Employees' Response to Unlimited Vacation Policies: Meh

Unlimited vacation sounds like every employee's dream come true. But as you've probably already heard, there can besome pretty severe hitches when it comes to rolling out these policies.

For one, several companies have found that their 'no vacation policy' is taken a little too literally by employees, who interpret the lack of guidelines as a subtle signal that they should take no vacation at all. But even if companies fix this issue and encourage their teams to take full advantage of the hottest new benefit in Startupland, they may run into an even more insurmountable obstacle -- top talent just doesn't seem all that into the idea.

Who's excited by unlimited vacation?

That's the possibleconclusion of an admittedly small new survey from recruiting platform Anthology. The company aims to connect 'passive job candidates' (i.e. people who already have a boss who thinks of them as happy and essential employees) with recruiters. Recently they were curious if unlimited vacation policies would be a strong draw to this talent pool. Would the possibility of choosing exactly when they wanted to take time off work encourage this sort of usually highly in-demand talent to get off the fence and seriously consider a new job offer?

In short, the answer is probably not. "We asked 150 new Anthology users if a prospective employer's 'unlimited' vacation policy make you more likely to consider working there," reports Anthology's blog.

The findings? Fully half of respondents said that such a policy would not affect their deliberations in any way. Forty percent said it would make them more likely to consider jumping ship. Nine percent were very much more likely to consider an offer. While one percent viewed an unlimited vacation policy as an active disadvantage.

Anthology offers a few possible interpretations of the results. "As usual, two-thirds of those surveyed by Anthology work at technology companies or hold technology roles in top hiring markets like San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, DC, Austin and Denver, so perhaps they're also seeing signs of technology industry burnout," says the post. "Or maybe it's more likely that these people are simply seeing that unlimited vacation is often code for no vacation time."

Again, this is a tiny and quite possibly not terribly representative sample, so the results should be taken with a grain of salt, but it's worth noting that when it comes to vacation policy, Anthology itself seems to be taking its own findings seriously. It's opted out the unlimited vacation craze. "Here at Anthology, we've introduced a mandatory vacation policy based on the risk of burnout in the startup space," explains the post.

This is only one data point and each company needs to consider its unique constraints and concerns when it comes to a leave policy, but for those business leaders considering a switch to unlimited vacation, it's a data post worth noting. If your primary motivation for adopting the policy is for itto act as bait for top talent, you might not get the great results you hoped for.

Would a company's unlimited vacation policy make you more likely to consider working there?

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