How Sabbaticals Can Be A Useful Tool For Retaining Productive Employees

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The term “Sabbatical” is derived from the Hebrew word shabbath meaning “to rest”. The term’s biblical roots date back to a prominent agricultural society in which the land is plowed year after year and on the seventh year the land rests (Levine, 2007). This sabbatical year allows for production to halt and for reflection and rejuvenation to be sown. By allowing the land to rest, it helps sustain fields, create a restored harvest, and cultivate better people. By applying the same concept of the field to the employee, employers need to allow the employee’s productive capacity, brain, and heart to rest while not being exerted in the manner it has been for the previous six years (Page, 2010). The majority of research surrounding sabbaticals is…show more content…
Investing in employees through sabbaticals may help retention rates without suffering the burden turnover costs. In 2009, the average three-month sabbatical for five full time employees was $187,000 whereas turnover costs for replacing the same five employees cost the organization $320,000 (Schaar & Swenty, 2012). By making an investment in human capital management, employers are saving more money in the long run. In addition to monetary interests of the organization, an employee’s belief in his/her quality of work plays a role in retention. Sabbaticals help to maintain talented employees, improve commitment, enhance work quality, and increase productivity (Schaar & Swenty, 2012). An employee’s working sabbatical, which may include travel to seminars or enhancing and pursuing research topics, can assist in matching intellectual stimulation to another researcher or equally minded individual. This development activity enhances an employee’s professional work experience and promotes a positive response to stay with an organization (Rosser, 2004). Sabbaticals allow time for employees to complete degree programs; thus, enhancing departmental knowledge while fostering loyalty and commitment to an organization (Flaspohler, 2009). Time off is more beneficial than giving employees pay increases and bonuses. Employers should allow employees the opportunity to recharge without leaving due to burnout. This is a more suitable option than having a burnt-out employee stay
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