Let's face it, in today's economic environment employees are stressed out, overworked, and dissatisfied, and yet we plan to increase productivity and bottom line profits with this group of Zombie-like creatures. We try to do more with less, keeping key employees and asking them to do double the work for the same rate which could be the reason over 40% of employees are thinking about quitting their jobs after the summer. (Regus Survey) What would it cost the company to replace a group of key employees? Is there a way to circumvent the future exodus of skilled, productive and underappreciated Team Members?

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care". This statement applies to companies and their employees today now more than ever. But you say, "We do care. We offer health insurance, disability, life, dental, vision, vacation, etc." WHOA there! VACATION? Who in their right mind would take a vacation during these stressful times? "My boss doesn't want me to take a vacation"... "I would have double the work to do when I get back so it is not worth it"... "I can't afford a vacation. Raises have been non-existent or so small I don't have the money..."

Companies spend thousands of dollars searching for and implementing NEW benefits through Wellness Programs, not realizing that the best Wellness Program is a VACATION. Companies promote healthy lifestyles by paying for Wellness Programs to help employees stop smoking, lose weight and control diabetes under the message "We Care About Your Health." They hope they will reduce health insurance costs and get more productive employees. Really? Who gets excited and feels better about themselves from hearing they are obese, diabetic or have high blood pressure and need to make "lifestyle" changes to lead a "well balanced" life and be a happier and more productive person? As Dr. Phil says, "How's that working for you?"

Agreed, Wellness Programs are a valuable asset to a company and will provide a positive return on employees' health and the company's bottom line over time. The promotion of the existing vacation benefit can provide an immediate POSITIVE return in employee morale. The investment for the vacation benefit has been paid for years, BUT without positive promotion to the employees the ROI is not at its peak.

The vacation benefit has become the "forgotten" benefit when it comes to promotion and implementation to the work force. Sure, it is mentioned in the interview process and orientation, but after that, "forgettaaboouuutttittt"!

This benefit has been part of the Human Capital investment for years, and with the same level of promotion as other Wellness Initiatives it can yield up to 700% ROI!

The key to getting the ROI on the vacation benefit investment is to promote it as any other wellness program...educating employees on the positive results they can get from actually taking time away from work on a vacation without threat of repercussions from the company.

Experts say that:
-"Smart companies understand the value of vacations and encourage workers to take them...they actually help workers plan for vacations because they understand their value." - Carroll Lachnit, editor of Workforce magazine, Irvine, CA
-"Regular vacations are preventative medicine; they cut down on stress-related illness and save health care dollars." - Oxford Health Plans Survey, New York 2001
-Studies show that taking time off can reduce the risk of heart attack by 32% in men, and 50% in women. Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life, by Joe Robinson
-"If you work seven 50-hour weeks in a row you don't get more done than in seven 40-hour weeks. Overtime is not productive and fatigue seeps into the regular work time." - Why the Brain Needs a Break, Hara Estroff/Marano, Psychology Today, December 22, 2006

This year's Wellness Programs should take a look in the past and promote the "forgotten" benefit to experience an immediate impact in increased productivity, improved employee morale and reduced health claims. After all, what was the reason for offering a vacation benefit in the first place?

Karen M. Quigley is the Principal of WellnessVacations. You can reach Karen at (تم حذف الإيميل لأن عرضه مخالف لشروط المنتدى).