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Paid Time Off Incentive Program Keeps Employees At Bat

October 22, 1999
Related Topics: Benefit Design and Communication, Featured Article
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Issue: It’s the same question asked over and over in today’s competitive job market: what benefit can employers offer to retain talented employees? Recently, David DeCapua, vice-president and partner at Dawson Personnel Systems in Columbus, Ohio, came up with a novel answer—and it hasn’t cost his company one cent.

Paid time off for productivity.
What DeCapua offers to his 65 full-time employees is extra paid time off if certain productivity goals are met. The program, implemented in 1998, has employees at the temporary staffing agency "knocking the cover off the ball," DeCapua said recently. And, though the company retains the right to terminate the incentive program at any time, DeCapua has no plans to do so at this time.

Reduced hours for meeting goals.
Offered first to Dawson’s sales staff, the program allows a salesperson to work "bankers’ hours" for the rest of the month as soon as the monthly sales goal is met. This means, for example, that if an employee reaches his sales goal on the third day of the month, he can work from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the rest of the month. In addition, if that sales person happens to be the first person to reach the goal that month, he also receives an additional two days off at the end of the month. And the results? "I had an employee tell me recently that she met her goal on the fourth day of the month," DeCapua said. "Does that not show you the potential your employees have that you’re holding back if you don’t implement these types of plans?"

Setting goals.
Setting the goals for sales staff is easy, according to DeCapua. "Ask yourself: ‘in my business, what would be considered a really big month for a sales person?’ Then, raise the bar by 20 percent," he suggested. But he admitted that setting goals and structuring the rewards for employees in his administrative and accounting departments was much harder. "I deferred to my department managers," he said. In turn, the managers polled employees and asked how such a program could work for them.

How it works.
According to DeCapua, some employees asked for Mondays or Fridays off. "I told them that if you can get your work done in a four-day time frame, that’s fine," he said. But DeCapua insists that a PTO incentive program must be offered to all employees—not just sales staff. "Sales staff may be making the money, but they couldn’t do it without the support of everyone back in the office," he pointed out.

Customers’ reactions.
From the beginning, one of DeCapua’s big worries was how clients would react to an empty office on late afternoons. However, the staffing agency’s clients have been very supportive of the program and, in fact, sales have been way up since the program’s implementation. One explanation for continued customer satisfaction might be the fact that employees on bankers’ hours aren’t completely off the hook—DeCapua insists that they check in for messages during their time away from the office. "With cell phones and e-mail, it’s not that big of a deal," DeCapua stresses. "In addition, we’re implementing a system here whereby employees will be able to check their e-mail by phone," he explained.

Advice to employers.
DeCapua offers simple advice to employers wishing to implement a similar program. "Step up to the plate and make the changes," he says. "If you don’t, the grass is going to be greener somewhere else. I guarantee it," he advises.

Source: CCH Incorporated is a leading provider of information and software for human resources, legal, accounting, health care and small business professionals. CCH offers human resource management, payroll, employment, benefits, and worker safety products and publications in print, CD, online and via the Internet. For more information and other updates on the latest HR news, check our Web site at http://hr.cch.com.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.

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