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How Inventive PTO Provides Resistance to The Great Resignation

Erik Reno
May 06, 2022


Employers can gain a competitive advantage with creative PTO policies.

Like most employers, you’ve likely felt the effects of The Great Resignation over the past couple of years. While each employee has their own reason for leaving, Pew Research Center recently showed 43% of workers cited benefits like paid time off (PTO) and health insurance as a major reason for their departure.

The bad news? It’s not over. And worse yet, 40% of recent job switchers are actively looking for new roles, which makes it even more crucial for small- and medium-sized businesses to provide sticky benefits to retain employees.

The good news? There’s something — actually many things — you can do to keep your best employees working for you. Let’s take a look at PTO benefits to start. 

Begin with the PTO basics

Time off is a key reason listed for half of the top 10 companies with the best benefits in 2021. 

It’s no secret why, as a company’s policy towards PTO impacts employees’ mental health and productivity, while also impacting employers’ recruitment, retention, and most importantly,  bottom line.

So to start, review best practices for time-off policies to get a benchmark of where your business currently stands. What seems feasible right now? What could work in a future state?

Set yourself apart from competitors

After auditing your business, set yourself apart and do what some of the best do. Consider offering Volunteer Time Off (VTO), two weeks of PTO for new employees before they begin the job,  unlimited PTO, and four-day work weeks.

While some of these may seem scary to implement at first, the positives outweigh the negatives. And after all, you don’t need to dive in with both feet first on any one method. Try running trial periods to see how they work for your business and if they meet the unique needs of you and your employees before a full implementation.

Get creative with PTO

Leave time. Vacation time. Sick leave. PTO. It’s as Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Time off for vacation, sickness, or any other reason is still time away from work.

But perception is reality, and words do matter. So think about what your employees have been, and are currently, going through, and see how your time-off policies can demonstrate empathy and compassion for them as people. 

Some businesses are giving name to specific forms of time off, like, caring for an elderly parent, parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child, and failed adoptions or fertility treatments, miscarriages, postpartum depression, and menopause. Doing this could be an understanding and important way to show you care.

You could also go above and beyond and make a certain amount of hours of PTO mandatory each year, or offer a sabbatical to encourage employee well-being. Often we don’t take time to ourselves, but when a friend or family member gifts us a trip to the spa or massage, we love every minute of it. Mandatory PTO could have the same effect on your “workaholic” employees, making them happy — and loyal to your company in the end.


What about holidays? How much work really gets done that time of year anyway? Err on the generous side of holiday PTO and reap the benefits of ingratiating yourself to your employees over a busy, travel-filled, and oftentimes stressful part of the year. 

If you want to get really imaginative, try monthly holidays so employees get at least one 3-day weekend per month.

Implementation is key

The bottom line: Employees want to work for employers showing they care, not ones telling them they care. Not every option works for every business, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. So take stock of what means most to your employees and what will be most impactful for your business.

Don’t forget, offering great PTO benefits is only enticing to new employees and will only retain existing ones if you create a culture that encourages its usage. Work with your management teams so the time off is staggered and ensure you can still effectively run your business.

EaseHR can help

Customize your PTO policy, see any overlap requests prior to approval, access your company directory, and view other helpful metrics with EaseHR.
Watch the PTO Demo

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