine. Howroyd, who has been in the recruiting employment agency world for over 40 years, delivered a clear and relevant message to the engaged ERE audience. As one of 11 children in her family, Howroyd was one of the first integrated black students during her Junior year of High School. Her resilience and confidence touched the audience.

Janice Bryant Howard ERE Recruiting Conference
Janice speaking at the ERE Recruiting Conference

US Unemployment sits under 5% and we’re at a point where candidates are no longer lining up for roles at your company, stated Howroyd. The session pressed the audience to think about the steps it took for everyone to get to their current role.

The new reality is that you can’t assume what worked in the past will work today. People are more reliant on technology to do the heavy lifting, and in fact, are we losing the great people skills by relying on technology too much? Are we neglecting the real people in front of us? It definitely provided room for thought.

She stated that our standard process for hiring needs to change, but how do we begin to approach it differently?

For Howroyd, she summarized the action as moving your FEET.

Move your feet Janice Bryant Howroyd

Her final takeaway was to be sure you make the applicant the center of the universe. If you do that well, you can use your FEET and achieve notable success, while gaining access to the best industry talent.

Regardless of industry or location, attendees from Boston to Boise all appreciated the call for creative thinking and innovation. Both of which are critical for recruiting in 2018.

To hear the message from an innovator, a woman who overcame challenges of the time as a smart black woman, was a highlight that will not be forgotten. One that will inspire a new attitude towards recruiting in a digital age, without losing the all-important human touch.

The message around getting the best out of prospective employees and talent retention resonated throughout the rest of the conference, and it certainly left me feeling inspired.

Jody Robie
@jodyrobie1

2018, the year that employer branding takes the tech industry by storm  

2018, put all the ‘new year, new me’s to one side and you’ll see that it’s still a year of dynamic change. Well it will need to be to stay at the top.

The phrase “employer brand” came to life in corporate lexicon in 1996 to describe how a company’s unique offering, products and environment distinguish it from other organizations.

But, fast forward 21 years and there’s more to it and it’s become fundamental to hiring and retaining the right people, all while sharing the reputation via word of mouth. The only issue is, that when this word is out there, it’s impossible to retract. Put time and effort into getting it right and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.

Competing in the bid for talent

The tech market is oversaturated and shows no sign of slowing down, making the bid for talent that much higher. That’s where companies need to up their game in order to hire and retain the best staff. Competition is rife and without the promise of progression, benefits and a grounding in a business with real staying power, candidates will look elsewhere.

That’s where you come in. It’s about doing more than listing the basic job responsibilities. We’ve all seen them, but they don’t flesh out what a day looks like at your business. It’s about selling the role and the business in equal measure. Being viewed as a viable proposition for candidates, and sparking an instant reaction.

Part of getting the right talent is based around your presence as a business. Being unavoidable and recognisable. This should start with your careers site, but should extend to cover email marketing and social campaigns to capture the attention of the right people.

Interactive platforms including YouTube are opportunities for employers to build up their brand personality and show the company values in an engaging way.

Boeing uses its company YouTube channel to showcase the products and innovations that the company works on.

Employer branding tech industry
Boeing Youtube channel
Let your employees be your biggest advocates

A 2016 Glassdoor Survey revealed ‘the majority of jobseekers will read at least six reviews before forming an opinion of a company’.  So getting perception straight is key to getting the best applicants – ones who will not only love their job but also love the company.

Use every opportunity to showcase positive employee stories, but make sure that these are as authentic as possible. Testimonials should be in employees’ own words and in relaxed video formats tend to be the most well received.

Ask them to talk about the parts of their job and the company that they value most, sharing their stories and humanizing the company.

But first, culture  

Get your culture right and you’ll have employees for life. But, how can this be whittled down? What are they key components?

The likes of Google, Workday and Cisco are leading the way when it comes to making employee perks known and creating an environment where young tech professionals can thrive.

Google do this in a number of ways – they have a Google+ page called “Life at Google” which is a collection of photos of employees at Google offices across the globe.

