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What Employees Really Want from Their PTO Package

Paid Time Off (PTO) Is More Than a Privilege

Hard work and determination are as American as Jersey Shore reunions and bacon-topped desserts. And to make ends meet in our highly competitive, ultra-consumerist society, U.S. employees often find themselves putting in long hours, taking fewer lunch breaks, and even getting side-gigs to keep pace. Well, worth it or not, thou who burneth the candle at both ends burneth out entirely. That begs the question, is all the tenacity balanced with sufficient PTO and the ability to stay home when you’re sick? And what’s more, do workplaces feel the need to encourage those hours with cold, hard compensation?

Are 11 Days of PTO Too Many or Not Enough?

A new study by TSheets found employees are, for the most part, getting their hard-earned PTO, as 84 percent of employees said they receive PTO. On average, American workers receive 11 days of PTO per year, which includes both sick and vacation pay. That said, around 16 percent of the employees surveyed said they aren’t receiving any PTO this year, and 21 percent said they get somewhere between six and 10 days.

Be it work reflecting life or life reflecting work, employees who do have time off with compensation are still leaving precious PTO hours unused at the end of the year. In fact, the survey found that 65 percent didn’t use all of their PTO last year — five days, on average, were left unused.

There are reasons for the leftover PTO hours, of course. Some employees have hours that roll over into the next year, and some felt the pressure to work. Others simply didn’t take the time. When you look at respondents in certain age groups, those reasons became more varied.

Although younger people were more likely to have leftover PTO (61 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds versus 39 percent of the 45-and-up crowd), the reasons didn’t quite match up. Less than half (42 percent) of employees aged 55 and over said they didn’t take their PTO in full because of their workload, whereas only 18 percent of the younger employees gave the same reason.

Employees Under Pressure

As much as we’d like to believe our work-life balance is, well … balanced, most employees want to do a good job and put in a hard day’s work. That could be why the majority of the people surveyed (60 percent) gave work-related reasons for not using their PTO, and nearly a third of the respondents said they felt pressured to work instead. To make matters even more confusing for those of us who love a good vacation, almost half of employees admitted to working during vacation or on sick leave.

And what does pressure add to the mix? Well, stress, for one. Without that PTO, employees feel more stressed. Over half (58 percent) of employees who said they didn’t use all of their PTO said they’d describe their stress levels as “unhealthy.”

The PTO Employees Really Want

Since people occasionally need time to recalibrate and take care of personal items without thinking about work, time off isn’t just about vacation days. Nearly half of the employees who participated in the TSheets survey answered that they’d like to get more time off.

But when they were asked to choose between more PTO or a raise, 74 percent said they would take the money. Despite historically high levels of employment, more than 1 in 3 workers (39 percent) said they would accept a job without PTO.

In terms of the type of time off benefits employees desire, paid holidays tops this list, with 91 percent of employees ranking it as the No. 1 benefit. A close second (88 percent) value sick leave, and paid vacation came in third with 87 percent. Interestingly, fewer people said maternity and paternity leave are the most important benefits.

One in 5 said employers shouldn’t provide maternity leave, and 28 percent said employers shouldn’t provide paid paternity leave. With all that said, almost half of the respondents replied they’d take a lower paying job if it meant having more flexible working arrangements.

Choosing the Right Benefits of Employee Health and Well-Being

From what we’ve seen, it’s obvious that PTO is incredibly important for employees. And whether providing the 11-day average is a possibility, employers are responsible for determining whether PTO is a privilege or an integral piece of a compensation package that values an employee’s well-being, rest, and personal time.

So what’s in it for the employer? Happy employees, of course! Use holiday leave, sick leave, and vacation time as a recruiting tool and as a way to retain the best employees. As hardworking as our nation may be, technology has indeed made it easier to do our jobs and has given us the potential to arrange, plan, and track PTO when we need it.

Are you looking for new ways to incentivize the modern workforce? Get started with Achievers’ Incentives eBook.

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About the Author
Kim HarrisKim Harris is a copywriter and blogger based in Boise, Idaho, who has been putting her journalism background to good use telling true stories and helping businesses grow since 2008. When she’s not writing for TSheets by QuickBooks, you’ll find her queuing up entertainment and plotting her next escape.

 

 

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Make Education a Priority

5 Data-Based Reasons to Make Employee Education a Priority

If you’re not offering employees education opportunities then you might want to reconsider. Today’s generation of workers have put employee education and development high on their list of the most-desired benefits that a company can offer.

Offering educational opportunities has a wide variety of benefits for both employees and companies, and gives a competitive advantage from a recruiting standpoint. The right educational offering just might be the deciding factor for candidates who are being sourced for similar jobs with matching salary packages.

