Magazine article Workforce

Dear Workforce

Magazine article Workforce

Dear Workforce

Article excerpt

Alternatives to Long Vacations

Dear Workforce:

My company is exploring counting experience with other employers for vacation purposes for our management/professional group. We realize that our vacation benefit is rich at four weeks after one year, but we are not competitive with one very specialized group.

My research shows that about 70 percent of companies in my geographic sector count experience. Is this an increasing trend, or best practice? How can we change to this type of system, particularly with respect to how existing employees are handled?

-Experimenting with Vacation,

senior HR consultant, medical,

Calgary,Alberta, Canada

Dear Experimenting:

Retention expert Roger Herman says that hefty vacation packages are a competitive tool, but can be counterproductive. You are hiring people to be at work, not to be on vacation. Let your competitors dangle more vacation time in front of specialized workers. You should look at doing something more creative than a length-of-vacation contest. Here are some ideas:

Pay the employee's vacation expenses. Example: Motek, Inc., a software house in Beverly Hills, California, puts away $100 per week for each employee who is at work that week (and meets assigned results). At the end of a year, when it's vacation time, the company gives the employee $5,000 toward vacation expenses. Money must be used for vacation-not a new car or home remodeling.

Other ideas: a spa day, for the employee and perhaps the employee's spouse. This only costs you a day of productivity, but will be deeply appreciated. Or consider special days off when kids are not in school for teacher inservice training days. In the interest of being equitable, you should also give floating days for employees who don't have kids in school.

Provide tickets to concerts, sporting events, theater-these are low cost, high perceived value, minimal time lost from productivity.

If these specialized employees go to conferences, consider an extra day off in the destination city, perhaps with the spouse included. Get creative-don't just do what everyone else does. Remember, while you need top talent to get the job done, the job won't get done if they're not there.

Good Leaders Help People Adjust

Dear Workforce:

Our company owns six racetracks in five states. We have some seasonal employees who work only when there is live racing. As such, these employees (parimutuel tellers, admissions staff, parking attendants) rotate to the different tracks four times a year. Each track has some variance in rules and the positions are primarily union. How can we help these people adjust to different managerial styles and philosophies as they move from track to track?

-Racing for the Finish Line,

director of training,

sports and recreation,

Louisville, Kentucky

Dear Racing:

Jim Concelman of Development Dimensions International says that the first step is ensuring that you have consistent, high-quality leadership at all of your facilities, so that employees who move between them can expect clear communication, know what is expected of them, and are treated with respect wherever they go.

One of the most important parts of a leader's job is to clearly communicate expectations to employees and to check to make sure they understand procedures, policies, work rules, etc. This applies in all workplaces and is especially important with a workforce that's constantly changing. Certainly a leader can expect employees to know documented policies, procedures, job/role descriptions, rules, and regulations, but it's still up to the leader to describe how these standards apply in a particular work situation.

When it comes to "managerial styles and philosophies," the question is really about who should adjust to whom. As in any social relationship, both parties should try to understand the other person's style, abilities, and motivations, and attempt to adjust their own styles to establish a productive relationship. …

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