Paying People to STOP Working So Hard

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Last year I wrote a Compensation Café article titled: “How Much Money to Do a Job You Don’t Want?”  To summarize, no amount of compensation is enough if you truly hate your job. Today’s article is a different take on a similar concept. On July 10, 2012 Bart Lorang, the CEO of FullContact, announced via his company blogthat the company was going to pay employees to take their PAID vacation.  That’s right, the company is going to give it’s employee $7,500 to get off the grid.Of course, there are a few rules.

  1. You have to go on vacation, or you don’t get the money.

  2. You must disconnect.

  3. You can’t work while on vacation.

There are guiding principles

  1. Guiding Principle #1: It’s Really Important to Disconnect.

  2. Guiding Principle #2: We’ll Be A Better Company if Employees Disconnect.

  3. Guiding Principle #3: Everyone at FullContact Deserves a Nice Vacation.

The blog entry was irreverent and many “corporate” communications people would never have let it be published (it includes a few swear words and a picture of some employees’ bare behinds). But, it was in the CEO’s authentic voice and style. He made it clear it was an experiment, and said that the $7,500 figure was based on a nice vacation to Mexico for a family of four. The following is a great quote from the post: “Perhaps it is a sense of ownership or desire to feel needed, but in many company cultures (especially startups), there is often a misguided hero syndrome that encourages an “I’m the only one who can do this” mentality.”

Not a ton of science. Not a ton of (intentional) pomp and circumstance. But, it resulted in more than a TON of impact.

The posting went viral on multiple media sites and later blog entries claim that the company had more than 3,000 applications in the next three weeks! Lorang even posted the process they use to hire people during this flurry. So 3 rules, 3 guiding principles and 3,000 applicants, seems like a successful program already.

Consider alternative uses for $7,500.

  1. A 7.5% bonus for someone who makes $100,000

  2. About 850 stock options for a company trading at $25 a share

  3. A $625/month raise for an exempt employee

All of the above suggestions are not insignificant. In fact, any of the above may work at your company as well as paid time off worked for FullContact. But, can you actually make them happen? Can you make them happen quickly? Will your employees have the immediate and visceral impact shown by those at FullContact? As FullContact clearly states, this is an experiment. It may not work as hoped. It may only happen once. What I find refreshing is that they took action and made it applicable to all employees regardless of pay level.

What does this tell us?

  1. It turns out that people love vacations and a companies who care about them

  2. Communication is sometimes as simple as communicating (Lorang does so frequently on all sorts of topics)

  3. I need to take more vacations.

I am sure it tells us far more, but I wanted to stick to the theme of threes and get on to taking the next three hours off. If there something your company could do for a similar amount that would have the same impact? Please share!

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