Encouraging vacation time can actually boost employee retention

Encouraging vacation time can actually boost employee retention

In the past, it was common practice to discourage employees from taking lengthy vacations. Over the years, this has led to rising burnout and turnover rates across many industries. Many employees still experience anxiety over who will cover their work, what delays will result, and what they'll miss from meetings or conferences should they take time away.

Actively encouraging employees to use their personal time off without feeling guilty about it can help you build an engaged and motivated team. Learn more about the connection between vacation time and employee retention in this guide.

Why is encouraging vacation time essential?

There's a strong link between vacation time and employee retention, and employees who actively use their vacation time experience greater productivity, better work-life balance, and more engagement at work. In fact, a CareerBuilder survey shows a strong link between time off and retention, with employees who can take enough time away from their jobs experiencing greater contentment and satisfaction at work.

According to the data, 43% of employees report satisfaction with their work-life balance. Flexible schedules and more opportunities to take a vacation contribute to this satisfaction. In contrast, employees who don't use their vacation time can experience more stress and burnout. Encouraging your staff to take time off is essential for more than preventing burnout. It also has the following benefits:

  • Increases employee retention: Retention rates can plummet for companies that don't support their employees, especially when it comes to vacation time. Ensure your organization hangs onto top talent by offering generous paid time off and encouraging staff to use it.
  • Boosts morale: When employees can take time to focus on their personal lives, they're more likely to return to work refreshed, leading to greater efficiency and productivity.
  • Supports work-life balance: Overworked and stressed-out employees are much more likely to look for opportunities elsewhere, resulting in lower retention. Make vacation time and employee retention top priorities for your staff to better support a healthy work-life balance.
  • Highlights company values: Companies that encourage employees to use their vacation time promote values that reflect empathy, compassion, and transparency, which can directly increase retention rates.

What impact does vacation time have on employee retention?

Even when companies offer paid time off to employees, many are still hesitant to use it. And when workers do take advantage of vacation time, they're often not fully disconnected from their jobs. Survey data from HR Morning shows that 46% of respondents report having a hard time fully disconnecting from work while on vacation. What's more, 57% of workers get anxious if they don't check their emails while out of the office. In many cases, employees who take time off often come back to more work than when they left, which causes more stress and higher instances of burnout.

Staying connected while on vacation can also impact the ability of companies to retain qualified talent. A Visier survey found that 44% of employees think about quitting their jobs after returning from vacation. Employees who can unplug while away report feeling refreshed and re-engaged when they return to work. So encouraging employees to not only take a vacation but to disconnect completely is imperative to hanging onto top talent long-term.

"Encouraging staff to take personal time off, improve their work-life balance, and focus on their life away from work will positively impact your organization's employee retention."

How does encouraging vacation time benefit employee retention?

The workplace benefits of employees taking vacation time include higher productivity, stronger workplace morale, greater employee retention, and significant health benefits. That's no surprise, either. When employees can unplug from work and take time to care for themselves and their families, they're much more likely to experience satisfaction when they're back at work. A positive employee experience also leads to higher motivation and engagement, directly impacting how long employees stay with an organization.

Encouraging staff to take personal time off, improve their work-life balance, and focus on their life away from work will positively impact your organization's employee retention. That's not all vacation time can benefit. Productivity, product and service quality, and team collaboration also benefit from more engaged and motivated employees.

How can your organization support vacation time and employee retention?

Even with many organizations providing substantial paid time off packages, many professionals still leave vacation on the table at the end of the year. Consider these approaches to encourage workers to take more vacation days:

  • Show, don't tell: Counter the concern that you'll view workers as less diligent than their peers if they take a vacation. When leadership takes time off, middle management and their teams can follow suit.
  • Cover for vacationing team members: An effective coverage strategy will get employees to take personal time off. Using temporary workers, adjusting shifts for other employees, modifying project schedules, and completing projects ahead of time are all things to consider in your coverage strategy.
  • Consider a vacation bonus: Offering a vacation bonus as part of your employee benefits package may be worthwhile. Incentivizing time away from the office makes it more likely your staff will want to use it to earn that bonus.

The relationship between vacation time and employee retention is clear. It's crucial to structure paid time off policies that support employees' decisions if you want to keep top talent. Helping your staff to disconnect from work fully while they're away is also essential.

More resources on vacation time and employee retention:

Explore more approaches to boosting retention with these five employee retention tips.

Find out how to prevent employee burnout and improve job satisfaction so you can retain top talent longer.

Combat hiring challenges with these six ways to stop employee turnover.

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