Workday take a different standpoint on culture, with an entire section of their website dedicated to Generation Workday. This section is designed to develop recent graduates into leaders.

employer branding tech industry
Life at Google – Google+ page

Cisco’s shift in approach places the emphasis on virtual working and flexibility. Showing that they are able to accommodate candidates needs to work non-standard hours. Taking a progressive stance in terms of flexibility sets them apart from competitors.

Whatever it is that feels authentic to your business, whether that’s flexi-time, bonus structures and rewards, or a clear progression route, this needs to be top level in communications. Get the creative execution and positioning right and you’ll be able to track the success rate across your activity.

If this blog has inspired you, our blog on promoting your employer brand on social media might come in handy.

Our Takeaways from the CIPD Conference

The CIPD hosted its 70th annual conference and exhibition last week in Manchester. The CIPD conference is the largest HR event in the UK and attracts over 4000 attendees each year. The theme this year was all about embracing the new world of work and focussed on the major shifts that are currently affecting organisations, the HR profession and the world of work.

It was a busy two days packed full of inspiring and thought-provoking speeches from an array of experienced professionals. We learned a lot but here are our 4 main takeaway points from the CIPD Conference:

The edges between Marketing and HR are blurring

HR and recruitment professionals need to be marketers in order to attract the right talent. Jane Graham, Resource Manager at Wiltshire Council, explained that in order for her team to source relevant candidates they needed to learn new skills and develop a recruitment strategy which included:

  • Rethinking their Employer Value Proposition
  • Developing an integrated advertising campaign which focussed more on social media and less on traditional media
  • Creating new brand collateral which had clear brand messaging
  • Analysing their efforts in order to understand what is working and what isn’t
  • Engaging with candidates and employees and gaining their insight

A quote which really resonated with us was, ‘it’s all about the brand, it’s not all about HR.’

HR all about the brand - by Simon Heath
HR all about the brand – illustrated by Simon Heath
The difference between Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion is being talked about a lot at the moment, and in a slightly different way than we’re used to. But how would you describe the difference between the two? It’s a trickier question than it originally sounds but Huma Qazi, international HR & culture consultant said it well:

Diversity & Inclusivity

“If you don’t have the right collaborative spirit, and are not using it to your competitive advantage, you are going to lose out,” she said.

Digital is not a choice!

Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of lastminute.com and board member at Twitter, stated in her opening keynote that digital is happening to us and businesses have to adapt.

Checklist for a successful digital future
Martha’s checklist for a successful digital future
  • Be inclusive. Are you reaching the widest possible talent and including the most people with the tech available today?
  • Take control of your data and how you can use tech to harness your data and make informed decisions.
  • Challenge perceptions on who could be included. Diversify your workforce by reaching more.
We need to be offering flexible working

Flexible working doesn’t just refer to working from home, it’s allowing flexibility for childcare and adultcare commitments. The main barrier to flexible working is line manager’s perceptions, which links directly to diversity. By not offering flexible working you are essentially excluding people with commitments that prevent them from working a traditional 9-5. Some employers are cottoning on to the benefit of being more flexible with staff, focussing on the quantity of work that is produced, rather than the hours that it is done between. Obviously, there are limitations to how companies can facilitate this flexibility, but it’s notable that companies who offer this have better retention rates and have access to a larger talent pool.

We thoroughly enjoyed the conference and the opportunity to learn more about industry trends. We’ll definitely be putting everything we heard to great use in future.

Expert Perspective: Getting a job description just right

First of all, what is your purpose? Is it a job spec or a job description? Yes, they’re different.

A job specification generally comprises of specific roles, responsibilities and background points that are required for the role. Whereas, a job description tends to build more of a narrative around the position. This is what I’m going to focus on. So, what are the key things to include?

Here are 8 key points to understand before writing your job description:

1. Get the job title right
Consider whether the title is a true reflection of the role and the candidate you are looking to hire, if not then tweak accordingly. If the role requires you to spend the majority of your time working on marketing campaigns, this should be reflected in the title.

