One of your reports has accrued a lot of paid time off
Bring it up in your next 1:1
No need to book a formal separate meeting. Begin by having an open conversation with your employee about their upcoming vacation plans at your next 1-1. “Any exciting trips coming up soon?”.
If they don’t mention any, say they are too busy or overwhelmed, it’s too expensive, or otherwise dismiss the idea of time off, what they say will determine your response and coaching.
First clarify why you are asking.
The reason I’m asking is I’ve noticed that you have [number of accrued vacation time] vacation time accrued. I care about your well-being and it’s important to take time off and time away.
It’s very possible they weren’t aware, or also may not know how to submit a vacation request. Make sure they know the policy and that it’s clear. Requesting time off should be simple.
If they were aware, something else may be getting in the way. Here are some actions to take:
- Remove as many barriers as you can. Make sure there is appropriate cover - sometimes employees don’t take leave because they’re worried about their work or their workload while they’re gone. Help alleviate these concerns by re-arranging some of their tasks, deadlines, or responsibilities. Remember that work overload is one of the top causes of burnout - avoid this at all costs.
- If going away on vacation isn’t an option, remind them they can have a ‘staycation’. Even a few long weekends can have a big impact on their overall well-being.
- Be mindful of the signals you send about taking time off - the way you respond and act can have an impact on how comfortable employees feel in taking time off.
- Respond to vacation requests in a positive way - employees should not feel guilty for taking vacation. Be quick to accept requests, don’t make people wait weeks before you respond
- Practice what you preach - take vacation yourself and celebrate people taking time off.
- Encourage team members to share recommendations for where to go
- Mentioning vacation and leave policies during regular meetings can motivate employees to book time off throughout the year and create a culture where discussion around holidays is open and positive.