Changing jobs is stressful. How can you know how an employer will treat you after you are hired? Follow the money. Your salary is one indicator of how much a company will value you, but the more they pay, the more they assume they have you by the golden handcuffs. So, look at the benefits package. Here is where they are going to put their money on the line for your health and wellness. Specifically, see if they provide vacation planning services. Here is what this one benefit will tell you.
Run away when a company shows that they are unwilling to learn and adapt. Refusing to modernize decades old systems is one sign, another is a lack of employee wellness programs. Smart and forward thinking employers are providing a broad range of wellness benefits to employees. The astute HR departments know that the physical and mental health of employers has a large financial impact on the company. Employers are not interested in your wellness for your sake, they are interested in your productivity. They know that getting you to quit smoking or take a vacation will improve their bottom line. The willingness to invest in a vacation planner says they know that seeing to your over all health will increase their over all productivity. A company with an investment attitude in one area will be successful in other areas as well.
Commitment to the Benefits
Job seekers usually ask about how much vacation their prospective new company offers, but the data from a survey by Skift shows 42% of Americans do not use any of their vacation time. This makes me tear up a little to think of all my fellow Americans who don't take time off. One reason for this is companies may say the have so much vacation but they have a culture that discourages you from using it. If they provide vacation planning services, the company is committed to you taking your vacation time. They are also more reluctant to ask you to stay home and work at the last minute because they also have some skin in the game.
Leadership from the Top
Living in Colorado I have had numerous managers tell me if there is a snowstorm in the mountains then its ok if I take off work to ski the freshies. How many of them followed through on that promise? Big fat goose egg, 0 (I would go anyway and it was worth the consequences). Managers are not social scientists, mental health professionals or wellness experts. Managers think butts in chairs means work is getting done and butts on vacation means work is not getting done, even though all the data collected by aforementioned experts says employees who take vacation are more productive. It takes good leadership from the top of the company to implement systems that allow employees to thrive. Job hunters should look for companies with leadership creating systems where the employees and managers are given the best chance at success.
They Know Their Employees
The average family vacation takes 20-30 hours of planning. What is the likelihood that some of those hours will be at work? I don't want to know how much of my round the world trip was planned at work (in my defense, what else was I going to do manning a 3rd shift thermal vac test waiting for temperatures to ramp). Employees check social media or do other personal business during work hours. A realistic employer will know that vacation planning will be part of that. One study showed for each additional 10 hours of vacation time employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8 percent. Employers want to reap these benefits so they must allow time to plan the vacation. A realistic and savvy company will pay for a planner to have both happy and focused employees.
Vacation planner benefits are not an overly common, but they should be. If you see it on your next potential employers list, probably they are a company focused on both their employees well being and their own bottom line in mutually beneficial ways.
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