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9 VTO Best Practices For Voluntary Time Off

What is the best practice for a VTO, or voluntary time off policy? To help you with Best Practices, we asked founders and other thought leaders this question for their best recommendations. From “Using Data to Manage Scheduling” to “Track & Report Results”, there are several insights that may help you with VTO best practices in forming a voluntary time off policy.

Here are nine recommendations for VTO best practices:

  • Require Ample Notice

  • Make Sure Everything Is Well Documented

  • Track & Report Results

  • Encourage Employees to Participate

  • Limit How Many Employees Can Take VTO at One Time

  • Make a Cutoff for Staff With Enough Leave Credits

  • Align With Your Company Culture and Values

  • Use Data to Manage Scheduling

  • Have a Sense of Purpose

Require Ample Notice

Employees are more likely to take time off when they know we can cover their role in their absence.

When employees can request time off in advance, it also reduces the risk of last-minute cancellations that can disrupt workflow. An effective VTO policy should encourage employees to plan and provide them with the resources they need to do so. Consider including a clause in your VTO policy that requires employees to request time off in advance. This will ensure that employees can take time off when they need it and that the company can plan accordingly.

Make Sure Everything Is Well Documented

Regarding voluntary time off (VTO), best practices can vary from company to company. However, there is one general best practice that most companies should follow to ensure their VTO policy is effective.

One best practice is ensuring that the policy is well-documented and clear to all employees. This way, there is no confusion about how the policy works or what is expected of employees.

Additionally, the policy should be regularly reviewed and updated to keep it current. Using this best practice can help ensure that a company’s VTO policy is effective and beneficial for employees and the company itself.

Track & Report Results

Tracking and reporting results are some best practices for VTO. Not only does this show employees that they really are making a difference with their volunteering, but it shows these same results to senior leadership.

This is invaluable for gaining senior approval for future volunteer efforts. Like any tracking, it can also help identify areas for future improvement too.

Gigi Ji, Head of Brand & Business Development, KOKOLU

Encourage Employees To Participate

The best practice for a VTO at your company is to encourage employees to take part. You must promote your program using your company’s standard communication methods to reach volunteers and appoint volunteer champions to spread the word about your program among coworkers. You can promote VTO in several ways. Involve senior management by engaging top personnel and setting an example for the workforce. It will send the message that others should do the same if they observe the CEO taking time off work to volunteer. Pay attention to your employees’ concerns. It may worry some people to find someone to cover their work while they are away; it is the responsibility of management to hear their worries and assist them in finding solutions.Please spread the word, and create communication channels that allow employees to share their stories and experiences from their volunteer activity. To further encourage people to volunteer, consider matching every hour they put in.

Limit How Many Employees Can Take VTO At One Time

Specify how many employees can take off for VTO at once. For example, as a small team, we’ve all become very close, but if many of us submitted to VTO at the same time to go on a vacation to Bali—we’d have no one in the office to help our customers!

My suggestion for small businesses is to limit the maximum number of employees who miss work because of VTO by a specific number of employees based on the size of your team.

Make A Cutoff For Staff With Enough Leave Credits

Voluntary Time Off is very enticing to employees. It allows them to have an extra day off from work. They are all looking forward to it. But we cannot grant it to everyone.

The downside is for those who no longer have leave credits. It means that they will not be paid should they avail of a VTO. It is for this basic reason that the management and the HR team must ensure that there will be a qualifier for those who would be availing of this type of leave.

They must have enough credits to back up their time off. It will be a rational decision and a fair mandate. Strict compliance must be implemented. And it must be well managed to ensure a smooth flow of business operations.

Laura Martinez, Consultant & Content Writer, PersonalityMax

Align With Your Company Culture And Values

I think the best practice is to make sure your VTO policy aligns with your overall company culture and values. For example, if you have a company that prides itself on being flexible and accommodating to employees’ needs, you’ll want to make sure that your VTO policy reflects that.If you have a more rigid structure and process in place, then it’s important to be clear about what is and isn’t acceptable for taking VTO. You don’t want employees abusing the system or using it to get around other policies like attendance or performance reviews.In general, I’m not a big fan of having too many rules around things like this because they often create confusion and resentment among employees who may feel like they’re being unfairly treated by their employer when they try taking VTO time off. I would say it’s best just to have reasonable guidelines that are transparent and well-communicated so everyone knows what’s expected of them.

Use Data To Manage Scheduling

VTOs can be challenging to manage and should not be a company’s long-term staffing strategy. This practice can cause employees to miss out on needed wages and undermine efforts taken to arrive at work, such as costs of childcare and commuting costs.

A best practice here would be to collect data on workload, staffing levels, productivity, and VTO usage. Using this data to better inform staffing and your labor force can help companies design more accurate schedules. This will ultimately lead to increased organizational efficiency and more satisfied employees.

Have A Sense Of Purpose

A voluntary time off policy needs to have a purpose and should be clearly outlined. Volunteering helps enhance necessary employee skills at every stage of their career.

These opportunities develop leadership skills and the confidence to effectively promote themselves in any setting. Workers must learn to communicate with other volunteers to successfully reach an end goal with a sense of purpose.

As a result, employees will benefit from taking on projects and improving their social skills. Not only is this an opportunity to do good for others, but to also advance professional skills relating to a worker’s personal brand.

Randee Machina, Director of Marketing, Simpli Pleasures

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