Saturday, January 21, 2012

Of Sabbaticals

Why don't most companies in Asia offer sabbatical leaves? I know of many European companies who practice this. I guess quality of life or work-life balance is more valued in that region & we have not quite caught up with them in that area. We all know the wonderful benefits of a sabbatical for the employee

There are many benefits to the company as well. Let me point out a few:
1. It is an un-paid vacation anyway & incurs minimal cost to the company. This benefit will position the company as a champion of work-life balance... this will attract young talents. Whether they take it or not, it is there as a option.
2. It trains employees to work in teams, share their knowledge & expertise, rotate their roles with their peers so that in case 1 of them applies for a sabbatical, the entire team can still function effectively although slightly stretched without one of their team-mate. It reduces parasitic dependence on 1 person. 
3. Benefit #2 extends to a situation when there is a resignation in the team. Recruitment process can take anything from 3 months to a year depending on what is the position to be filled and what profile of recruit you are looking for. With team-mates that can easily swap roles and do each other's work or share out the additional work; you have the luxury of time to look for the best fitted candidate or the luxury of changing the job function to fit a candidate you like.
4. The same also applies should the company want to send a high performing employee for a year-long overseas assignment/attachment.
5. It allow recuperation time for employees to recharge by doing what they love, be it just spending time with their children, learn up dancing or write a book. This recuperation time will prevent professional burnout and improve attrition rates especially for the middle to top management levels; which are most expensive to lose, recruit & train.
6. It allows the employee to develop themselves at their own cost in other areas outside their main job function that they most interested in eg; take up psychology or counseling diplomas which may help them do a better job as a manager or coach upon returning to their job. 
7. It trains their employees to be financially savvy and disciplined because it take a high level of both in order to have the financial resources to be able to afford a year-long sabbatical. 

Since I am working in this part of the world, I have no choice but to resign in order to take a sabbatical... at my own risk of unemployment 1 year down the road. But I am ready to take that risk. The benefits far outweighs the risk.

In a couple of months time... I will be on MY sabbatical. I can't wait!!! =)

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