Virgin let staff take as much holiday as they want

At last a large company starts to inject common sense into its HR policies by allowing staff to take as much holiday as they want*.

They aren’t the first. Netflix has offered this for a while, but fast growing internet companies are always going to be seen as ‘special cases’ and therefore ignored by CEOs in many ‘traditional’ companies. Virgin is not only an established company, but has a diverse set of businesses, so this matters a lot more. It is much harder for business leaders to argue that they are different when they are competing against Virgin companies.

The big picture shift here is not the holiday policy itself, but the evolution of work and employment practices. It is a welcome shift towards a higher trust knowledge based relationship that recognises that people are not resources to be managed, but are each valuable assets that are a key part of the business.

In a world where many knowledge workers still have to complete time-sheets, but are expected to answer phone calls out of hours and complete work in their own time then it is a welcome step forward.

A quick tip for HR managers and directors who are reading this. If you don’t understand why your department name is an anachronism and needs to change, then you won’t understand why the best candidates are not applying to your company.

Time to change.

* Of course there are caveats, but the statement and commitment is still important.

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