2. Where does the job sit within the business?
Who will this person be directly reporting into? It all matters. It’s also vital for a prospective candidate to know the team structure and who they will be working alongside. If the candidate will be joining a team of four dedicated Account Executives, let them know.

3. What experience should a candidate have?
It’s important to distinguish the ‘nice to haves’ from the essentials. This is a great way to filter out the unsuitable applicants.

4. Be specific about the role and responsibilities.
To ensure higher staff retention, be realistic and specific about the areas that a successful candidate will spend their time working on.

5. What will their progression route look like?
If there is a clear structure within the business, let the candidate know.

6. Provide company specific narrative
Size, scale, locations, clients. Because no-one feels inspired to work for a company that they know nothing about.

7. Short summary copy
In most opportunities there is intro copy that needs to grab the reader, before they consider making the next step through to the job description.

8. Getting the order right
Short intro, role responsibilities, person specification, rewards, your company and next steps. Some of these can be omitted depending on where you’re advertising, if it’s internal the ‘your company’ info can take a back seat.

Keep everything succinct. Depending on where you’re posting, a job ad should be to the point about the role and sell the business and opportunity to a candidate.  It requires you to take a step back from the writing, the job description should serve a function, and it should provide a compelling transaction opportunity for the right candidate. If it doesn’t, then you’re doing something wrong. If it captures unsuitable candidates, you’re doing something wrong.

Stop doing something wrong, and start doing it right

Taking the above 8 tips forward, you’ll establish a replicable structure to use to build job ads. You need to treat prospective candidates in a similar way to consumers. They will be in a position to either count themselves in or out upon reading your crafted job description. You need to make sure that the right people are getting through to the application stage. You can do this by setting out the requirements and responsibilities from the offset. Be honest here, embellishing details will make it harder to retain the right people.

Get the address right

Most job descriptions are written in the third person. But, the way to engage the audience is to use the second person ‘you’ address to build a relationship and speak directly to the reader. The use of ‘you’ breaks down the distance between the writer and reader, allowing the reader to see clearly where they could fit within the business.

Size matters

You should keep your job description to less than 700 words, with clear sections to keep readers engaged and provide the essential details about the role and the business opportunity.

So, that’s it, a quick guide to getting a job description to work for you. It’s also always worth considering how setting the scene around a role on social media can attract applicants. Think of creative ways to showcase your role, and you’ll get the applications to match.

Salary History: should we be asking the question?

Is it a social taboo to open career conversations with questions relating to prospective candidates’ current salaries? The jury isn’t quite out on this one, but it is certainly getting people talking.

What is your current salary?

It seems like a pretty straight forward question when you think about it. The reasoning behind the enquiry can be perceived as perfectly acceptable upon first thought. We need to know if the candidate will be interested in the salary package on offer for the position. In many cases it’s as simple as that. But is it appropriate to ask a candidate about their salary history?

What’s the issue?

Dawn Lyon, Glassdoor Chief Equal Pay Advocate and Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs states, ‘the time of looking backward to go forward to determine pay is over. Asking prior salary history questions can trigger unintended consequences and introduce bias into the hiring process that disadvantages women from day one.’

US Perspective

In the US last month, California joined a number of states where it will now be illegal to enquire into the salary history of applicants. Some cities are also adopting this law. New York City recently adopted an ordinance that will become law in late October. San Francisco has signed an ordinance which will go into effect on 1st July 2018.

UK Perspective

In the UK it is illegal to pay different amounts to men and women doing the same jobs under the Equal Pay Act. If you believe you are being paid less than a fellow employee for work of equal value there are actions you can take. However, an employer may defend a claim if they show the reason for the difference is due to a genuine factor and not based on the sex of the employee.

Should we be asking for salary history in the recruitment process?

New York’s Public Advocate, Letitia James, says we shouldn’t be asking this question as it promotes wage inequality, “being underpaid once shouldn’t condemn you to a lifetime of inequality. The old ways of attacking the problem aren’t working. We’ve got to pursue new approaches — like attacking wage disparities at their subtle but pernicious roots.”

