Take the Hint from Your Team: New Study Shows You Need to Offer More PTO

Krystal Barghelame Former Integrated Marketer, Gusto 
You should offer more PTO

Summer tends to bring out wanderlust in even the most home-bodied folks. Boats are waxed, bike tires patched, and Airbnbs booked, as people gear up for their long-awaited travel plans. Vacation season is upon us, but are your employees hopping on the travel bandwagon? 

It’s no surprise that paid time off is a core benefit that every employee wants. And according to a recent Glassdoor study, PTO stacks up as the second most important core benefit to employees, right after health insurance. But a brand new study from TSheets suggests PTO might be even more important than you think. Turns out, employers need to take a healthy hint. If you want happier employees, give them what they’re asking for: More PTO. And spoiler alert: They might not even take it allit’s the option of taking more time off that matters most.

Based on the latest employee data, here are four reasons why you should consider offering a generous PTO policy.

1. Your employees want more than they’re getting

The findings:

Most employers offer paid time off as part of their core benefits package. Want to know how your vacation policy stacks up? The magic number of days was between 11 and 15 days per year. But the demand for more PTO is overwhelming: 88 percent would like to be offered even more paid vacation than they currently are.

What you can do about it:

Your employees are likely in that same camp. Whatever your PTO policy, it’s worth taking a good, hard look at it. Does it stack up against your competitors in your area? Are your employees unsatisfied with the policy? If so, where can you budget? Baking in a little more vacation could generate quite the delight among your team.

2. Many employees would sacrifice for more PTO

The findings:

Just how much does PTO matter to employees? The answer is: Very much. In fact, they wouldn’t just ditch free amenities like free lunches for it, they’d even sacrifice some salary. Turns out, 28 percent of employees say they’d take a pay cut if it meant they’d get additional PTO.

What you can do about it:

Does PTO feel like a particularly precious commodity to your business’s success? If so, transfer part of that difficult decision to your employees instead. Ask them to choose: Would they like to be paid less in exchange for more PTO? Alternatively, you could build in more PTO into their bonus and promotion structure. That way, they feel like they can see the light (or a beautiful, sunny beach) at the end of the tunnel. There’s more flexibility than you think in offering vacation packages that work for each individual on your team.

3. Most employees don’t even use their full vacation time

The findings:

The survey also revealed that 70 percent of employees did not use all of their PTO last year, many citing being “too busy” as the main reason for skipping their vacay. In fact, 26 percent of employees who did not use all of their PTO admit to having 10 or more days left over at the end of the year. Let’s ponder that for a moment. If you apply this statistic to the number of employees working in the United States, the result is roughly 600 million days of unused PTO paid time. Yikes. Looks like millions of Americans are getting their suntans from glowing computer screens instead of the good old-fashioned sunshine.

What you can do about it:

So what exactly do these findings mean to you? Even though a vast majority of employees do not take their PTO, simply knowing they have the time off is enough to satisfy them. Now, if you offer more PTO to your employees, you should definitely be prepared for them to take the full amount allotted to them. But just keep in mind: The idea of flexibility and time off can hugely impact your team’s morale. They’re less likely to think you’re stingy, and more likely to come into work full throttle with the knowledge that they can take the time off when the need it, how they need it.

4. You can attract and retain top talent with an attractive vacation policy

The findings:

When choosing between different companies, people look at the whole package you’re offering. And vacation is absolutely part of the picture: It signals quite a bit about the culture they’re about to step into. It’s no surprise that 60 percent of employees surveyed say they’d turn down a job offer that did not include paid time off.

What you can do about it:

As mentioned before, do your homework: Find out what competitor employers are offering because your employees will be evaluating how you stack up. If you really want to stand out, offer a little more and then tout it! Make sure your employees know that this is a special benefit and something you believe in. In turn, they’ll feel lucky to work at your company: A healthy attitude you want to foster.

As a general rule, your employees look to the valuable moments you can provide them outside the value of their paychecks. But for you, PTO is about balancing employee happiness and company interests, fostering opportunities for personal time, and who knows, maybe taking your own trip to Mexico. So there you have it. Paid time off is one the most important benefits you can offer your employees — when and how to spend it is up to them.

Krystal Barghelame Krystal was an integrated marketing specialist at Gusto. She was also a former writer on the Gusto content team and loves terrible pens. Er... puns.
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