Unlimited PTO at North Highland: The “How” and “Why”

At the beginning of 2016, North Highland proudly announced a new policy for all of our employee owners – unlimited paid time off. We believe this is a tremendous benefit to everyone in the company and sets us apart from other places as a great place to work. How did we come to this decision? Why did we do it?

Always looking for ways to improve

Every year, we take a look at all of our benefits and benchmark them against other companies. At the very minimum, we want to ensure that we are aligned with what the rest of the market is offering their employees. We look at those benchmarks and then brainstorm ways to improve our benefits in order to exceed what other places may be offering their employees.

This year, our PTO policy was one of the key things we thought we could improve. Our acquisition of ACME last year served as inspiration for looking at our own paid leave policies.

When we acquired ACME, we didn’t want to just impose North Highland policies across the board. We wanted to bring in some things that ACME was doing better in order to make North Highland better. One of those things that made ACME better than others was their unlimited vacation policy. Our team was able to learn from them how they implemented that policy before the acquisition and see some of the benefits that came along with it. That knowledge sharing was critical in ultimately deciding to implement the same policy here at North Highland.

At North Highland, we talk about how our employees can own their career, own their life and own their firm. We believe our new unlimited PTO policy reinforces that message.

Own your career

This new policy accommodates a wide variety of work styles. Now that our consultants have very clear utilization goals, we no longer have a reason to have to nickel and dime hours. We recognize that most people come here wanting to succeed. They want to own their careers and continue to progress, so there is no need to confine them inside of an old school model. We want to treat all of our employees like professionals and trust them to do the right thing in order to continue growth.

Own your life

We also took working families into consideration. We understand that life is more about just what our employees do here at work. So if someone has to take their sick child to the doctor in the middle of the day or help another close relative during normal 9-5 hours, they don’t need to worry about how they’ll log their hours. We wanted to eliminate questions like “should I log this as sick, vacation, or some other time off bucket?” When life events happen, this new policy should add extra flexibility and freedom for our employees to take care of their entire lives, not just their work one.   

Own your firm

I would be lying if we didn’t say this didn’t also have a financial impact on the firm. Having an unlimited PTO policy actually saves our company a lot of money year over year. Through our ESOP plan, all of our employees are owners of the company. So these savings are directly impacting the value of our company, ultimately meaning more money in the pockets of our employees.

Our unlimited PTO policy is still young and we realize that we will see its impact as we go along. I’m proud to be part of a firm that offers best-in-class perks like this and fully believe this will be one perk that current employees and future employees will love.

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