New Study: Unlimited Vacation Ranks as Best Benefit for Belonging

Achievers research shows employees whose companies offer unlimited vacation are 43% more likely to feel a strong sense of belonging at work

Toronto, ON, November 14, 2023 — Employees with a strong sense of belonging are more productive and are less likely to job hunt, according to the new Belonging Blueprint report from Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI). AWI is the research and insights arm of Achievers, the global leader in employee experience solutions, with a focus on employee voice, recognition, and connection.

Achievers Workforce Institute data shows employees with a strong sense of belonging are seven times more likely to say they are productive at work, compared to those with a low sense of belonging. The Belonging Blueprint includes ongoing research on the topic, including practical applications of its proprietary framework, the AWI Belonging Model™️, and findings on the benefits that drive belonging.

The report also found that the right benefits lead to a stronger sense of belonging. According to the results of a survey of 3,500 employees in July 2023, the most effective tools and benefits that drive belonging are:

  1. Unlimited vacation (+43%)
  2. Digital pharmacy (+37%)
  3. Always-on listening tool such as an AI chatbot (+33%)
  4. Tools to connect employees with their coworkers (+25%)
  5. Childcare support, either on-site or subsidy (+23%)

“Belonging is a fundamental human need that plays a crucial role in shaping our overall wellbeing and satisfaction, both in personal and professional contexts,” says Workday Vice President, Belonging and Diversity Kumari Williams. “When individuals feel a sense of belonging within their workplace, they are more likely to be happier, healthier, and more productive. Moreover, they tend to stay with the company for longer periods, contributing to increased stability and continuity within the organization.”

Embracing unlimited vacation to build trust and belonging at work

The survey found that employees who have unlimited vacation time were 43% more likely to feel a strong sense of belonging at work. This group was also 66% more likely to be engaged, 54% more likely to have high job commitment, and 48% more likely to self-report being productive at work.

“There’s a belief that employees who have no set vacation limit take less time off compared to employees given a specific, generous amount such as six weeks,” says Achievers Chief People and Culture Officer Hannah Yardley. “Our data shows that there are positive benefits to unlimited vacation policies; however, it is up to leadership to empower managers and individuals to take as much leave as they want or need. It is this relationship built on psychological safety and trust that ultimately influences the amount of time employees take off and an employee’s sense of belonging.”

No “one-size-fits-all” for benefit package

Different benefits are more impactful on some groups than others. For example, according to the AWI benefits and belonging research, having egg freezing or caregiving support available does not increase belonging for men, but increases women’s rate of belonging by 22% and 45% respectively. In addition, childcare support increases men’s sense of belonging by 15% and women’s by 29%.

In addition to gender differences, we also saw significant differences in impact among people with a disability, who made up 16% of respondents. Unlimited vacation had an even higher effect, increasing the likelihood of a strong sense of belonging by 57%. Pet insurance was another winner with this group, increasing sense of belonging by 53%, compared to an 18% increase for the general population.

“We’re increasingly seeing employees demand and expect a personalized work experience. This includes rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach to benefits,” Yardley says. “When assessing what benefits to prioritize, as HR leaders, we have to think about our employee population and what’s going to have the biggest impact for the people on our teams.”

About the Study

Benefits and belonging findings are based on a survey of 3,500 respondents from Australia, Canada, Singapore, UK, and USA, which was conducted in July 2023. Data correlating belonging and employee outcomes comes from the 2023 Foundations of Manager Effectiveness research, based on a June 2023 survey of 3,600 employees from the countries listed above. To read the entire Belonging Blueprint report, including other demographic and country trends, click here.

About Achievers

Achievers partners with hundreds of organizations around the world to elevate their engagement and retention strategies through our employee voice, recognition, and connection solutions.
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