Trainual Logo Purple

Refining your business’s PTO policy? Have a free template!

May 4, 2022

Still trying to find that perfect Mother’s Day gift? May the fourth be with you.

In this week's edition:

  • Coping with entrepreneur burnout.
  • Building an airtight PTO policy for your SMB (with a free template!).
  • Why really smart executives do not-so-smart things.
  • Marketing to the most lucrative generation yet: Zoomers.


The best ways to recover from business owner burnout

ICYMI: It’s Mental Health Awareness month.
It’s May, and that means it’s officially Mental Health Awareness month. This week, we’re kicking things off by providing you with some resources for identifying and battling burnout — long term.

How common is business burnout? Well, The Hustle surveyed over 300 entrepreneurs, and 63% reported that they’ve dealt with or are currently dealing with burnout.

What is burnout?
Burnout can be described as job-induced depression. It’s identified by three key pillars: exhaustion, feelings of cynicism or detachment from work, and a sense of ineffectiveness.

There’s a reason you started your small business — you have a passion for what you do and who you help. So every day you’re getting after it. And hey, there’s no shame in that game. But it definitely makes you more susceptible to burnout.

Signs of burnout can certainly creep up on you. It could look like feeling flat or numb, struggling with a sense of defeat, or experiencing a loss of motivation. In turn, you might experience less patience with colleagues or friends, a shorter temper, or the need to distance yourself from work.

This resonates with me more than I’d care to admit.
If you think you’re experiencing burnout, acknowledging it is the first step to getting back to your true, driven self. Because it paves the way for you to take actionable steps towards recovery.

We’re not saying the path is easy, but healing burnout is 100% possible — through things like making intentional lifestyle changes, adding support systems, and learning how to reprogram the brain.

Here are some great ways you can practice burnout recovery:

  • Take a break. *You immediately think of 99 reasons you could never.* Hey, we get it. You’re not Ross or Rachel, and a break could be hard for you to justify. But if it’s financially and logistically feasible, it’s the best way to reset and recover faster.
  • Ask for help. Remember that getting help from others is a sign of strength. And believe it or not, other people can do things the right way too! (After you show them how, of course.) So shove any pride to the side and get help with pesky tasks that don’t bring you joy. That way, you’ll more easily find your way back to the parts of your job that make you feel motivated and happy.

👉See more tips for burnout.


Building the right PTO policy (with free template)

Graphics of a suitcase, map, passport, and company PTO document.

Time off sounds great.
Agreed. Maybe you want to make summer vacation plans and join the 72% of people who plan to spend more money on travel this year compared to last year. Or maybe one of your employees just needs to take a day to recharge and relax.

In any case, you and your employees deserve some hard-earned time off. That means you’ll want a clear PTO policy for your business.

Do I need one?
While most businesses are not federally required to provide PTO, having a generous policy is a great way to retain and recruit employees. In fact, 63% of job applicants say they’d turn down offers that don’t include PTO.

Plus, having a PTO policy helps reduce unscheduled absences, and employees who enjoy PTO throughout the year are less stressed, healthier, and more productive.

Makes sense. How do I actually build my policy?
You’ll have to consider your SMB’s goals and roadblocks. Start by asking yourself questions like:

  • What is the minimum number of employees needed to cover all business operations? 
  • Are there times of the year when the business is busier (tourist season, holidays, etc.) and fewer employees can take PTO?
  • What are my state laws surrounding sick leave, family leave, and payouts on PTO?

We get it — writing down any policy from scratch can be intimidating. Here’s our solution: a free PTO policy template, ready for you to fill out with minor details. Easy peasy.

👉 Find out more about PTO policies.


Why the smartest people in the room do dumb things

That’s pretty harsh.
Maybe. But the Wall Street Journal dove into the psyche of business executives and leaders and found a solid roster of reasons why this group tends to step into the metaphorical pile of dog poop with workplace misconduct. Flip through a recent spate of headlines and you’ll read about incendiary lawsuits, missteps with the media, and a whole host of questionably unethical (and illegal) activities from some of the business world’s top execs.

