Need an opinion. I am an owner of a small-mid size consumer and auto finance company. We currently staff 6-7 full time employees. I was having a recent conversation with my office manager/supervisor regarding our policies on vacation. In a nut shell we offer 2 weeks of paid vacation from April through October. The supervisor has just earned a 3rd week for reaching 5 years (anniversary date) with the company. The only stipulations other than the months vacation can be scheduled is that 1 full consecutive week be taken and for those having 2 weeks, the second week can be split into a 3/2 or 2/3 day format allowing for some flexibility. I’m not a fan of that and would prefer that all vacation be taken in full one week increments M-F. I have kept the split format for the second week as a perk for my employees. Previously we also did not allow vacation to be taken at “month end” either because of the process we go through to close out our month. Due to some better and more efficient software the process is cut to a 1/3 so now we allow vacation to be scheduled around that time. Another perk in my opinion that I agreed to at my employee’s request. I also ask that vacations be posted by April 15th of each year so proper planning can be accomplished.
We recently had an employee to schedule his full week’s vacation Wed-Tues kinda screwing up two weeks if you know what I mean and now has two other split time vacations scheduled. This was an oversight on my supervisors part for not catching it but not intentional. At explaining “again” why we keep this format I restated that this is the reason I am a proponent of consecutive weeks not splits. Other wise if you’re not careful you’ll have folks out every week of the summer doing these mini vacations. I made the off color comment that it kinda goes back to them being a bit spoiled. She made the comment that this was the strictest vacation policy she had worked with before.
Sorry for the verboseness of this but I wanted to paint you a picture. In your experience as an HR professional does it sound like my vacation policies are “strict”? Being the owner and knowing that I try and perk them as much as I can in other areas too; I was quite offended at that comment and I guess am looking for an outside opinion. THANKS for your time!
I think you are thinking about this a little too much. What’s the point of vacation? Honestly. Why give vacation at all? Well, because people wouldn’t work for you if you didn’t and because, drum roll please, people perform better if they have a break from time to time.
Now, I know nothing about the auto financing world, but I can’t imagine that the winter months are so furiously busy that no one can take a single day off. So, why limit vacation time to the summer only? If part of the problem is having people out of the office, spreading it out over an entire year should help with that problem. Then you have less of a chance of two people wanting to leave at the same time.
What do you do when someone’s brother-in-law decides to get married in February? Or someone’s first grandchild is born in December? Are they not allowed to take any time off? Now, avoiding a gathering of inlaws might be a perk to the job, but what grandmother is going to want to hold off visiting the new baby, who happens to be in Keokuk Iowa?
On the number of days at a time, taking a week off consecutively does have some benefits, among them being an opportunity for fraud detection and a true chance to rest and relax. Requiring people to take the remaining vacation in one two and one three day chunk seems pointless.
You state that one employee “screwed” up two weeks by going Wed-Tues. Again, not knowing anything about car financing, but I can’t see why this is. And what’s wrong with a mini vacation? In fact, if my job is to cover for you while you are out, I’d much rather have you gone one day at a time than 3 days in a row. If you are just going to be out on Friday, most likely you’ll work extra hard on Thursday and then anything that’s not pressing I can just hold for you to do when you get back on Monday. If you’re gone for 2, 3 or 5 days in a row, then I’m forced to do more of your job, which puts pressure on me.
I don’t like more pressure on me, and neither do most of your employees.
If I were you, I’d loosen the hold on vacation. Let people take their vacation when they want to. (Although I do agree with a no vacation for the last week of the month/quarter/whatever super busy time you have, rule. That’s good business sense and responsible employees wouldn’t ask anyway, except in extreme circumstances.)
I think you’ll find that it won’t be nearly as disruptive as you fear. Most people want to do a good job and appreciate being given control over their own lives, as much as possible. You say that you spoil them. Excellent. Spoiled employees are happy employees (as long as you are also providing feedback and improvement plans and goals and all that other fun stuff that comes from being the boss). You want spoiled, but not rotten employees.
Have a marvelous vacation yourself. Switzerland is nice this time of year.