BUILD a CULTURE of CARE
A company's beliefs, personality, and actions are what makes up their culture. Things like products and strategies can be duplicated. It’s the values and norms that sets organizations apart. How employees view this culture will define the success ceiling, and the overall health of your organization.
Here are the TOP 5 reasons employees forgo their vacation, and how an ounce of encouragement can create a powerful force that shapes your wellness culture.
1. Fear of returning to a mountain of work
Establish a vacation process that scales down work prior to an employee’s vacation, and takes care of daily duties while they’re away. Not only does this reinforce your Culture of Care, it demonstrates your commitment to employees’ personal time. This comes with great reward.
Reward employees for planning ahead. Returning to a mountain of work is a real thing, and can be greatly reduced when employees can plan for their absence. Provide an additional $100 Wellness Dollars for employees that plan their vacations at least three months in advance.
Create Vacation Buddies, where a coworker (or two) can take over more immediate needs of someone on vacation. This type of job shadowing will strengthen your workforce, and create a culture of one employee looking after another.
2. The belief that nobody else can do the job
Each employee is important in their own way, but few are irreplaceable. It’s your job to acknowledge their dedication, then impress that it’s not the number of hours they work, but the quality of work they put into the hours.
Reward with Wellness. Gift cards, coffee mugs and even cash bonuses do little to reinforce your Culture of Care. Wellness Dollars send a message that employees need to be at the top of their game.
3. Inability to afford a vacation
Not only do employees receive Wellness Dollars in the account each year, employers receive additional Wellness Dollars that can be used to fosters wellness behavior. By providing a wellness-based incentive, you are reinforcing your commitment to wellness.
Establish an annual calendar, showing how Wellness Dollars can be earned. This will not only drive behavior, it provides employees a reason to plan an annual vacation. Full week accommodations start at just $399.
Help employees understand that a vacation doesn’t have to be in Maui, Turks and Caicos or Rome. SuiteBreak offers thousands of destinations within driving distance from their home. We’ll do our part to promote the most affordable and memorable vacations possible, and we encourage you to do the same.
SuiteBreak sends monthly newsletters to YOU, not your employees. In your normal corporate communication, forward newsletters to your employees showing dream vacations that fit any budget.
4. Fear of being seen "replaceable"
No one wants to come back from vacation to find somebody else sitting at their desk. Communication remains KING. Don’t just tell employees to go on vacation, tell them why to go on vacation.
We’re as excited about your impending vacation as you are. In fact, we want to make sure you’re fully prepared so you’re thinking of nothing but the fun you’re having. Here’s what’s needed of you prior to your departure:
While you’re spending quality time with family and friends, we’ll take care of things there. Work emails will be forwarded to (name of employee), and everything else can wait until your return.
Enjoy your vacation!
By communicating your understanding of their fears, you are helping to shape a Culture of Care – the most productive culture a company could hope for.
5. To show greater dedication to the company and the job
An employee that feels the need to demonstrate greater dedication by forgoing their vacation, works for a company that allows their employees to feel this way.
Every employee should have weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual goals. Make vacation a part of the planning process. Yes, it takes time, resources and effort to create a goal template that employees will take seriously. Once you do, there will be no assumptions, and vacation planning will be integrated into your Culture of Care.
Vacations are important to the success of your employees, and therefore, important to your success. Eliminate the excuses by making it clear that you are committed to ensuring each employee takes an unplugged annual vacation they can afford.
Don’t just talk about vacations, communicate your commitment regularly. Work/life balance and PTO are among the top contributors to their job satisfaction. Employees who are satisfied with their jobs tend to work harder and stay longer. Utilize communication as an opportunity to increase the perceived value of your new wellness benefit, and you’ll encourage a happier, more productive workforce.
1. Think of your communication strategy in terms of a marketing campaign—it should be branded, engaging, and simple to understand. Focus on both informing employees and getting them excited about working for your company. You can find templates, articles and other marketing materials that can customized, or provided to employees as is.
2. Communicate year-round, in small doses. A common mistake is to distribute all benefits communications once a year - usually around open enrollment. Doing so can overwhelm employees who don’t have the patience to tackle a mountain of confusing material.
3. Ensure employees know how to earn additional Wellness Dollars through emails, posters, word-of-mouth and newsletters. The more employees understand how to earn additional Wellness Dollars, the more relevant they become.
