Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Five Reasons To Offer Two Weeks Pre’cation Before the Start Date

Rocking Chair Crayon Box by Andrew Morrell Via Flickr CC

Rocking Chair Crayon Box by Andrew Morrell Via Flickr CC

Recently I published a post on the Pre’cation, the most innovative employee benefit I have seen in years. The pre’cation offers employees two weeks paid vacation before the start date. My post on the Pre’cation stirred up a serious debate on LinkedIn.

Any company that is serious about building a long term relationship with employees should consider offering a pre’cation; not as a feel good measure, but as a serious business investment. Here are 5 benefits for the employer of offering pre’cation:

  1. New employees will come to work rested and recharged. Many people changing jobs are leaving stale or toxic environments. It takes at least two weeks for the body to physiologically reset from a state of high stress.
  2. Pre’cation allows the employee to catch up on other parts of life that may have been neglected. This could range from laundry to a trip to Mexico with the significant other. As Barbara Fuchs pointed out on LinkedIn, a new employee is usually looking at months without significant downtime. Why not let them come in with a clean slate, without those nagging loose ends that can add additional stress to an already stressful life transition?
  3. A company offering pre’cation will have a significant competitive advantage in attracting top talent over a company that does not.
  4. Pre’cation sets the tone that employees are expected to take care of themselves. There will always be more work to do, but the best employees will make time for a healthy life outside of work, a source of strength to get through the challenges of the job.
  5. For people used to high-paced environments, a pre’cation can make them hungry for the excitement of the workplace, and they come in roaring to go.

Ray Lindberg, an employee relations expert, gave a spirited endorsement of the pre’cation concept on a LinkedIn discussion.  “Pre-cation is also a statement that the organization has high expectations and standards…which is also the case with all signing bonuses and robust employment contracts. It brings pressure to perform and deliver, no doubt, but I would argue that in many cases, it’s good pressure.” Interestingly, Ray also likes to tip his bartenders before they make him the drink. He sees it as a vote of confidence, and more than pays off in better service and free drinks.

The same concept holds for employees getting a pre’cation. Why not give them that vote of confidence? Companies that don’t really give a crap about their employees need not apply.


  1. I’ll be watching to see how other small business owners weigh in on this idea. I personally find it highly intriguing. One might reflexively balk at the idea of spending two weeks pay on a new hire before they even walk through the door, but given the costs and risks already inherent with any new hire, is this added cost not a drop in the bucket? The increased likelihood of starting the relationship off on the right foot could well be viewed as a net reduction of those risks.

    • Thanks Dan. I find the idea very intriguing, and a breath of fresh air. For a good hire, I can see little downside. As you say, two weeks pay is a drop in the bucket compared to the upside of a happier, rested, and more balanced employee. If you give it a try, let us know how it works!