Unlimited Vacation Policy: 5 Tips for Managers
We published a post about the pros and cons of unlimited Time Off based on our customers' experience. In this article, we would like to present 5 tips for the successful implementation of unlimited PTO in your company.
Again, we asked for the opinions of our customers who use such a solution and value them very much for the benefits it brings to employees and the entire organization.
Tip 1: Be a role model
We are all human and we all need a little time off sometimes. Work will not run away – it will always be waiting for us. By introducing an unlimited vacation policy, we should encourage employees to use it. It is normal that at the beginning employees will not feel confident in the new holiday system especially if they have had a strictly defined number of days off. Therefore, as a manager, you should encourage employees to use this solution. Stay alert, motivate people to rest, and make it easier for the team to take a day off. It is also worth using this solution yourself to embolden others. Without motivating employees and good real-life examples, an unlimited vacation policy is simply a piece of paper.
Tip 2: Be prepared for various questions
The unlimited Time Off is still a new phenomenon that few employees have had to deal with. Therefore, your subordinates will certainly have a lot of questions. It is important to be prepared for them and be able to answer them in such a way as to dispel any doubts. The most common questions asked by people working in our clients' companies and startups were:
- Will unlimited vacation policy really be "unlimited" or will it be regulated by some guidelines?
- How will it work for longer holidays? What about short-term disability?
- Will the company track unlimited PTO and how?
- What will it look like for employees with Non-exempt (hourly) and Exempt (salaried) employees?
- Have you trained managers to embrace that this concept requires managing outcomes/performance vs. managing time off?
After introducing the unlimited vacation policy, those and other questions and doubts will appear many times. Because of that, it is good to take care of preparing answers to them earlier and to save a lot of time to answer each employee individually, you can prepare a FAQ in advance, which will contain the answers to the most common questions related to this topic. If new questions arise, you can gradually add them to the FAQ until all employees have their doubts dispelled.
Tip 3: Vacation remains a vacation
Say it loud and clear: unlimited PTO is still a vacation away from work. You must reassure employees that the newly introduced holiday policy is not intended to increase hours of remote work, but to allow employees to relax and spend time with family and friends. Unlimited vacation is a great way to build trust between managers and employees, which raises morale and helps to establish better relationships in the team. It is also a good way to build the company's image as a place where everyone wants to work and which is open to the needs of employees and modern improvements. When your subordinate takes a vacation, make sure they really go on vacation and does not work from home. Otherwise, the idea of Unlimited Time Off will be perceived as a fake, which will contribute to a decrease in employee confidence in the organization.
Tip 4: Be prepared for big changes
Unlimited PTO introduces many changes to the lives of managers. First of all, it makes working hours no longer the main measure for assessing employees' work. As a manager, you will need to focus on employee performance and their contribution to team or organization development and evaluate subordinates on that basis. Such a change will therefore require defining completely new standards for job evaluation. You will have to answer many difficult questions: Should the best employee be able to take more leave than a weaker employee? Should you hire only the best of them, and give the resignations to the others? There will be many more such doubts, so you should think about answering them before implementing unlimited PTO. If needed, you can ask for materials that will help you make these types of decisions.
Tip 5: Choose the right time
Unlimited vacation policy is a model that will not necessarily work in every type of company So before you decide to introduce unlimited PTO, you need to make sure that you have a chance to succeed. Unlimited Time Off Policy works in organizations where there is a company's culture based on trust between management and lower-level employees. You also need to be sure that you are properly trained and ready to lead and evaluate teams in a new way. A team leader must trust his team and the team must trust the leader and see that he knows what he is doing. If managers are unable to function in the new system, and the teams run out of trust between leaders and subordinates, you will not succeed. So start by assessing the quality of relationships between employees in your organization. If necessary, organize training for managers in the field of employee evaluation, and to increase employee confidence, organize team building activities. Only when the atmosphere of trust prevails in the company's environment the introduction of unlimited PTO will be a success.
It is not difficult to notice that the introduction of Unlimited Time Off is associated with hours of hard work and many difficulties that will have to be solved, but the successful implementation of this model has many benefits. Thanks to tips from our clients who have managed to implement an unlimited vacation policy, you already know what to focus on and it will be easier for you to succeed. It is worth taking the time to ensure efficient management of unlimited PTOs. It can bring many benefits to both the company and employees.
If you don't have a tool yet to help you manage unlimited PTO, check out our leave management system and clock in/out tool. At Calamari, we've added an unlimited vacation dimension, so you can control and manage your days off and improve your work.
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