4. Communication pieces should be timely, which will involve purposeful calendar planning and scheduling. Be strategic about what you say and when you send it. Provide activities or events employees can participate in to earn Wellness Dollars. This will push them to plan their vacation around GETTING THINGS DONE.
Have you planned your annual vacation? If not, it’s time to ramp up the search for your next great adventure. Remember, time away from work is just as important as other activities. Vacations provide time to explore, relax and spend uninterrupted time with your family and friends. It’s an important part of your wellness routine, and we encourage you to start planning today.
WANT TO EARN ADDITIONAL WELLNESS DOLLARS?
November 12: Attend a Lunch and Learn and receive $100 Wellness Dollars
Get your blood work completed by December 1st, and receive $100 Wellness Dollars
December 9: Register for Lunch and Learn and receive $200 Wellness Dollars
Provide a testimonial on how you’re using corporate wellness to improve your personal health
Post a vacation picture on our employee site, and earn $100 Wellness Dollars
Join a health club and earn $200 Wellness Dollars
Sign up for our weekly healthy recipe, and receive $100 Wellness Dollars
Earn Wellness Dollars and use them to take your dream vacation!
5. Send a monthly email regarding available vacation time. PTO is part of an employees’ pay and benefits package, and now a part of their wellness routine. Break down the amount their vacation, or paid time off, is worth in dollars. This ought to open their eyes.
You currently have 16 days of PTO accrued that needs to be taken before December 31, 2018, or you will effectively work 16 days for free. While we love your enthusiasm, vacations are an important part of our physical and mental health. It’s vital that everyone at (name of company) takes time to rest, relax and recharge to we can all be at our best.
Start planning your vacation today at SuiteBreak.com.
6. Write about vacation-related topics on the company's blog or newsletter. Have employees share their stories, offer vacation preparation tips, including how much notice an employee should give when requesting vacation time.
7. Show available time off on pay stubs and send reminders to employees to take their paid time.
CELEBRATE, then REINFORCE BEFORE, DURING and AFTER
Encouraging employees to take vacations will prompt early planning, giving you time to celebrate their decision and reinforce your Culture of Care. If the opportunities are there, don’t waste them.
1. After employee submits their vacation time, send a “congratulatory note”. Nothing too fancy, just affirmation of your beliefs, and your culture.
Congratulations on your commitment to family, friends and self. Vacations are a vital part of your health and well-being, and at (name of company), we encourage you to use this time to fully detach from your work. This means no emails, projects or calls -- no kidding.
To earn additional Wellness Dollars for your next vacation, don’t forget to write a post on “Why vacations are important to me”. When we share our experiences, it helps others do the same. We’re in this together, and life balance is a critical part of our success.
2. One month prior to departure, encourage employees to ensure their work is completed and covered. Use this, and any other communication to reinforce your commitment to their work-free vacation.
Your vacation is right around the corner, and we wanted to see if you needed any help ensuring everything is in order prior to your departure. Preparation is the key to a stressfree vacation.
3. Provide a sample "out of office" email.
Thanks for contacting me. I will be out of the office enjoying time with family and friends and will have no access to emails, phone calls or smoke signals. But rest assured, I will be back in the office (date) fully rested, recharged and ready to address your needs.
If you need immediate assistance, please contact (name of employee) and she will be happy to assist.
Happily on Vacation,
(Name of Employee)
Don’t have the manpower, time or resources? Don’t worry. SuiteBreak can send a standard or customized email to all employees for you … from you.
4. The day their vacation begins, until the day it ends, turn off employee email. With employees electronically connected to the workplace 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in the office or out, work and life balance is a challenge. Create and maintain the expectation that when an employee leaves for vacation, they fully disconnect from the office. Honor the employee’s PTO by not contacting them unless it is truly an emergency.
5. Upon an employee’s return, congratulate them on their decision to spend time with family, friends and simply enjoy life outside of work. By doing so, you are reaffirming your commitment to employees’ personal time.
You’re back! We hope your vacation was adventurous, relaxing and memorable. Don’t forget to share your experience on our Vacation Blog, and by doing so, earn $100 Wellness Dollars towards your next vacation.
If for any reason you were unable to leave work behind, we’d love to hear why. Don’t hold back! The only way we can get better is to work together.
