As we emerge from recession, does your company need a shot in the arm? Are your employees running on empty? If so, send them all on a 30-day vacation! Take a extended vacation yourself.
You say your can’t afford long vacations for all. That’s OK, I am not actually proposing 30 days away from the store, office or shop. Rather than granting traditional time off, I encourage you to sponsor a company-wide “mental vacation” initiative whereby you and employees at all levels will step aside from the daily routine to contemplate an ideal career and lifestyle objectives for the remaining productive years.
Actual time off would be limited to one or two days in rotating shifts at exercise initiation. Periodic additional time-outs would be granted for follow-up assignments and self-examination. Your ultimate goal is to match up on-board talents and desires with your company’s strategic objectives. But how can you inventory available talents, interests and aspirations unless employees first define for themselves what they are good at and precisely what they want to do?
Employee mental vacation exercises can be a huge success or a dismal failure. To ensure success, you will need to adhere to the following guidelines:
- The exercise must follow a structured agenda and be coordinated by expertly trained facilitators (never an employee’s immediate boss.)
- The exercise must be 100% voluntary and non-threatening. It must be equally OK to propose readical changes or to express complete satisfaction with the status quo.
- Challenge employees to cast off all self-imposed boundries. Ask each participant: “In a world free of limitation, how would you choose to spend your remaining productive years? What track do you desire: fast, slow or somewhere in between?”
- As a leader, you must be willing to listen and to sincerely seek to accomdate employees poposing change.You also must be willing to assist (within reason) employee efforts to develop those new skills needed to progress.