Well, the WSJ isn't entirely wrong.
Right. And they pinpointed five tendencies that can spiral inappropriate behavior out of control if they aren’t reigned in.

  1. Feeling insulated. Private clubs, chauffeured cars, special VIP seating areas — executives can live a pretty insular life. That can lead them to believe that they can keep their personal life completely separate from their official role. And as various headlines prove, that’s rarely the case.
  2. Feeling entitled. Constant flattery can push a healthy dose of self-confidence into the land of superiority and invincibility. Leaders might start feeling justified when making questionable decisions on behalf of the company (or personally) — often to their detriment.
  3. Buying their own hype. When leaders start buying their own company’s hype and topspin, they’re more tempted to take part in misconduct because they believe they can compensate for it with a great quarterly report or massive funding round.
  4. Failing to admit mistakes. It’s hard for most of us to own up and admit to our mistakes, but executives who struggle with this also delude themselves into thinking that the rules don’t apply to them. And that can put them in some professional hot water.
  5. Underestimating opponents. Execs with an inflated sense of ego think that everyone is rooting for them — and that opens the door for opponents who are waiting to take advantage of a stumble or slip.

But it isn’t all doom-and-gloom. Leaders can prevent these career-ending stumbles by channeling humility, openness, and transparency in their interactions — a move that can influence the entire company’s culture.


Are you marketing to Gen Z yet? If not, start today.

A young woman browsing a clothing store.

Can Gen Z make that big a difference to my bottom line?
Gen Z, AKA anyone born between the mid-90s and early 2010s, are becoming a powerful force in the global economy. If you need a reason to market to Gen Z, take your pick:

Wow. And it’s not too late to start strategizing?
Definitely not! If anything, now’s the perfect time to start appealing to Gen Z. Consider this — the youngest members of this generation are still in grade school. Think about the potential spending power they’ll have in a few years.

Meaning, your business has time to reach out and build strong brand relationships with this special group of consumers.

So where do I start?

  1. Meet Gen Z online. This generation was born into the digital age, so you’re going to find them on social media. Almost 40% of adult Gen Zers stated that their purchasing decisions were most strongly influenced by social media. You’ll need to up your TikTok game.
  2. Communicate. Gen Z not only expects companies to reach them, but also respond to their questions, comments, and feedback. In a study by IBM, 60% of Gen Z respondents said that it was important for brands to value their opinions. So respond to their comments on your social media and look out for their feedback.

👉 Check out more Gen Z marketing tips.


This week's highlight reel

  • Speaking of marketing to Zoomers: According to a survey done by Common Sense Media, the number of tweens (defined as ages 8-12) with smartphones increased from 24% in 2015 to 43% in 2021. Apparently, their favorite things to do are (brace yourselves) watch online videos and TV. …and that concludes today’s Captain Obvious update.
  • “Google, stop with the FarmersOnly ads already.” Google recently expanded its sensitive ad topics to include dating, pregnancy, parenting, and weight loss. Meaning, people can now limit the amount of ads they see from these categories throughout Google’s Display network. So if your Google Analytics numbers start looking a bit funky, there might be a good reason.   
  • iFixIt. Apple just launched an online self repair store for users seeking do-it-yourself fixes for their iPhones. For SMBs that provide employees with smartphones, it could be a budget-saving game changer. Especially when Blake from accounting drops their iPhone in the company bathroom… again.
  • Blame it on my juice. Today, OJ kingpin Tropicana will launch Tropicana Crunch, a honey almond breakfast cereal specifically for orange juice instead of milk. No, go ahead — read that one more time. Yep, still there.


Here’s what else is on The Manual’s mind

Been a busy bee? No worries! Catch up on the hottest small business news today:

Organize the chaos
of your small business