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People Team.001

Weebly, a web-hosting service, has the challenge that many technology companies face in Silicon Valley: To win the war for talent. With this aim in mind, they decided to create a benefit that would help them stand out from the pack, creating something as unique as the websites their services allow their clients to create, and one that would truly make a difference for employees and the business.  

The Play

The new benefit Weebly introduced was a sabbatical program offered to employees with five or more years of service. Employees, or "Weeblies" as they're called, receive six weeks paid time off as well as free roundtrip airfare to anywhere in the world. Called the "Weebly Wanderlust" program, the intent is to support and encourage employees to travel, expand their world-views and check off goals from their bucket lists. By paying for both the time off and the flight, the company has gone that one step further to help them do just that.

Counsel Team.001

According to David Rusenko, CEO and co-founder, "We want to show our employees that we value them and their work. It sends out the message that employees shouldn't feel they have to switch jobs to get the time off they need to recharge. At Weebly, we’re all about helping our customers realize their dreams of starting their own businesses. With the Wanderlust program, we’re giving our employees a chance to explore their own passions and dreams, knowing that when they come back, they will be so much more productive and refreshed.”

What are employees doing with the benefit? One employee took her husband and two young children on a once-in-a-lifetime Wanderlust trip to major cities in Europe:

I think the best part about the opportunity is that I had the time to unplug, be present and spend time with my kids while they still wanted to hang out with me. I also got to blow their minds by showing them countries and cultures so far out of their wildest imagination and their comfort zones. All this while I know I have my role at Weebly to come back to. It shows we value our employees’ commitment and know that it’s healthy to step away and come back refreshed and renewed.

This benefit has made—and will make—a difference in the lives of Weeblies, preventing burnout by giving them enough time to truly relax and recharge. At the same time, it gives Weebly employees who are more engaged and productive, and who want to stay with the company. A great example of a win–win situation.

In Practice

  • When looking for ideas for new benefits, find ones such as this that create not just engagement, but long-term engagement. Thanks to last memories from their trips, employees will think fondly of the company time and time again. 
  • Don't shy away from benefits such as sabbaticals, paid or unpaid. They often cost your company nothing and can provide much needed rest and relaxation. 
Find more plays like this one in "The Rebel Playbook" 


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