In many companies, December is the time when employees take stock of theirleftover personal days and start missing more work, taking time off to goshopping or to go on vacation, or just to use it up before it disappears. It canbe a frustrating trend for busy managers who have no choice but to pick up theslack, and it can have a significant impact on overall productivity.
To combat the personal-day exodus at the end of the year, Educational TestingService rewards its people for not using their sick days. "We expect employeesto treat ETS properly by not taking frivolous time off, so we decided to treatthem properly by rewarding them for it," says Rikki Haber, manager of benefitsfor the company.
The Paid Time Off incentive program offers employees gift certificates fromGiftCertificates.com equaling $100 a day for every personal day they don’ttake, assuming they have at least three or more unused days left over at the endof the year.
The rewards are given out the first week in January, after Haber tallies whois eligible and how much each will receive. Recipients get to choose a giftcertificate for any of hundreds of stores offered through GiftCertificates.com,or they can redeem the reward for cash. About one-third of the recipients choosecertificates, she says.
"The program rewards people for being responsible corporate citizens, andit dramatically reduces the number of days off our employees use," she says.Since its launch two years ago, the program has been popular with employees.Haber gave away thousands of gift certificates at the end of 2001 and expects togive even more out at the end of 2002.
"People really responded to it. They started to reconsider their need totake time off." And even though most employees’ salaries average more than$100 per day, the reward and the resulting recognition are considered veryvaluable. "When we first announced the program, people called to complain,"she says. "They told me they wouldn’t have used their days off if they hadknown about it."
To keep people focused on the program, Haber posts reminders and articles inthe news section of the company’s intranet site, which also features a link toGiftCertificates.com.
"It’s a great program that showed immediate results," she says. "Itis painless, efficient, effective, and very well received."
Workforce, June 2002, p. 90 -- Subscribe Now!