Beyond Salary, Employees Want More Paid Time Off

Encourage staff to take the vacation time they've earned and disconnect while out of the office

By Stephen Miller, CEBS Mar 16, 2015

As the focus on employee recruitment and retention sharpens in a recovering economy, some executives may be undervaluing the benefit their workforce wants most, suggests new research from temporary staffing firm Accountemps.

When asked which workplace rewards (excluding compensation and other monetary rewards) they think their employees are most interested in receiving in 2015, 41 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said better benefit plans such as enhanced health care, followed by 19 percent who said more vacation days.

In a separate survey of workers, however, more paid time off (30 percent) narrowly edged out better benefit plans (26 percent) as most desired in 2015.

The surveys include responses from more than 2,100 CFOs in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, as well as more than 320 employees age 18 and older who work in an office environment.

CFOs were asked, “Other than additional compensation, which one of the following do you believe would top your employees' wish lists when it comes to their jobs this year?”

Better benefit plan, such as enhanced health care plan

41%

More vacation days

19%

More scheduling flexibility, such as telecommuting or flexible work hours

15%

More training or professional development opportunities

12%

Other corporate perks, such as onsite meals and amenities, preventive health and wellness support, or subsidized transportation

11%

Don't know

2%

Source: Accountemps, a Robert Half company

Employees were asked,“Other than additional compensation, which one of the following would top your wish list when it comes to your job this year?”

More vacation days

30%

Better benefit plan, such as enhanced health care plan

26%

More scheduling flexibility, such as telecommuting or flexible work hours

19%

More training or professional development opportunities

15%

Other corporate perks, such as onsite meals and amenities, preventive health and wellness support, or subsidized transportation

9%

Source: Accountemps, a Robert Half company



(View an infographic of the findings.)

“You can't underestimate the importance of time away from work,” said Bill Driscoll, a district president with Accountemps, in a news release. He noted that companies should encourage staff to take the vacation time they've earned and disconnect while out of the office in order to relax, recharge and return with renewed energy. “Managers can set a good example by taking time off themselves and not checking in when they're on vacation,” he said.

There's a potential silver lining to the survey results. “Changing a company's benefits package can be a lengthy, challenging and expensive process; re-evaluating the vacation policy is fairly straightforward in comparison,” Driscoll said. “Offering additional vacation time shows employees you're committed to helping them achieve greater work/life balance.”

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter @SHRMsmiller.

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