Is Your Paid Time Off Policy Costing you Candidates?

Job openings are at a 17 year high, the unemployment rate is low at 3.9 percent, and employers everywhere are taking notice of the high competition for talent. Great candidates have many choices when it comes to where they want to work, and 57 percent of people say employee benefits are an important consideration before accepting a job. Your paid time off policy plays into that, and can round out a strong offer—or send candidates running the other way. If you want to improve your offer acceptance rate and build a more efficient recruitment process, make sure your time off policy is attractive to candidates.

Candidates want work-life balance

The top two things candidates find attractive when considering a job are competitive compensation packages and an emphasis on work-life balance. A generous paid time off policy checks both boxes. It shows candidates that you support and encourage time away from work. Organizations with less generous policies may lead candidates to believe that work-life balance isn’t valued or respected, and candidates may walk away. If you offer a strong paid time off policy, make it known so it can strengthen the compensation package you present to candidates.

It also doesn’t hurt to show candidates that people at your organization actually use their paid time off. Two-thirds of employees say their company culture is ambivalent, discouraging, or sends mixed messages about time off. Many fear taking vacation because it might make them appear less dedicated at work or replaceable, or make them lose consideration for a raise or promotion. To combat this, you can take a page out of CA Technologies’ playbook and provide SWAG packs to employees, along with a branded hashtag. Then, when your employees share photos on a beach with a branded umbrella, you can share those images on your company’s social channels too. Some companies even go as far as paying for their employees’ vacations.

Time off can make up for low compensation

A competitive salary may not be enough to win over candidates. Fifty one percent of people indicated they would take a job for 10 percent less pay if unlimited paid time off was included. That means another organization can come in with a lower salary offer, but more paid time off, and swoop your candidate away.

When considering your compensation packages, it’s crucial to research what your competitors are offering in terms of salary and benefits. That way, you can build a total compensation package that will win over candidates—even if it means getting creative with various other benefits and perks. For instance, remote work or flex work options can be a great no-cost way to improve work-life balance. Some organizations have even implemented fun policies, like “Summer Fridays,” where employees get an extra Friday off during each of the summer months.

Long-term employees get more paid time off

Many organizations increase paid time off for employees over time. On average, a full-time employee gets 11 days off after a year, 15 days off after 5 years, 18 days off after 10 years, and 21 days off after 20 years. If you’re recruiting a long-term employee away from another organization, they may lose interest if they will see a significant reduction in paid time off.

On the other hand, 53 percent of employees who get paid vacation would leave for more at another company. Use this information to your advantage, and create a generous paid time off policy for all employees. If needed, you may also want to give a green light to hiring managers to offer additional time off “under the table.” This can help you woo a candidate who might otherwise be taking a reduction in paid time off by joining your organization.

Final thoughts

While your paid time off policy isn’t likely to be the sole reason a candidate accepts or declines your offer, it’s certainly taken into consideration as part of your compensation package. A whopping 92 percent of companies offer paid vacation, but there are many different ways it can be structured. Consider what your competitors are doing, but also what would work best for your organization, to come up with a competitive time off policy. With our low unemployment rate, and high number of job openings, a great policy can sweeten the deal just enough for you to win your top-choice candidates.

For more tips on building an efficient recruitment process, download our eBook: 101+ Recruiting Hacks to Accelerate your Hiring in 2018.