What should we be doing instead?
1. Change the question

Lyon says by asking questions such as ‘what are your expectations for pay in this role and why?’ will lead to conversations about the type of salary the candidate would be looking for in a less abrupt way.

2. Have a salary banding in mind for each position

Lyon also states that, ‘Before the first interview, hiring managers should work with their HR and recruiting teams to determine the value of the role, get very clear on what will drive a higher or lower compensation package (ie. specific skills, management experience, etc.) and base interview questions around those topics.’

Next steps

It is unclear yet whether banning salary enquires in some states and municipalities has had a positive impact in terms of closing the gender pay gap. However, due to its increased popularity in the US it is best to be prepared for the eventuality of a similar law arising in the UK.

What are the Top Employee Benefits?

The top issue shaping employers’ benefits strategies in 2017 is their desire to improve employee engagement, however budget restraints remain the biggest barrier to introducing the benefits they would like to offer.

When tight budgets are in place, it is crucial that employees are taken into consideration and asked what benefits they would appreciate and be of substantial value to them.

Key Findings 
  • 82% of respondents offer benefits because they are an effective retention tool
  • 76% of respondents identify budget as a barrier to offering new benefits
  • 73% of respondents will use more targeted communications to adapt to future benefits challenges
  • 36% of respondents’ organisations offer enhanced parental leave
  • 66% of respondents’ organisations measure employee engagement through an annual employee survey

Top employee benefits

Extra holidays for long service

Companies are going above and beyond their standard number of holidays and offering extras to create loyalty amongst employees. 53% of employers are offering extra holidays to reward employees for long service.

Unlimited holidays

The number of companies offering unlimited time off is growing, see our blog post on unlimited time off to find out more on this benefit.

Maternity/Paternity leave

Netflix is one of the leaders in Maternity benefits, they offer unlimited maternity or paternity during the first year after their child’s birth or adoption. Employees can take unlimited time off and choose to return to work on a full or part time basis. Following this, 38% of organisations globally, now offer paid paternity leave above the statutory minimum.

There is a rise in the trend of an increase of benefits to support Mothers returning from maternity leave including flexible return to work, mentoring and counselling.

Flexible working

61% of employers offer flexible-working initiatives, this has risen from 54% in 2016. Part-time hours, working from home and career breaks or sabbaticals are all popular elements of flexible working.

Flexible hours give employees the opportunity to meet family needs and life responsibilities without any guilt whilst reducing employee burnout and allowing employees to enjoy their working schedule.

There are many benefits in offering flexible working to employers including increased employee morale and engagement, employee loyalty and reduced absenteeism.

Wellness/healthcare

Private medical insurance remains the top healthcare and wellbeing benefit to be offered by employers, with 79% offering it to employees which has risen from 71% in 2016. (Staffcare)

Employers that offer a range of health and wellbeing benefits can help to create a supportive culture, an inclusive offer of fitness benefits such as gym membership or exercise classes and healthcare rewards such as medical or dental insurance will appeal to most generations.

But not all wellness and healthcare benefits appeal to everyone, it’s difficult to create a program that will cover everybody’s needs. By offering a budget for employees to spend on whichever healthcare benefits they like, gives them the opportunity to create their own benefits plan.

Source:
The Staffcare Employee Benefits report 2017 highlights what benefits employers are offering at the moment and why. The survey was conducted in February – March 2017 among users of www.employeebenefits.co.uk and received 271 responses.

Unlimited Holidays – Too good to be true?

An unlimited holiday allowance is not a new phenomenon but up until recently it was a benefit which was rarely found outside of Silicon Valley tech companies. Although most companies offering this benefit are US-based, companies such as digital agency VisualSoft, social media agency Social Chain and technology platform JustPark are leading the way in the UK.

What is unlimited holiday?

An unlimited holiday or vacation entitlement means an employee is able to take paid time off work whenever they want to throughout the year. For most companies there are no strict rules attached to this perk, however, it appears to be an unwritten assumption for most companies that the employee’s work must be completed before taking said time off. Richard Branson says that all Virgin employees are able to take time off whenever they wish as long as it, “will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers”.

Where did the unlimited holiday policy originate?

