I recently heard about a 500-person company on the east coast that doesn’t have a vacation policy for its employees. Actually, it does, but the entire policy is just four words: “Take what you need.”
Most companies nowadays start their employees around two or three weeks, then slowly add to that amount as they increase in seniority. This isn’t a bad system. It implies that time off is something to be earned, and that the more loyal an employee is to the company by staying for multiple years, the more they are rewarded.
But there’s also something beautiful in the open-handed freedom of the “take what you need” policy, where an employee who needs two days or two weeks off can take it without it affecting their salary. It says to the employees, “We trust that you are intelligent, hard-working people. We trust you won’t take off more time than you need. We trust you will get your work done.”
In addition to showing faith in the employees’ good judgment, it also demonstrates that vacation and rest is in fact a need. Employees who never take time off, never unwind, never turn their cell phones off and escape are not good employees—they are frantic, exhausted employees.
You might wonder what happens to a company’s productivity when it lets employees take off as much time as they want without it affecting their pay, but I can tell you that this company is number one in its field, and the people who work there are happy and productive.
The “take what you need” policy may not work for everyone–whether or not an employee will respond well to it depends on a number of factors. But what I hope you do walk away from this post with is a good reminder that you should hire people you’re willing to trust—trust that they want to be there, want to work hard, want to see the company succeed and grow.
What kinds of freedom could you consider giving your employees? Where are you—perhaps unconsciously—micromanaging with your employees, rather than trusting that they’ll act like mature, passion-driven adults? Think about it this week, and test the waters—give them some freedom, and you may just see their loyalty, positivity, and productivity grow.
*Image courtesy Luke Ma
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.