6. Celebrate National Work and Family Month in October. This observance aims to improve the balance between work and family time in America. If your company takes a position of support for such a cause, it opens dialogue about the topic and makes employees feel encouraged to spend time away from the office. For more information, click here.
PLAN for VACATIONS
Set up a "vacation process" that further reinforces your Culture of Care.
1. Create a buddy program. This is important in so many ways.
2. Do you need extra staffers during your busy season? Consider establishing an early deadline for submitting vacation requests. Some employers even have blackout periods during which vacations are completely off limits. Whatever strategy you choose, give supervisors guidance on handling time-off requests and hold them accountable for ensuring adequate staffing levels.
3. Don’t wait until an employee leaves the company to document his or her knowledge. Establish a Culture of Sharing that encourages employees to document knowledge – and reward them for doing so. This allows you to adapt to transition periods through effective and sustainable knowledge transfer. Shared knowledge ensures productivity is not compromised, even if someone is unavailable to answer questions at a moment of need.
4. Reinforce the Importance of Knowledge Sharing. It’s frustrating for an employee to be forced into a situation where a lack of information is a tangible hurdle. Companies thrive when performance is valued, and you must ensure employees are put in a position to succeed. Sharing knowledge throughout an organization means fewer opportunities to blame on a lack of information or learning resources and a greater opportunity to reward – and retain – the high performers.
a. To avoid employee frustration and ensure productivity doesn’t decline due to a knowledge worker’s absence, leadership should clearly communicate and reinforce the benefits of knowledge sharing. Help employees understand the connection between shared knowledge and their success, as well as how it benefits the whole organization.
5. Implement a Strong Knowledge Management Solution. Don’t just talk about the importance of knowledge sharing – give employees the tools they need to document, access, and share knowledge. A knowledge base or online community provides employees with one centralized place to document knowledge, ask questions, find answers, share new ideas, and remain productive. Aligning the right tool with the internal culture of knowledge sharing can enable a company, and its employees, to collectively reap the benefits of knowledge management.
LEAD by EXAMPLE
Culture is created from the top down. Managers and senior level employees must model the same behavior they look for in their employees.
1. Plan your vacation and don’t hide it. Let employees know you’re scheduling well in advance to take advantage of "vacation anticipation" benefits. Encourage them to do the same. Anticipation will boost morale and increase productivity.
2. As part of your communication strategy, let employees know you are taking a “Family Wellness Vacation”, an “Experiential Wellness Vacation” or whatever you decide. You don’t have to give up your destination, just let employees know why you’re vacationing, and they will follow suit.
I will be taking my vacation June 21-28 – enjoying a full uninterrupted week with my family. I will not be available by email, phone or smoke signals (unless of emergency).
Please contact (name of employee) for any assistance. If you haven’t planned your own vacation, I encourage you to do so. Take it from me, it’s not only fun to go on vacation it’s fun just thinking about it. Give yourself a few months of “vacation anticipation” happiness.
3. Don’t work on vacation. If management is away, but responding to emails with the same consistency as though in the office, it sends a message to employees. Action speaks louder than words. If management is on vacation, but responding to emails with the same consistency as though in the office, its sends a very clear message that they should do the same. The world will not stop revolving if you’re not in it for week. Take a real vacation and don’t be shy about who knows.
4. When you return, let employees know the value of your vacation. Its important employees understand that YOU UNDERSTAND.
I’m back from my Family Wellness vacation, and feel rested and rejuvenated. Thanks for enabling me to spend uninterrupted time with my family. We had a fantastic time, and created memories that will last a lifetime. If you haven’t started planning your next vacation, it’s never too early.
Planning a vacation can be a much fun as going on one. Giving yourself plenty of time to plan can open the doors to destinations you’ve never thought of, or reinforce your attraction to a dream destination. Wherever your next adventure takes you, remember to leave work behind. Life is about moments, and everyone at (name of company) want you to create as many moments as possible.
Here’s to a lifetime of moments.
MOTIVATE with INTENTION
Without the culture to back up your core beliefs, incentives are worthless. Wellness Dollars back your culture, reinforces your commitment to annual vacations and provides employees real dollars towards their next vacation. This speaks volumes.
Wellness Dollars can be distributed through your Dash Board, and can make a significant impact on overall wellness behavior.
