The principle of unlimited holidays at Supermood
For the 45 employees of Supermood, a platform dedicated to employee feedback, 5 weeks of paid vacation is prehistoric. For 6 years, their employer has allowed them to take as many holidays as they wish. In addition to the 5 legal and compulsory weeks, they have “paid days off” at will. Just to take a break of 2-3 days after an exhausting project, to escape far away for a few weeks, or simply to take time for them or to repair a water leak. So much for the theory.
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The reality of unlimited holidays at Supermood
On average, Supermood employees use 7.2 weeks per year with a standard deviation between 5.5 weeks (2 people) and 11.5 weeks (also 2 people).
The big boss, Kevin Bourgeois leads by example and poses about 9 weeks a year.
In practice, these unlimited holidays are still based on a certain number of rules.
- First, a notice period proportional to the number of days asked (except for last-minute emergencies). Employees must notify their manager one week before for a day of absence, or even 2 months before 10 days of rest. History that the teams can organize themselves. “Employees do not have to justify their absence. They ask and if no response from their manager within 5 days, their request is accepted. When managers invalidate requests, there is a problem between the performance perceived by the employee and his actual performance.explains Kevin Bourgeois, the founder of Supermood.
- The second condition for being absent at will is to meet your objectives. Otherwise, the manager can refuse the request. In this case, the manager rediscusses the expectations in terms of results, or even reviews the objectives with the employee… but this can also lead to conflicts. “Two cases have already occurred. With an employee, we set the record straight and now things are rolling. With the other, the refusal of absence unearthed old subjects of conflict, he finally left the box »he explains.
The advantages of unlimited holidays at Supermood
“As we all need different sleep time, we need different vacations. Let’s accept it. Unlimited holidays are essential for anyone who wants to empower their employees in their quality of life at work, and have a strong impact on the mental health of employees. They no longer need to calculate their days of absence, nor to juggle the calendar. Obvious mental peace”he insists.
More rested, his employees (and himself for that matter) have fresher ideas and are therefore better able to carry out their tasks and make better decisions. “The most absent employees are actually the best performers. EY has found that for every 10 hours of additional vacation, employee performance ratings improve by 8%”he adds.
Since the launch of this “unlimited vacation” scheme, Supermood’s turnover has been multiplied by 9.
The start-up is also making its unlimited leave a strong lever for its employer brand. 72% of new hires say that these unlimited vacations were decisive in their decision to join the company.
The limits of unlimited holidays at Supermood
For Kevin Bourgeois, fervent defender of alternative work organizationsthese unlimited vacations could find their limits in organizations that do not have a culture of empowerment and accountability of their employees. “For this to work, you have to manage the teams by the result and not by the means and the time spent at work”, he concludes. So yes, it can be transposed to large companies, if and only if they fully trust their employees.
And that is not won!
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