Your company culture and your employer brand can be pulled through to any part of your organization that touches your employees, including a vacation policy. A company’s vacation policy, and how you promote it, can say a lot about your culture and brand. The spectrum is broad – from no vacation for the first year of employment to unlimited vacation. Some industries – such as the financial industry – require two weeks (to be taken all at once) for legal reasons. Some companies opt to make their vacation policies unique to their company. Here are a few examples of different vacation policies that connect with the culture: Netflix: Netflix’s culture of “freedom and responsibility” is pulled through to so many different parts of the employment experience. Its vacation policy is no different, allowing unlimited vacation as long as employees get their work done.
Airbnb: This travel company that connects people’s homes and apartments with travelers provides employees with a $2,000 travel stipend. This is a company all about transforming the travel industry, and that extends to their employees as well.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital: The mission of this organization is “to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.” This is a charitable and altruistic mission. The idea of charity even spreads into the organization’s vacation policy. In 2007, the company created a vacation time bank where staff can deposit unused personal days, sick leave, or time off. Employees who are in need of additional days, due to personal or family health-related reasons, can apply for extra days through this bank.
PNC: PNC has a “Grow Up Great” initiative, which focuses on improving early childhood education. Employees have the ability to take up to 1 week of paid time off to volunteer for a cause related to this initiative.
Even if you have a pretty standard policy, there are ways to promote it that reflect your culture. For example, I worked for a company with a typical 2-3 week paid leave policy. Because the company’s growth was through acquisition, the culture was still maturing. A common thread was that employees felt taken care of by the employer, demonstrated by the benefits provided, the advancement opportunities, and supportive teams. My team loved travel, and encouraged taking 2 weeks at a time to explore a destination. This was a way of taking an indistinguishable policy, and making it unique to the company.
We always say at exaqueo, perks do not make a company culture, and this is no different. Think about how those perks reflect your culture. How can your vacation policy mirror your culture and brand? This is your opportunity to show your employees what your organization values, and how you value their time outside of the office.
Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.