If you’re part of an HR department that’s considering granting sabbaticals to experienced employees, you may be unsure of the benefits. Granting sabbaticals can have various perks, including increasing employee retention and letting newer employees gain valuable leadership skills. Understanding the benefits of a sabbatical can help you decide whether to implement this kind of leave program in your workplace.
In this article, we define sabbaticals and list eight benefits of offering a sabbatical leave option in your organization.
What is a sabbatical?
A sabbatical is an extended break from traditional employment. An individual who takes a sabbatical is still an employee of their company, but they don’t have to report to work or complete their traditional duties. During a sabbatical, an employee may perform individual research or writing, volunteer, travel or participate in similar activities. Some individuals use their sabbaticals to rest and relax. Companies usually offer sabbaticals to higher-level employees who’ve been a part of the organization for at least five years.
Any company may offer sabbaticals to its employees, but universities are institutions that commonly offer this kind of leave. Employees who take sabbaticals often receive their salaries or a portion of their salaries, although some employees take unpaid sabbaticals. These breaks from work may last for varying periods depending on the company. Companies may grant sabbaticals that last between one month and two years.
8 benefits of offering a sabbatical leave option
Here’s a list of eight reasons a company may benefit from offering a sabbatical leave option:
1. It lets employees meet personal goals
A sabbatical is a great opportunity for an employee to meet personal goals. They can participate in activities that they never had the time to explore. For example, they may get the chance to volunteer in a foreign country or conduct independent research. If an employee uses their sabbatical to engage in productive activities instead of solely relaxation, they can develop valuable skills and enhance their knowledge. This can lead to great personal satisfaction. These skills and knowledge can also prove to be useful in the workplace, making the employee more valuable to the company.
2. It helps employees discover new ways to improve the company
When employees take sabbaticals, they often visit new cities, countries or continents. While they’re in their new temporary dwelling place, they can discover innovative ways to improve their company. They may notice businesses conduct operations differently, and they may adopt a new perspective. This can allow them to suggest company improvements that other management personnel may have never considered. For example, an individual returning from a sabbatical may have ideas on how to more efficiently perform a business process or cater to an international client base.
3. It lets younger employees hone their skills
In general, most companies offer sabbaticals to more experienced employees. While experienced employees are away in different countries exploring other interests, younger employees can take on more responsibilities within the company. They can grow their skills, accept new assignments, and even assume leadership roles. Younger employees may become more confident as they acquire more responsibilities. They may be able to handle unexpected absences if they occur in the future. The company can also execute succession planning for when vacant positions become available in the company. Overall, sabbaticals allow a company’s workforce to adapt and become more versatile.
4. It shows that a company cares about employees’ well-being
When a company gives sabbaticals to its experienced employees, it can show that it commits to its employees’ well-being. This can be beneficial for improving the workplace culture and brand name. Existing employees may recommend the company to peers who are looking for work. They may even recommend the company’s offerings to their friends and family who need specific products and services. The company can establish itself as a pleasant place to work, allowing it to attract high-level talent and grow its workforce.
5. It can reduce employee turnover
Offering sabbaticals can reduce employee turnover. With the possibility of extended leave available, employees might be less likely to seek employment elsewhere. This reduced employee turnover can be cost-effective for the organization, as it doesn’t have to commit as many resources to training new individuals.
6. It reduces burnout
A sabbatical can reduce the burnout an employee experiences by offering an extended break from their duties. This kind of break can be more rejuvenating than a traditional weekend or a week-long break that an employee takes by using their vacation days. After a sabbatical, an employee may return to work feeling well-rested and ready to assume their responsibilities once again with a focused mindset.
7. It encourages employees to remain within the company
A sabbatical can encourage existing employees to remain within a company. More experienced employees can look forward to the opportunity of a sabbatical in the near future. Newer employees can view the opportunity as something to work toward so that they can experience an extended break and a rejuvenation period after several years with their organizations. All employees, from entry-level employees to higher-level executives, may be more willing to remain with their company and exhibit loyalty to their organization.
8. It can encourage employees to have a better work-life balance
A sabbatical undoubtedly offers a period of rejuvenation and allows an employee to understand the importance of taking care of their physical and mental health. Upon returning from a sabbatical, an employee may understand that it’s important to their productivity to balance their work and personal lives. An employee may take more proactive measures to manage stress, preserve their physical health, and maintain relationships so that they can complete their job duties to the standards that their company expects.
I hope you find this article helpful.