Paid Time Off (PTO) is a considerable benefit to salaried employees and is often a major factor of whether an employee will accept a new position within an organization. However, it's not uncommon for employees to allow their PTO to remain unused. So, why do employees neglect this essential work-life balance opportunity, which plays an integral role in your overall employee engagement strategy?

Benefits_of_Employee_Time_OffSome employees cite that they are hoping to bank their PTO for an extended dream vacation. Others allow their fear to determine their fate, noting that they may need time off in case of an emergency. More, it can likely feel burdensome or daunting to plan and prepare for PTO, considering the panic of trusting that projects will be done correctly while away. Though there are many reasons to not take advantage of PTO, navigating the work-life balance is vital, not only for the well-being of your employees but your organization, too.

In fact, your organization benefits from paying your employee their PTO while they are a member of your team, as compared to after they have turned in their notice and take their PTO to recharge before working for someone else.

The Benefits of Taking PTO

According to Project: Time Off, an average of 3.2 days of PTO goes unused each year per employee. Why? Fear is the main contributor.

  • 40% worry about their workload after returning from PTO
  • 21% don’t want to feel like they are replaceable to their organization

It is easier said than done, especially with SMART devices that enable our workforce to stay plugged in at all times. As an organization, it is truly in your best interest to encourage employees to take time off to promote a positive work-life balance. Employees need time away from work to rejuvenate themselves, thus increasing productivity, retention, new idea generation, and overall performance. In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor mentions research supporting this idea, noting that when, "the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31 percent, sales increase by 37 percent, and creativity and revenues can triple."

Further, the Project: Time Off study found that employees who take all of their vacation time increase their chances of getting promoted and getting a raise by 6.5 percent when compared with employees who leave 11 or more days of paid vacation unused. 

6 Ways to Encourage Employees to Use PTO

We now know that it is not uncommon for employees to allow their PTO to remain unused, and we also know the received benefits to your organization when an employee takes personal time to pursue rest and relaxation. As a vested management team member or executive, it's in your organization's best interest for you to encourage your employees to take time for themselves, but it's not easy to tell your employees to take time away. Start with these basic suggestions:

  • Be a positive example to your employees and use your PTO
  • Trust your employees with your day-to-day tasks while you are on vacation, which will show them that their tasks and projects will be precisely managed while they are away
  • Communicate the core benefits of PTO with your employees, reminding them that it's necessary to take care of themselves
  • Remind employees to schedule their PTO while hosting company-wide or departmental meetings
  • Do not offer payment or carry-over of unused PTO
  • Remove the fear of leaving work behind while taking PTO by cross-training within your organization to ensure an employee is confident to leave their work to their co-workers in their absence

Employees who utilize and enjoy their PTO prove to be more beneficial to the well-being and profitability of an organization. The simplicity of encouraging your employees to recharge while on PTO can be the difference in maximizing employee engagement, while allowing you, as an organization, the opportunity to achieve the competitive advantage that you strive to attain.

New Call-to-action At C.A. Short Company, we are your partner for increased employee engagement resulting in increased performance outcomes to grow your bottom line. Our process and research-based platform help you engage your team in order to increase your bottom line, motivate your staff to the benefit of the entire organization, and reward your people for the positive changes they make. To request a Complimentary Consultation, please click here.

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