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Branson Offers Unlimited Vacation Policy To His Employees. Why You Should Do The Same!

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Talking about employment, the new age entrepreneurs have paved way to some new age techniques like flexible hours, 5 day week, comp offs, work-from-home and many such policies to elevate the employee’s productivity.

In the pages of such employee productivity enhancement “unlimited vacation policy” is the new kid on the block. It’s a policy that facilitates the employee to take off for an approved number of days and yes, it’s paid leave. When the employee is confident that his team can go on without him for a certain number of days and where he can communicate with his team on irregular intervals just to check the progress, what the employee is enjoying is an “unlimited vacation policy

Richard Branson

In a recent news, Richard Branson has welcomed the unlimited vacation policy for all of his Virgin Staffers. In his new book, “The Virgin Way”, he says he was inspired by Netflix to introduce this policy to his staff. Netflix introduced the unlimited vacation policy back in 2004, followed by BestBuy, Tumblr, Foursquare and Evernote.

With the workaholic trend building up, many companies termed the unlimited vacation policy as a recipe for disaster, but on the contrary, it was noted by a manager of compensation and benefits at SHRM, “They work really well in high-performance organizations.” And such policies also go a long way in building a high performance oriented work ethic. The profits sure don’t gallop just after you bring a policy like this into force, but sure there are monumental changes in the working trends, performance and perspective of the employees.

Many new age companies have turned their focus to the efficiency with which the work is done than the number of hours clocked. As a reward to that kind of behavior, unlimited vacation policy is a huge hit with the 1% of small organizations that have implemented it. The employees will only take off “when they feel one hundred percent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business — or, for that matter, their careers”, notes Branson.

Why should you as a company follow this suit? What’s in it for my company’s growth? are some obvious entrepreneurial questions.

In an answer to the above questions: Apart from increasing productivity, by introducing an employee welfare policy like this, you gain their trust and loyalty of your employees. Once you start treating your workforce as responsible and cultured adults, the efficiency of the execution of work will improve.

In earlier times, companies introduced incentive schemes for most hours spent at the factory in order to promote the work-a-holism. What one can imagine is a carrot tied to the forehead of the employee with the whip lashing out at his bones. Not a pretty picture, but a funny one though for the employers! Just when movies and books, the usherers of change noted how work hijacked personal lives leaving many in their sunset years wondering if their whole life was about work.

Today, the forward thinking companies understand the need to give their employees a time out. This time out helps the employees to recharge themselves and get their personal life in order. If anything, this policy puts the employee first by respecting his personal life by rewarding his commitment to work.

Monetary incentives cannot bring about many substantial changes in work as much as these employee welfare policies. Though many perks are given to the contemporary IT industries, many other industries in India are blind to such welfare measures. Some can’t afford it and some feel employees don’t deserve it. With major population aged below 35, companies sure need to upgrade their companies and also their thinking.

Given the positive benefits, one might also fear these schemes maybe be taken advantage of. To safeguard your company against any such demoralizing events, as a company you must formulate safety measures like;

Only ____ (eg: assistant manager) levels will avail such benefits
Define the maximum period of such policy (50days)
Weekend ___ (4 hours every Monday) work hour sessions must be implemented during the employee’s absence
Introduce it to other levels by specifying the work that calls for such policy as a reward to celebrate the high performance (5 projects done in a month by a software analyst)

It’s been 10 years that Netflix has pioneered and has been following the unlimited vacation policy and it hasn’t looked back ever since. That’s good news to all those companies who have doubts of its relevance in the real business scenario.

Will you be the next company to follow this suit?

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