1. Set a 12-month calendar. Communicate how and when Wellness Dollars can be earned. For example:
a. Wellness behavior
b. Job shadowing
c. Getting blood work completed / HRA
d. Attend a Lunch and Learn
e. Join a health club
f. Participate in a company sponsored wellness event
g. Upon returning from a vacation (celebrating their vacation)
2. Offer a vacation bonus. SuiteBreak offers full week vacations around the world, or close to home, for just $399 per week. If you have the means, find a reason to subsidize part or all this expense. While it doesn’t pay for everything, you’re reinforcing your commitment, and gaining a lot of brownie points in the process.
3. Grant spontaneous non-holidays. PTO remains one of the most coveted employee wellness benefits. Providing an additional day from time to time demonstrates that you care about more than just company profit. With time incentives, everyone wins - employees will take the time off they need to stay healthy while keeping their quality of work high.
PREPARE for EMPLOYEE VACATIONS
1. Arrange for Coverage. It’s critical that business needs are met and the work doesn’t pile up when one person is off. Employees will feel more comfortable scheduling PTO if they know that their teammates are properly trained and there’s a plan to handle workload while they’re away. This is a great chance to provide Wellness Dollars to those employees that step up.
2. Handling lots of paid time off requests can be a hassle for your HR team. A Human Resources Information System (HRIS), is an all-in-one tech tool that simplifies the process for HR and for staff. An HRIS like Namely or BambooHR can also give employees the ability to manage their vacation time easily and on-the-go via a mobile app.
3. Consider a “use it or lose it” policy altogether. This is one way to ensure employees make it a priority to take time off. Allowing employees to carry over unlimited vacation hours means that some individuals could go several years without taking a vacation.
For millennials, there is no work time. There is no personal time. There is no work/life balance. There’s just life. Millennials have a different range of criteria than other age groups, and consider PTO of utmost importance. Unfortunately, corporate culture doesn’t always recognize this.
- 59% of Millennials reported feeling shamed by colleagues and bosses over vacation days
- 33% of Millennials claim that vacation guilt keeps them from taking a vacation
Through communication, reinforcement and celebration, companies can transform their culture, boost wellness activity and create a happy healthy place to work. But to fully reach Millennials, you’ll need to take it a few steps further.
1. Remove any guilt
At orientation, make your commitment clear. Confirm the steps your company takes to ensure all employees use their vacation time. Millennials are thrill-seekers, looking for unusual and unique experiences. SuiteBreak appeals to their desire for adventure by offering destinations and tours that head off the beaten path. We’ll send them off to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. Or Thailand, where they can explore jungles and ancient ruins, sample exotic food, dive with whale sharks off Ko Tao, or scale the sea cliffs of Krabi. It’s these authentic experiences that Millennials are looking for.
2. Encourage Millennials to share their experiences.
Growing up in a social media world, Millennials are twice as likely as others to use their mobile phones to show travel pictures to friends and coworkers, share travel experiences on social media, blog or recount travel experiences online, and post travel reviews. These tendencies can lead the way to referrals for perspective travelers.
3. Use SuiteBreak to attract and retain Millennial talent. The fact that you’re a company that not only promotes, but provides services that enable all employees to take their vacation is a BIG DEAL. Millennials are looking for companies just like you. Use the power of SuiteBreak to your full advantage.
SAVINGS = FINANCIAL WELLNESS
While a discounted vacation is great, a free vacation is even better. The Harris Poll survey of employees’ vacation practices asked employees who went out of town on vacation last year how much they spent on that vacation:
- 36 percent said $1,000 or less
- 26 percent said $1,001 - $2,000
- 20 percent said $2,001 to $3,000
- 15 percent said more than $3,000
1. If possible, consider adding an employee purchase program that includes vacation and all their wellness benefits, to their voluntary benefit offerings. An employer-sponsored employee purchase program is an affordable way for employees to take a vacation. It offers a disciplined payment plan through payroll deduction that is a less expensive alternative to some credit cards or other financing options.
2. Create a Vacation Reward / Incentive / Thanks for any number of reasons, and you’ll have employees excited to hit their goals. Weeks start at just $399, so any amount towards that is a substantial reduction in cost. If you’re able to bonus the entire amount, you’ve solidified your commitment to employee health.
Vacations are your most powerful wellness initiative. The simple gesture in providing SuiteBreak to employees will engage, motivate and ultimately, change behavior. We are here to help. Contact us at info@SuiteBreak.com, or call 623.340.7223.