And this doesn’t have to be expensive. While some companies can afford to help their employees’ take graduate courses, for example, others simply provide in-house employee education opportunities or give employees a chance to learn outside of work by attending relevant conferences, seminars and trainings.

It’s an expense none-the-less. But before you discard this idea, let the data speak for itself. Having the right data to back up your initiatives always makes it easier to get additional funding and leadership support. Check out these five data-based reasons why you should make employee education a priority in your business.

  1. Employees Want Special Training to Advance Their Careers

Of almost 4,300 workers, a massive 74% felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work and, as a result, would value access to more development opportunities.

What type of incentives do employees want in our modern world? In addition to usual wants, like higher salaries and better work-life balance, employees are looking for special in-house training and skills development to help advance their careers.

By offering employees additional training opportunities, you’re investing in the advancement of their careers, while adding more value to your business. The more successful and capable your employees are, the better your business will be.

  1. Offering Employees Training and Development Increases Employee Retention

7 out of 10 people say that training and development opportunities influence their decision to stay with a company.

As a manager or HR professional, you’re well aware of the costs associated with employee turnover. As a reminder: it costs upwards of $4,129 to hire an employee, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) new Human Capital Benchmarking Report.

Offering employees external or internal training and development opportunities improves employee satisfaction, which in turn is likely to increase loyalty and decrease costly turnover.

  1. Employees Are Already Learning On Their Own Time

Respondents revealed that an average of seven hours per week of their own time is devoted to learning.

Did you realize your employees are already working hard to learn more and expand their skill set? While the survey cited above is specific to developers, most other employees are doing the same. A 2017 Udemy report found that 95 percent of millennials believe learning is key to their career success and are willing to spend their own time and money to do it.

By offering employee education instead, you help reduce personal costs for employees, which could outweigh salary issues or lack of other benefits, like health insurance or 401k options.

  1. Most HR Managers Don’t Think Their Training Is Good Enough

62% of HR managers believe that they are not doing a good job meeting the learner’s needs. 

Is your training program actually setting your employees up for success? Most employee training and development programs fall short of providing value. Investing in a comprehensive educational training program will not only help HR managers be more effective with this initiative, but set both HR departments and employees up for future success.

  1. Offering Educational Training and Development Increases Profits

Companies that offer comprehensive training programs experienced 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training. 

If you want to make more money—and what business doesn’t—invest in employee training and education. While this can be costly, it’s a sound investment that surely pays off. To benchmark the costs, the same ADT report found that average cost per learning hour is $82; use this to determine what you can afford. If you see improvements in the business’s bottom line, invest more.

Find the Budget for Learning

There are many reasons why learning is critical to your employees and company as a whole, and these are some of the most important ones to consider. When you invest in employee education, the company improves and your employees are happier, which means you may experience less turnover and even see higher profits—a win-win for everyone.

Don’t lose top talent due to a lack of educational offerings. Find out why almost three-quarters of employees plan on finding a new job this year and how to make them stay in Achievers’ latest report: The Retention Epidemic.

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Get a quick glimpse of the report’s key findings in this infographic.

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Are you ready to boost employee engagement at your workplace? Learn about the future of employee engagement at Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2018 in Toronto, October 23-24. Get the early bird rate and save $200 off the regular rate today. Buy now here.

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author
Jessica ThiefelsJessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a professional blogger and freelance writer. She spent the last two years working tirelessly for a small startup, where she learned a lot about running business and being resourceful. She now owns her own business and has been featured on Forbes. She’s also written for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 or connect on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Company Perks

10 Irresistible Company Perks for the New Year

In a recent survey of millennials, more than 30 percent said that they’d like their workplace to be “more fun” – and this element seems to be in short supply. Survey respondents noted that “fun and humor” were job aspects for which daily reality fell far short of their wishes. In order to entice and retain the most talented workers in today’s competitive job market, it’s important to come up with company perks that will add fun to your environment. Here are 10 amazing possibilities that could make your employer brand sparkle in the new year:

1. A Place in the Spotlight

Every company has a few would-be stars yearning to strut their stuff for colleagues. AOL has found that events like lip sync battles, happy hours, and ping pong or Foosball tournaments are great at keeping staff engaged. Andrea Marston, AOL’s senior director of talent acquisition, notes that “Offering these company perks helps keep AOLers happy and excited to come and have a productive work environment.” Bain goes farther afield with its “Bain World Cup” soccer tournament for employees once a year.

