Take Your Vacation and Encourage Your Colleagues

Kathy Fortin

August 20, 2018

New Hampshire's unemployment rate, currently at 2.6%, is one of the lowest in the country, resulting in a tight job market. For business owners, large and small, that means it is an employee’s market. This is an important factor. If employees are not happy with their current situation, they may feel it is easy to search for another job. This raises the issue of employee satisfaction and what makes workers satisfied with their current employer--or not. Sometimes, the line may be very thin. The list is long, but I would like to focus on some of the factors we see when helping our law firm clients.

  1. Is the firm an enjoyable place to work? Do people treat each other well? Is there mutual respect? Is the environment a cooperative one?
  2. Are written office policies in place so that each employee understands the rules, policies, benefits and practices?
  3. Are the employees fairly compensated for their role in the firm?  It is always best to hire qualified employees and reward them their worth. Both employer and employee benefit in the long run.
  4. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Employees need and want information. It takes many forms of communication to fairly meet their needs. Announcements on firm matters, staff meetings, conferences to discuss workloads and managing priorities. Annual performance evaluations are the most important means of communicating goals, expectations, performance and for a two-way discussion on any other issues on each other’s minds. Too often we hear that annual evaluations are not taking place, a failure which we have seen cause employee departures.
  5. Be thoughtful and generous in your benefit offerings, including vacation and time off. Recently, I heard a paralegal say she was so thrilled the firm benefits included a day off on an employee's birthday.

Vacations and time off are encouraged to be taken. For obvious reasons, they are beneficial. We hear senior attorneys say they plan to start taking more time off, as a path to their ultimate wind down towards retirement. Others who have already done so wish they started sooner. For those who might think, “I’d be bored,” there are articles written about the value of boredom. Scientific studies show that disconnecting from routine can hit an important reset button that can be energizing and help create new ideas, find new goals and lead to feeling more satisfied. How could these not be good for the employee and your firm?