Creative benefits: An example that resonates

Posted On October 14, 2014

I’m on the road at least one night per week for 30+ weeks a year talking to companies about how to attract, engage and retain the next generation of talent. Whether in a small group workshop or to a keynote audience of multiple hundreds, we are often discussing creative ways to look beyond pure dollars and identify other benefits that make employees feel appreciated and understood.  The examples I share and ideas that come from the audience frequently focus on achieving the elusive work-life balance.  I’ve heard a lot, but I found this example recently on and it is new, even to me:  A pre-cation.

At least two companies (both based in San Francisco, where competition for tech talent is fierce and people are generally weirder than most other place) have begun offering, actually requiring, new recruits to take a paid vacation before starting new jobs.  It’s brilliant. It’s also a bit odd.

In today’s over-worked, stressed out work environment many, if not most, employees do not take all of their vacation (or “paid time off”) anyway.  Therefore the pre-cation isn’t a heavy financial burden.  Even when employees do max out their PTO, the cost of an additional two weeks at the start of employment pales in comparison to the benefit of having a refreshed, appreciative and, yes, engaged, new employee join the ranks.  Atlassian and 42floors, the two companies referenced in the Slate article, have been at this for a couple of years and see a difference.  In fact, one of them requires another 2-week paid refresher after five years on the job–they even provide a travel bonus.

I’m not sure how quickly such an idea could catch on in other industries or for larger companies, but it is a great example of thinking outside the box to find solutions that benefit both the company and the employee.

Categories: Generation Y / Millennials, Workplace