What employees want: More time off, better bosses

Employees want jobs with more paid time off and would sacrifice a high salary for a good boss, according to new data from HR services provider Randstad.

The data, released this week, is the result of a small survey conducted in July of 763 employees across the United States. Randstad found that 63% of employees wouldn’t consider a job opportunity that offered fewer than 15 paid vacation days, and 58% of workers say they’d start a job with a lower salary if that meant working for a great boss.

“Today’s workers have high expectations — and the tight talent market suggests employers should be listening closely,” says Jim Link, chief human resources officer of Randstad North America.

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Paid time off and paid family leave are some of the most popular employee benefits, and offering robust leave and time off policies can help companies recruit and retain talent, experts say.

Other recent employee surveys echo this point. A recent Unum survey of 1,227 working adults found that paid family leave was the most desired workplace perk, followed closely by flexible and remote work options and sabbaticals.

Meanwhile, the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual employee benefits report saw the number of companies offering paid family leave jump from 19% in 2014 to 27% in 2018. The SHRM report also found that more employers are offering time off for volunteering or serving on a community group or professional association, and more had unlimited paid time-off banks.

But according to Randstad, while paid time off is important, it can sometimes be outweighed by workplace environment if an employee is deciding whether or not to leave their job.

If a worker feels their employer doesn’t respect their work, Randstad says, they may walk out the door. The company found that 59% of respondents felt that their superiors view profits or revenues as more important than how people are treated.

A total of 60% of respondents say they have left jobs, or would consider leaving, because they don’t like their supervisors, and more than half (58%) say they would leave their job because of negative office politics.

“While salary and PTO will always be factors in attraction, engagement and retention, the intangible benefits and day-to-day experiences at work have risen in importance,” Link says. “If the full spectrum of values — emotional, financial and lifestyle — aren’t being met, workers will easily find opportunities elsewhere.”

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