Creating an Employee Engagement AND Happiness Strategy
Support Your Loved Ones Leave
There is nothing more important than connecting with loved ones. We ask a lot of people what makes them happy, and invariably people mention spending time with their family and friends. If you think back on your happiest moments, more than likely you’ll remember times you were surrounded by people you care about. Relationships really are everything!
Neuroscience backs this up. In fact, relationships are one of the key drivers of happiness. The founding father of Positive Psychology, David Seligman, found that those with the highest levels of happiness had “strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them.”
We believe strongly in the importance of relationships in the workplace, However, research out of Olivet Nazarene University shows that only 13% of relationships leave the office. With this in mind, we know it’s important that our people can strengthen relationships outside of the workplace. This will have an impact on their workplace engagement and happiness. Plus, it will help them to maintain the all-important work-life balance.
We wanted to go further in helping our people commit to the people they love. So, we’ve just announced a new benefit - Support Your Loved Ones Leave, or SYLO for short.
What is Support Your Loved Ones Leave?
Support Your Loved Ones Leave (SYLO) is paid time off employees can use to spend quality time with loved ones in their time of need.
SYLO isn’t a holiday! It enables people to really commit time to the people they care about. It can be taken last minute, and in addition to other policies like annual leave and bereavement leave. We give our quokkas 5 days of Support Your Loved Ones Leave which they can use at their discretion.
What Can Support Your Loved Ones Leave be Used For?
SYLO can be used in any situation when a loved one needs support. Examples include:
Helping a loved one move home.
Being there for a loved one through a difficult life event, including illness.
Supporting a loved one getting married - especially useful for bride/groomzillas.
Stepping into the breach to help with childcare.
For many people, chosen family is just as important as traditional family units. That’s why we think it’s important not to limit who people can use their SYLO leave for.
Support Your Loved Ones leave is separate from bereavement policy. Although if people require more time to support their loved ones after a bereavement, it could be used to supplement their leave.
What is The Impact of Support Your Loved Ones Leave?
To explain the impact that this has on your people, you can look at neuroscience. Our neuroscience model has identified four brain types and eight themes. This kind of policy will impact a couple of the key neuroscience themes including Freedom and Relationships. Both of these neuroscience areas are linked to happiness, so implementing policies that support these areas will help to boost employee happiness. Building trust and allowing your people to foster relationships will support both the emotional and instinctive brain types.
Seeing how a policy like this could affect relationships is pretty easy. Your team’s relationships outside of work are vital for their wellbeing, health and happiness. Recognising that fact, and empowering your people to be there for their loved ones is a key part of building a happy and engaged workforce.
The impact on trust is more subtle. This kind of policy builds trust because it allows your people to identify their own needs and act on them. Creating a policy like this, that empowers your people to use this leave in a time of need, will help show your employees that you trust them. This will position you as an empathetic employer, which in turn leads to increased productivity and advocacy.
Finally, this kind of policy really reinforces our vision of “Freedom to be Human”. As an organisation, we want our people to know that we see them as human beings who have a life outside of work. Our people aren’t robots who turn up to work, and we don’t expect them to be. Encouraging people to prioritise their work-life balance is a way for all organisations to embrace this.
Why do we Think Our Quokkas Need This Policy?
We want to ensure our quokkas can be there for their loved ones without worries. We don’t want them to be thinking “will I get paid or not?” or “do I have enough paid leave?”. So, we have created our SYLO policy to offer additional paid leave for these circumstances.
Even when it’s for something positive, like a wedding, supporting your loved ones can often be far from a "holiday." Even in the best-case scenarios, we know that SYLO could be a high-stress situation. We want quokkas to use their annual leave to detach, unwind and refuel. SYLO protects our quokkas' holiday leave, so that holidays can remain re-energising in whatever way that looks like for them - while they’re still able to do the very human function of supporting their loved ones.
What Does Our SYLO Leave Policy Look Like?
Our SYLO policy places trust and agency with our quokkas. They can let us know the reasons why they need to take the leave, so we can support them further - but they don’t have to. It is up to the employee to decide whether they want to disclose all the details or not.
We still ask our quokkas to communicate their leave through our HR tool (we use Bamboo HR). This allows us to better support the rest of our team, as well as those on SYLO Leave.
This is Just The Beginning!
There’s so much more we want to achieve for our people. So watch this space to see all the exciting new programmes we’re going to be implementing for our quokkas!
Linked to Engagement in our neuroscience methodology... learn more
About The Happiness Index
The Happiness Index helps organisations measure the key employee engagement AND happiness drivers to power their people strategy.
Our unique platform offers the products, insights and tools to shine a light on your cultural health and empower management to drive thriving cultures.
Our neuroscience-based pre-built surveys measure the full employee experience - from onboarding to exit to empower and enable organisations to understand their people and create data-led action plans.