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Take it or leave it for your colleagues

Source | The Hindu

A happy employee is often an engaged employee — a wisdom that is now leading companies to design employee engagement programmes that are clearly out of the ordinary.

One of them is leave pooling.

This is a facility that allows employees to ‘deposit’ their leave in a common pool that everyone can dip into on the basis of individual requirements.

It is generally aimed at ensuring that someone facing a medical emergency — his or his family’s — has enough leave to tackle the situation.

Accenture India follows a leaving pooling system. ‘Hours That Help’ programme, as it calls it, is a initiative that allows eligible employees, who have exhausted their paid time off (PTO), to receive additional leave through ‘leave donation’ by their colleagues

“The system has been created to help employees facing emergencies that require them to be absent from work for long.

Through this, they continue to receive paid benefits when they are away,” says Parag Pande, managing director, Human Resources, Accenture in India.

There are other MNCs which have similar ‘special leave’ programmes, including a month-long paid leave to employees who have served for over six years, sabbatical for long-time, valuable employees and a provision for clubbing calendar holidays with weekend offs.

The leave pooling system also addresses the problem of some employees failing to avail their leave.

“It ensures that leave is not wasted, by transferring it to colleagues who may need it more. It also facilitates bonding among colleagues. For the organisation, such initiatives help create a positive work atmosphere,” adds Parag.

Some companies may not have formal leave policies, but empower team leaders/ managers to design their own policies to ensure employees plan their leave better.

For example, the Statistical Programming team at ICON, a clinical research company, has 150 programmers spread across Chennai, Bangalore and Trivandrum; the team encourages its members to plan their leave in the beginning of the year.

“I have seen that 80 per cent of the leave planned in the beginning of the year is taken on the dates planned and the remaining is altered, based on changes, if any. This way, we ensure how and when we choose to do certain projects,” says Sarvesh Singh, senior director, Statistical Programming, ICON Clinical Research.

According to Ganesh Chella, founder, Totus Consulting Service, as organisations now come up with better metrics to evaluate performance and clearly spell out the deliverables for each employee, they are open to employees working remotely and also offer greater flexibility in leave policies.

“There is more flexibility in policies involving work hours, place of work, timings, leave and so on. Without flexibility, organisations will find it difficult to attract and retain good employees,” he says.

Chella says flexi-working is the future.

“Five-day week will become a universal norm even in the manufacturing sector. Companies will design special policies for young mothers and fathers, for those caring for the aged and those with medical conditions,” he says.

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