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Work-Life  >>   Using time off as a reward incentive Search Discussion Posts
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Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/09/2010 12:30pm   385 Views

Is there anyone who provides 'time off' as a reward incentive?  If so, how is this done?


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/10/2010 06:29am  
   (1 rating)


A good time- off survey with some relevance: http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Documents/09-0228_Paid_Leave_SR_FNL.pdf

Time-off seems like a good reward option that doesn't cost much, if absent employees don't need to be replaced or result in overtime to cover their absence.

This survey of cash bonuses gives examples of bonus practices where time-off could be used instead of cash:




Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/10/2010 06:33am  

Hi Renee - I believe most companies would state that the reason they provide more paid time off to employees who have been with the company longer than they provide to new employees is to reward length of service as an incentive.

I believe most companies who allow their exempt employees to take time off in lieu of additional pay would argue that it is offered as an incentive to reward people for going the extra step to see a project through to completion.

I also believe that most good supervisors will reward their employees who put forth an extra effort to get a project completed by working through the weekend or extended periods of time where they are working 10-12 hour days with a day off with pay without recording it as vacation.

Some companies that develop rewards & recognition programs will offer time off as one of the highest rewards.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/11/2010 09:08pm  

Is there no one else who sees an inherent contradiction in rewarding positive performance by sending people home?  The message, "You are so valuable that we don't want you doing any work," doesn't resonate much, to me. Seems self-defeating, because our researchers tend to be self-motivated high-achievers who take great pleasure in their work and who would feel punished if denied access to their work which is also their play, in a sense.

On the other hand, we tend to offer far more latitude and control over their time and their projects to those who produce superior output results.  Sabbaticals and the freedom to declare "I'm taking off to attend the Wimbleton Tournament" without prior approval being required are more typical for us.  Or letting superkeepers pursue special research projects of their own choice.  It's a fine line.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/12/2010 03:44am   Revised: 03/12/2010 08:31am  

Nobody is being "sent home." It's like vacation. People are not sent home to take vacation. They could stay at work if they want to and work on whatever turns them on, go to the library, spend time with their family, etc. People do have outside interests that are just as important to them as their work.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/16/2010 05:14am  

We have been offering up to 3 additional days - we refer to them as Personal Days - for those employees who have perfect attendance during the calendar year.  The incentive is divided into three periods, each four months.  For each period of perfect attendance they receive a Personal Day.  These days are scheduled in the same manner as vacation.  Unlike vacation, these days can be carried forward year to year for a maximum carry over of 10 days.  Employees must work a minimum of 600 hours during the period.

Our first year on this program we did not have many who qualified; however now on year 3 of this program we have over 70% of our population participating and earning personal days.  Attendance was a huge issue for us and we had tried cash incentives, prizes, etc., but his has truly been a great incentive for this issue.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/16/2010 06:06am  

It's probably equally important to note that companies try many approaches to incent people to come to work. 


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/16/2010 06:21am  

We offer a similar practice of earning Personal Days for perfect attendance.  Our period is every quarter with criteria such as no more than 8 hours of unscheduled absences and no more than 5 missed Kronos punches and tardies.  This has been a great incentive for non-exempt staff and I would suspect it cuts down on unscheduled absences and tardies/missed punches.  We have had this in place for several years now.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/16/2010 07:47am  
   (1 rating)

We have a very informal policy around time-off rewards.  It is at the managers discretion and is based on work performance or work related contests.

We use a certificate process that must be redeemed within a specific period of time that can vary from 3 month to 12 months.

As an example, if an employee works on a large project with successful results, we would provide the project team with “Time off certificates”  They can be for a ½ day or full day depending on the scope and complexity of the project.  The certificate will have the redemption period on it.  When the employee wants to take the time off, he/she presents the certificate to his/her manager.  The manager must approve the time off the same way they would for any vacation or personal time.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/16/2010 09:50am  

That's a nice plan that Randee describes.  Worthy of a write-up to be added as a white paper on a successful innovative reward incentive in the Resource Center, I suggest.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/16/2010 01:58pm  

Towarnicky Theorem #4:  It is written somewhere that paid time off must vary directly with length of service, NOT.  

A Sibson Segal survey earlier this century (before the Great Recession) showed over 50% of Americans would change employers for as little as three more days of vacation.  I bring this up to confirm that many associates value time off more than pay - that is, we used to offer a vacation purchase program and we were always surprised by the level of utilization.

Anyway, 15 years ago, as my leadership considered potential improvements in vacation (because we were not "competitive" at certain service cohorts), I recommended that we actually make a change to eliminate the service-based accrual distinctions - the proposal would have taken 15 years to fully phase in.  My Total Rewards argument went something like - let's provide everyone the amount of paid time off we believe is optimal for rest/recharge, and then take the reductions in cost (lower the amount of pay for time not worked) and incorporate it into direct compensation awards (performance incentives for top performers).  Then, offer the high performers a choice of added incentives (bonus payment) and allow them to instead convert it to time off.  

Nope.  That proposal exposed the fact that management of the day did not trust their ability to effectively assess performance across the enterprise (i.e., the performance management/assessment process was not consistently applied).  Making time off awards part of the rewards program, instead of an entitlement based on past service, introduced the potential for conflict. 

The proposal went nowhere.  I still have it somewhere if you like.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/16/2010 02:05pm  

Can you direct us to the Segal study, please?


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/16/2010 02:11pm  

Good law, that, Jack.  Sometimes you learn more from what doesn't work.  You always learn more from failures than from success.  And (one of Brennan's Laws) anyone who has never made a mistake never made any important decisions.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/17/2010 08:27am  

In a similar vein to the earlier post, we offer "gold coins" worth 2 hours of time-off for going above and beyond.  These are used like spot bonuses for special projects.  When the employee wants to redeem it, they turn the coin into the department timekeeper who codes their time-off with pay. 

In an economics course, I was introduced to the following philosophy of wages.  Employees are paid for performing a particular task at the wage they agree offsets the "cost" to them of giving up that time.  Employers pay for the employee's "time" rather than their "work".   If we got paid for "spending" our time as we want, would anyone "work" for wages?  Just a thought.


Using time off as a reward incentive  
Posted: 03/17/2010 11:19am   Revised: 03/17/2010 11:25am  

that's why it's named "compensation."  That is also the philosophy behind most wage policies and in particular the FLSA, reflecting the concept that the worker "don't go no control" over the work and the economic value of their time must be maximized by the employer who is alone responsible for so closely supervising the worker that the rate of pay can be justified. 

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