Netflix started in 2001 and was one of the first notable companies to offer unlimited paid leave, however, Brazilian company Semco has been offering this to their employees since 1981. When Semco first started implementing this policy the company was worth $4 million. They are now worth over $1 billion dollars.

Which companies are adopting unlimited holiday?

Crimson Hexagon, LinkedIn, HubSpot, JustPark, Grant Thornton and Eventbrite are just some of the companies offering this benefit in the UK. Although the list is ever increasing it seems to be proving more popular with technology firms and start-ups. But, I’m fairly confident that many organisations will follow.

Positive reasons for unlimited holidays

Times have changed

“Flexible working has revolutionised how, where and when we all do our jobs. So, if working nine to five no longer applies, then why should strict annual leave policies?”

One of the main reasons for unlimited holidays the movement away from a traditional 9-5 role. As this becomes more elusive, so does standardising holiday. With advances in technology employees no longer need to be in the office to access their emails and take calls. Traditional hours are on the way out, as they don’t always suit employees, with many companies offering more flexible ways of working.

Accountability

An unlimited holiday policy can convey trust to employees. By handing the responsibility to employees it makes them accountable for ensuring their work is on track prior to taking any time off.

Focus on results

Whereas staying late at the office used to score you brownie points, society has adapted its thinking and is now more in favour of employees that ‘work smart.’ Efficiency is key at Netflix and if you are able to manage your workflow effectively they believe you should be rewarded for this.

We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days worked.

A way of attracting talent

On the surface, the benefit of unlimited holidays is undoubtedly a great way to attract talent. Company review website, Glassdoor states, “Unlimited time-off can play a massive part in recruiting and retaining top talent. Allowing employees to recharge at their own pace, without having to meticulously count their annual leave days. Perhaps it could even result in more productive employees?”

Negative reasons for unlimited holidays

How much time off is appropriate?

Unlimited holidays is a relatively uncommon compensation policy so it can lead to employees wondering, ‘how much time is appropriate to take off from work?’. UK-based technology company, Triggertrap saw employees take an average of 15 days annual leave when they adopted the unlimited holiday policy. 13 days under the statutory minimum.

Feeling pressured

Some employees may feel pressured to not take time off for various reasons. They may feel guilty about leaving their colleagues to deal with their workload. Or they may feel that their manager will judge them if they’re seen to be taking too much time off.

Some employees may even feel internal pressure, as according to behavioural scientists our decisions are anchored by social norms.

Will it make much difference?

If you had unlimited holidays how many days in a year would you take off? In 2015, business media brand, Fast Company rolled out an unlimited holidays policy to their employees. They found that employees took roughly the same amount of holidays compared to the previous year when they were on a traditional paid time off system.

Doesn’t work for every company

Unlimited holidays inevitably won’t work for every industry, company or department. In particular, Elliott Manning, MD at Kayman Recruitment, believes it wouldn’t work for recruitment companies, “If a recruiter takes three or four weeks off it’s going to affect their pipeline and ultimately over a three-month period of the year, that’s going to affect business. The one-month build up, the month they’re away and the month they come back they are starting again.”

How can you adapt unlimited holidays to suit your business?

Call it something different

Fast Company suggest that adapting the name may help make the policy more successful. “Unlimited” conveys time off as indulgent whereas adapting the name to “flexible,” “self-managed,” “personalized,” or “responsible PTO” may be a better option to help employees understand the purpose behind the policy.

Incentivise time off

If you are worried that employees may feel guilty about taking time off why not incentivise it? That’s what companies such as Evernote and FullContact do. Employees at Evernote are given $1000 spending money if they take at least a week off at a time. FullContact have a policy called, ‘paid paid vacation’, where each employee is given a very generous $7500 per year if they go on vacation.

The rules to gain the $7500 are simple. They have to go on vacation, they must disconnect and they can’t work while they are away.

Unlimited Holiday – a good idea?

Ultimately it really depends on your business and your way of working. However, if you expect your employees to go above and beyond to achieve results, shouldn’t they have a compensation policy which reflects this?