Employers who want to boost employee performance may want to encourage workers to take a break from working.
New research indicates that high-performing employees take more vacation time, suggesting that a generous — or unlimited — vacation policy benefit has a positive impact on the workplace.
The report from HR technology company Namely analyzed data from more than 125,000 employees and found that high performers take about 19 days of paid time off a year, five more than an average performer under a regular PTO plan.
Still, vacation time is underutilized, the firm said. Nearly 700 million vacation days went unused last year, but 80% of employees said they felt more comfortable taking time off if a manager encouraged them.
Namely said that unlimited vacation policies may be beneficial for employers, adding that it’s a myth that employees with such benefits abuse the policy. For the 1% of companies that offer unlimited vacation days, employees only take about 13 days off, according to Namely’s “HR Mythbusters 2017” report.
“Unlimited vacation time can be a strong benefit that increases employee engagement, productivity, and retention — but only if the policy is actually utilized,” according to the report.
Computer software company Trifacta, for example, encourages its employees to use their paid time off with a recognition program.
“We offer a discretionary PTO policy because we want people to truly take the PTO they need,” says Yvonne Caprini Sorenson, Trifacta’s senior manager of HR. “We have a recognition program called Above + Beyond. Employees can nominate high-performing peers, and the winners receive $1,000 to spend toward travel. It’s a great way to encourage vacation use and to make it clear that Trifacta supports work-life balance.”