We recently announced a small change to our vacation policy - Instead of 2 weeks off every year, we said "Take what you want - we'll cover for you!"
By definition, "Unlimited Vacation" means that you are able to take vacation without restrictions, limits or controls. At Webfortis we have a single caveat to the policy that requires an individual to be responsible and maintain a "Work is Done" status. No need for alarm; something this big must have a caveat! Basically, if you are able to be engaged in your work and with your customers from a chair on the beach with your family for a long weekend, more power to you. If you would like to take 10 weeks off to backpack around Europe, that may present some challenges in regards to the "work is done" status, but we are open to having that conversation with our employees.
In an industry where there is an abundance of work to be completed, it may seem that an unlimited vacation policy would be counter-productive, however we have not found that to be the case at Webfortis. Our team is made up of exceptional, hard-working resources that are evaluated on their individual performances and achievements, not on how much face time they have with their customers or supervisors.
There are many articles regarding the intrinsic value of initiating an unlimited vacation policy. Many of those discussions question whether or not it is a viable solution for all organizations or whether or not it is appropriate for all types of employees (hourly, salary, exempt, non-exempt etc.). Our executive team made a conscious decision to take a leap of faith in our employees and business processes and rolled out the policy to all full-time employees across the board.
Do we think people will take advantage of the policy? Well, we have refined recruiting techniques and specific practices around interviewing, hiring, and onboarding resources that harvest strong employee/employer relationships and determine culture compatibility fairly early on. Our Unlimited Vacation policy has been well received and is quickly becoming one of our most popular benefits (all the usual stuff is there of course - 401k, health, etc. - that stuff is really critical in this day and age!). Subsequently, we have found that there is quite a bit of peer-policing of anyone who might potentially abuse the policy as each employee has a vested interest in the success of the program and keeping it intact.
We have already begun to see a positive change in the drive and focus of our employees. Specifically, among our team members, there has been a mind-shift that they are not only expected to take ownership and create their own work/life balance, but they are also supported by management and the organization to achieve it. Choosing to extend unlimited vacation to all of our team members has also resulted in greater collaboration and more cross-training among the administrative staff.
Our resources are adults and deserve to be treated as such. Webfortis understands and promotes work/life balance and wants to make sure that our employees have the necessary tools to help them get there. They are now empowered to manage their day to day priorities and define what that balance looks like for themselves.
As Webfortis continues to grow, this policy is the perfect vehicle to allow us to retain the entrepreneurial spirit that Webfortis was founded on while preserving our high expectations in regards to the services we deliver to our customers.
If you are thinking of implementing a policy like this in your organization, I encourage you to do your homework on the front end; we belive the payoff is well worth the time invested. I have to end my post now - I'm booking a trip to Paris for 10 days later this year!