Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

By Gregg Podolski
Director, Direct Hire Division at Emerson Group


Now that I’ve got that song stuck in your head (and if you don’t get the reference in the title, thank you for making me feel old), let’s talk about vacation. Or PTO. Or whatever it’s called in your organization. Much like salary, vacation time is one of those subjects that is important to every single person who has ever looked for a job, yet is rife with so much taboo that to even mention it early in the interview process is akin to reciting a gypsy curse.

Why? Is it so horrible that someone might want to take a few days off at some point during the year? Does asking about PTO, sick time and holiday pay automatically mean that an individual cares more about themselves then she does about the company?

Well…yeah. Maybe. But here’s the thing: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If a company sets out to hire 100 employees who all care more about the company than they do their personal lives, they’re going to wind up with 10 workaholics and 90 really good liars.

EVERYONE values a work/life balance. 

Hell, even the guy who spends 60 hours a week chained to his desk because he just loves collating files needs some beach time every now and then.

Forget the fact that vacations have been proven time and time again to be HEALTHY for employees. Forget that companies migrating to an unlimited PTO plan are seeing higher retention rates and, in some cases, LESS time off requests from employees than those with more traditional plans. Forget that the US still lags far behind other countries in terms of paid time off allowances for its workers.

Forget all that.

You don’t need any of that information to acknowledge one basic fact: Your employees are people, not machines. (Not yet, anyway, but that’s a different post). And people need time away from their work. It not only makes them better mothers, fathers and friends, but the recharge makes them better workers as well. Win/win.

So, the next time a candidate asks what the PTO policy looks like, please don’t play the game of, “Well, let’s talk about the company culture first.” Or even worse, ask them, “Why does that matter so much to you?” Especially considering the fact that the person asking likely has at least one week away from the office planned within the year.

Employers, please don’t balk the next time a potential hire asks for three weeks off to start instead of two. And if you’re one of those employers who still offer just one week of PTO in the first year because you want your employees to “prove their worth,” get ready to be rejected by the top tier of talent on the market.

Instead, whenever the subject comes up, be honest. Tell them what your company offers. Ask them if that works for them or if they need more. Treat them like, you know, a person. Maybe it turns out that you can’t meet somewhere in the middle. Maybe it’s company policy that all new employees get X amount of PTO in their first year and there’s just no wiggle room there. That’s fine. Sometimes salary is fixed too, but it doesn’t mean a candidate should be judged harshly for asking for more. At the very least have an honest, human conversation on about it rather than treating the whole subject
as if you were discussing nuclear launch codes.

Today’s worker values their personal life as much if not more than what they do on the job. Contrary to popular belief, this actually motivates them to work HARDER when they are at work.   What good is having 3 weeks’ vacation if you don’t have the money or job stability to enjoy it?

So, as I get ready to trade in my desk for 7 days on a beach chair at the Jersey Shore, let’s all raise an umbrella drink to vacation. It’s what EVERYONE wants.

Gregg Podolski, is the Director of Emerson Group’s Direct Hire division. Gregg works on positions in all industries including C-Level Suite, Sales, Account Management, IT and Manufacturing/Operations/Project Managers.

#ProfessionalSearch #EmersonGroup #PTO #Retention


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