In sickness and in health

Something caught my eye this morning on my Facebook feed, shared by an annoyed friend of mine in the UK.  It also annoyed me and got me thinking about when is a benefit perhaps not a benefit?

IMG_0995So I gather Concur are a relatively new recruitment company in the UK.  I’m not wanting to criticise Steven Convery MIOR,  I am sure Mr Convery runs a fine company that looks after its staff and has many fine benefits in addition to this misguided one.

Recruitment companies have a fine track record of good employment practices as we all know (coughs).

But Steven, if I can give you a little bit of HR advice, I think you’ve got this one wrong and are sending the wrong message.

We should NEVER reward employees for NOT taking sick leave.  This is one of the silliest  benefits I have ever come across. It’s bullshit. If employees are sick, they should be encouraged to stay at home, work from home if they really need to, but not have to drag their sick and sorry arses into work.  That’s why we give staff legislated sick leave. It’s a legal entitlement not an optional extra.

What next? Do we reward staff for not taking annual leave?

Here in New Zealand, unlike many other countries, we do not have a “use it or lose it” approach to annual leave.  It is not uncommon here for each company to have a handful of employees with ten or more weeks of annual leave accrued.  Not only are we not acting as a responsible employer by allowing this to happen, if those staff happen to leave there is a hell of a lot of extra money to pay out.

Not taking sick or annual leave is not clever, heroic, a sign that you are better than others or more valuable than others.  It should neither be encouraged or rewarded.

No one will ever die wishing they had spent more time at work.

Here’s a suggestion for you Steven, based on many years of HR experience.  How about if you were to give all your staff a Duvet Day with no strings attached?  Once a year or once every six months, just because you can and you value them, not as some kind of ridiculous reward for working when they shouldn’t.

I think you might find this has far more impact on your culture and has a much better return on investment.  Some of them may never even use it, but I guarantee they’ll love you for knowing it’s there!

You’re welcome.


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