PTO vs. Vacation, Sick, and Personal Time

I have always been of the opinion that if my employer offers me vacation or PTO then it is my right to take it for whatever I want without explanation. A PTO policy creates a pool of days that employees can use at their discretion. This creates a sense that they may actually get a true work/life balance. Does your employer ask you for details of your PTO? If so, why?

Why should it matter how employees are using their time? Did they earn it? Did they follow policy and procedure for requesting it? Did it get approved? If so, then you shouldn’t have to go any further. The reason I ask is because if managers are asking why or where someone is going does that make it subjective to the manager to pick and choose which time off they will approve and which they won’t if they don’t like the answer from the employee? Is saying that I want to stay home and work a week in my garden without interruption any less or more important than wanting time off to go to a theme park with the family? Approving time should be based on the policies and procedures of the organization. For example, your company may use the “first come, first served” approach or the “seniority” route. If you use these methods instead of finding out the itinerary of your team member you are in better shape to stay away from a discrimination claim. An employee that overhears an approval for the theme park but then requests the garden time and gets denied may question your decision and your motives resulting in filing a grievance.

A PTO Bucket of Days

This is my favorite way to go only because I haven’t had the experience of unlimited PTO in an organization yet. I’ve read about it but I don’t see a lot of company’s trying this approach quite yet.

I have been in several organizations that allow you to take up to three weeks of vacation/PTO at a time. Now, I know what you are thinking….All that work piling up if you actually took three weeks off. Believe me, I hear you. With as many emails I get on a daily basis, I would not want to come back to over 2600 of them after three weeks away and that would just be the email pile up. There would also be a whole lot of other catch up to do after that amount of time off.

However, some employees are more task-oriented and don’t usually sit at the traditional desk so their work doesn’t pile up. This makes it easier for them to take this amount of time off. I would say that in my experience people take about 5 days off at a time so they can spread out their time off during the year instead of all at once.

Vacation, Sick, and Personal Time

If you have a vacation, sick and personal day type of leave then other problems and concerns may arise. If an employee is ill throughout the year and runs out of their allotted “sick” time they may want to borrow from the personal or vacation bucket. Do you allow this or not and say “Sorry, Charlie”. While some policies allow for the use of vacation for sick time, others don’t and then you run into the employees who may lie or make up stories about how they are using their time.

Employee are Adults…wait, what?

We want to empower our “adult” employees to take their PTO at their discretion so we can stop the practice of needing to ask permission from their managers to miss work. We also want to encourage them to use the time they have earned to decrease burnout in the workplace.

Always, always, always, have policies and procedures to establish how requests are made and granted so you are treating everyone fairly and consistently. Your employees will value the flexibility of PTO vs. the Vacation,Sick, and Personal Day approach.

Recruiting, Ugh, right?!?

I know what you’re thinking, “I’m doing everything I can think of!” Well, let’s put those ideas aside for now and see what else is out there. Now I already know that some of you have budget constraints, technological barriers, or you are an HR team of one. Let’s see what we can do to help you all. If we keep listing ideas, there might be something new that will work for you and your organization.

The Basics

  • Recruiting Software
  • Job sourcing websites
  • Job Fairs (internal and external)
  • Company websites
  • Company social media sites
  • LinkedIn sites professional and personal

Let’s start with Job Fairs. Are you doing them? I am sure it depends on the industry you are in. What are you doing at them? Are we sitting behind a six foot table not engaging with the candidates or are we on our feet out in front of the table greeting and talking with potential hires?

Are you passing out any information? Swag? I found a great tool in a small logo’d zipper pouch that my business card fits into along with a piece of candy of course! It is a bright color, simple, small, and something that reminds them of me when they get home. Of course I pass out other pertinent materials and encourage them to write their contact information down so I can thank them for stopping by.

What does your table look like?

Is your table covered with a plain white table cloth and white paper to put names and numbers on? Is the table covered with a cloth at all?

Please make sure that you use either your company colors or a bright tablecloth to stand out from the competition. You can also purchase a relatively inexpensive smaller banner cloth with your company logo or name on it. Purchase some display cases with and 8 x 10 flyer listing your open positions or current hiring bonuses. Candy is always a nice give-away as well as some type of branded gift.

Elevator Speech

Definition: A slang term used to describe a brief speech that outlines an idea for a product, service, or project. Usually 20-60 seconds in length. Do you have one?

Here is how to create one:

  • List what you do for the company and who you are
  • List what service or jobs you can offer them
  • What are the advantages of working for your company
  • Why do you differ from other companies
  • Fine tune your speech
  • Make sure the sentences flow
  • Memorize it
  • Practice, Practice, Practice!

Example: Hi! My name is Lisa Gallucci and I am the HR Director here at James Company. I have sixteen openings right now in several departments including facilities, accounting, customer service, and environmental services. We offer 100% employer paid medical, dental, and vision for our employees. Please feel free to write down your contact information here and we can set up a tour!

Now you have given them a bunch of information about what you are offering, what you can offer them and you have received their contact information to follow up with them. Great job! Stay tuned for discussions on other recruiting ideas. Ciao for now!

People don’t leave their jobs……they leave their managers.

Accountability

Accountability is a huge thing in every business. People want leadership. They crave it. If their leaders don’t hold themselves accountable to policies and procedures and then don’t hold their Directors accountable to them, the employees not only pay the price but they lose faith in the company, its systems and do one of two things. They stay and just and just collect a paycheck, or they leave for another company.

What does that do to the rest of the team? They must pick up the slack until another person is hired. When this happens, they still have to work harder until that new person gets trained. In the meantime another person gets fed up and resigns. It’s a vicious cycle. HR representatives are killing themselves to keep good people but if the powers that be don’t follow the policies as stated, chaos ensues.

So, at the beginning of this blog I say that people leave their managers right? Yes, and why? Because of the rest of the statements listed above and other things that come into play.

How does HR help this? Well, speaking truth to power is a difficult thing for most people, but it is imperative that we do. There are ways to get your point across and with good reasons. Precedent is usually one that gets to the core of leadership. They don’t want to have to repeat this one-off decision so if you can show that the thing they want to do is going to set precedent, then sell it that way. Go to policy. Why do we have them if we aren’t going to follow them? Go to the question of “What do we do now in this situation?” This is a big one. If we stray from what we normally do, and it is with policy and procedure, we better have a really good reason to do so. Now I know some of you are reading this and saying, “BS!” lady! I get it. But, I have had to do this on many occasions. Recently. If your organization has an HR legal resource, it is always a good way to begin.

If you feel like I do and really love your job, then use your brainpower, resources, and passion for HR and do the job you were paid to do. Protect the company from potential law suits. You’ve got this!