Many agency owners freak out when I suggest they consider unlimited PTO but after implementing it in many agencies over the course of a decade, I can tell you — the upside far outweighs your often unfounded fears. Like all things — it’s all about the details.
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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. As you can see I am still on Disney property, I am still at Disney’s Yacht Resort. We just wrapped up the two day workshop Money Matters. And one of the things we talked about was time off for our employees. We cannot be at Disney property without at least thinking about vacation a smidge. So back in the day when I started at the agency business, we had sick time and we had vacation time. Those two things did not cross paths and then in the last ten years or so, 15 years or so we moved into paid time off. Where everything got blended together and you got x number of days to use as you please. And over the last, I’d say five to eight years many agencies have been experimenting with and successfully implementing unlimited PTO. Let me explain to you what that looks like because for many agency owners when they hear that, they freak out at the idea of giving everyone free rein to take off as much time as they want. But here’s the psychology behind it. You know what it’s like when you have a set number of PTO days, you know what its like when someone is about to run out of the window of time that they have to use their PTO. They scramble to make sure that they use every single day, they don’t want to lose it so they use it. Whether they really actually want to take the time off or not. They may be sitting at home in their underwear, but darn it, they are going to use that time. One of the magic things that happens with unlimited PTO is that it takes all the pressure off the employee to use it or lose it. They know that they’ve got more available to them if they want to use it. And so that last month, a scramble typically for most agencies in December when you’re trying wrap up a lot of things for clients, when everybody is taking time off. Not only for the holidays but because they want to use all of their PTO. That can put a lot of pressure on an agency. With unlimited PTO that goes away. We’ve implemented this with dozens of AMI agencies and without exceptions the employees actually take less time off with unlimited PTO than they do with a set number of days. Now, don’t misunderstand you’ve got to have some rules around this. You have to have some boundaries around it. So that people don’t take advantage of it but for the most part you actually may have to say to your employees, “look you need to take some time off.” That’s how dramatic the shift is. So if you want to create an incredible attraction benefit, if you are recruiting new people, if you want to create an incredible retention benefit for your team, if you want to keep your best employees, I want you to think about offering unlimited PTO. If you are interested in how it works, how the boundaries are set up, what the rules look like so that no one feels taken advantage of, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] and I will send you some samples of employee handbook sections on how unlimited PTO is implemented in agencies. But I am telling you this is a bragworthy benefit that will help you recruit new employees. Employee satisfaction in the agencies where we have implemented this have sky rocketed and people take as much or less time off and feel all the better for it. It is a win across the board so, don’t dismiss it without at least doing some homework. I’ll be back next week, talk to you soon.