2. Vehicle Maintenance Service

Okay, we know that having your vehicle worked on doesn’t really qualify as fun. But the opportunity to painlessly take care of routine auto maintenance or bike repair on the clock leaves your team more time outside of work to do something more enjoyable. Adobe offers this service worldwide, while adding kayak storage at its Seattle campus. And, in order to make sure that transportation is never a problem for its employees, Adobe also offers shuttle service and a guaranteed ride home.

3. Company Yacht

This one only works if you’re located near the right body of water, but many organizations on the San Francisco Peninsula are realizing the potential benefits of proximity to the bay. One of these is iCracked, with its Redwood City headquarters right next to a communal dock. Employees who need a break can take the yacht out for a spin on the bay to clear their heads and breathe in the fresh salt air.

4. Flex Time for Surfing

It’s hard for staff members to feel down when the workplace reception desk posts daily surf reports – and then offers flexible hours so they can take advantage of those days with absolutely perfect waves. At Patagonia’s Ventura campus, HR director Shannon Ellis says, “Whether it’s playing volleyball or going down to the beach, we encourage people to take a moment of time to reconnect and enjoy summer.”

5. And Snowboarding…

Vermont snowboard maker Burton, located in Vermont’s Green Mountains, offers its workers flexible hours so they can catch the powder while it’s fresh. Free lessons and demo equipment lure newbies and veteran riders out onto the slopes, with free passes and discounted lift tickets thrown in. Meanwhile, office attire at Burton includes “jeans, flip-flops, mud boots” and anything that the workers feel like wearing.

6. In-house Cooking Lessons

For employees who want to actually enjoy a home-cooked meal (rather than dining at one of the company’s specialty cafes), Adobe hosts cooking classes by the company’s executive chef in the “Learning Kitchen”. These type of company perks may not fall under traditional forms of worker training, but it’s bound to keep team members on the company campus for longer hours.

7. Workspace in the Woods

Spanish architecture company Selgas Cano located its office in an actual forest (conveniently located in downtown Madrid). Workers sit at eye level with the leafy forest floor, under a curved glass wall and partial roof that let in abundant natural light. The structure is partially embedded into the ground as well, making it comfortable regardless of season or outdoor temperature.

8. Wrap-Around Lifestyle Benefits

Cutting-edge companies like Yahoo pull out all the stops when it comes to company perks. The team can get a haircut, massage or dental care; visit a farmer’s market; get their car washed; play volleyball; exercise in the fitness center; do yoga and enjoy free meals three times a day – all without leaving work. Yahoo Director of Communications Carolyn Clark states, ” [We want] our employees to feel excited about coming to work every day and making a difference.” With benefits like these, employees might never want to go home.

9. Concierge Service

For employees who are too busy with work tasks to take care of personal errands, Wisconsin household product brand SC Johnson employs a full-time concierge. This person may do anything from standing in line for concert tickets to taking an employee’s car in for an oil change – helping workers with that tricky work-life balance.

10. Employee Recognition

All the parties, boat rides and cooking lessons in the world can’t substitute for giving your employees frequent individual recognition. HR technology introduces creativity into your workplace and also provides a streamlined way to reward your team members for their unique contributions. Coworkers and managers can all participate together, while workers enjoy the fun of being rewarded for their efforts.

More than three-fourths of millennial workers state that “the culture and atmosphere of their workplace is just as important as pay and benefits.” In today’s tight job market, you’ll keep the edge over competitors if you provide unbeatable company perks and make your company into a place where people simply enjoy hanging out. To learn more about attracting and retaining employees, download our infographic on Six Stats That Speak to Employee Retention.

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National Employee Benefits Day

National Employee Benefits Day: An article roundup

Today is National Employee Benefits Day!

Providing your workforce with a competitive and comprehensive set of benefits is an essential element of employee engagement, retention, and talent acquisition. Many modern employers are finding themselves in a “perks war,” fighting for job candidates with an escalating series of add-ons that extend well beyond standard programs like health insurance and 401ks. This benefits-centric culture is adding a new set of challenges to benefits administrators who have to balance the desires of current and prospective employees, the expectations of the executive team, and the constraints of their budget.

In the face of these growing challenges, benefits administrators and total rewards managers truly deserve some recognition: you help make your organizations great places to work.

In the spirit of celebrating benefits, we’ve rounded up some of our most popular perks and benefits articles from the past year:

How to convince employees to take vacation time

4 ideas for celebrating employee anniversaries

Which company perks attract the best talent?

Do dogs at work actually improve employee engagement?

Make employee training a perk, not a chore

3 cool employee perks for the hot summer months

Annual bonuses: How much do they actually incentivize employees?