July 15, 2019
Company Culture 29 May 2017
3 Tips to Drive Employee Productivity with Balance and Planning
Erica Hipp

As an employer, it can be difficult to decide what vacation policy or days off to allow. It can feel like the Goldilocks syndrome. Too much or too little as you're striving for just the right amount. Additionally, you never want employees to feel that they never have support or that the company will fall apart without their position. 

Helping employees feel valued while driving productivity goes hand in hand with smart succession planning and great company culture. We want our employees to be rested and renewed, but sometimes you'll have people take advantage of the situation.

Regardless of the situation, all humans need time to recharge maintain productivity. Without proper planning of balance and responsibilities, you might see some employees showing signs of unproductivity or burnout. This can not only harm the individual but it can hurt the team morale. It's important to watch for warnings and have strategies in place to help achieve more balance. Many of these strategies can be directly implemented into your company's succession plan.

Communicate clearly about Time Off

According to a report done by Project Time Off, employees' fears around using vacation or personal paid time off are influenced by their companies. The report shows that 2/3 of employees don't feel they have clear communication or any messages at all around using the time off. This lack of communication can create a barrier and lack of transparency in the office.

This message and policy should stem from your succession plan and be decided by the directors, then introduced to the company leaders and managers. The progress and success of your managers and leaders will depend on a variety of factors such as knowledge and experience. 

However, what can't be taught is creativity and motivation. Time off and encouraging work-life balance can help keep your employees fresh, driven, and engaged. 

Reasons why Employees don't take Time Off

Some employers and studies have found that even with a great succession plan and a time off policy in place employees are still not taking time off. In fact, the National US Travel Foundation found most of the reasons for not taking leave, or working while employees should be on vacation stem from being a "work martyr."

  • 40% of employees are afraid of the mountain of work they’ll face when they return to work after time off.
  • 35% say they are the only ones who can do their jobs.
  • 25% are afraid of losing their jobs or fear being seen as replaceable if they take time off.

We found these results to be stunning but we weren't surprised. Employees and organizations with these findings are all across the board. 

With great succession planning and company culture, employees should feel valuable but not that they are THE ONLY ONE who can do the job. This type of feeling can create stress, lower productivity and breed a culture of unhealthy competition rather than one of cooperation and progress.

Planning for Time Off

Companies and organizations can gain investments when planning for time off in their employee's career. It can feel like a lofty investment on your end but will drive productivity, happiness and ultimately (most importantly) your bottom line.  Here are just a few of the ways you can show support to your employees and leaders:

1. Encourage Transparency

Talk to your managers and leaders. Know what they believe about time off, vacation, and their role and projected path in the company.  Ensure that your company transparency is an open line that can be discussed and achieved.

2. Practice What You Preach

Monkey see monkey do right?  Ensure that your own succession plan is in place and that you also are utilizing your time off. Try to use your own time off and be away when you're on vacation. Set the example of healthy behaviors for your team and help your managers do the same.

3. Encourage Rest and Learning

Ensuring your managers and leaders take appropriate time off is vital. It's also crucial that their training and promotion opportunities are planned for. It helps show that vacation can be taken and that manager can entrust his or her team to have confidence they can carry on and thrive. It also gives your employees an opportunity for growth or to see their potential.

Building a great company culture around a strong succession plan can help alleviate many of these fears. Having the right team in place will help employees feel confident in their position as well as comfortable to take a moment to recharge or strive for that promotion.

Productivity and company culture suffer when there aren't proper pathways laid out, or burnout happens. Help empower your staff with your great support, tools, and policies in place to drive better decisions and results.