Candidates are motivated by more than money. They are motivated by the quality of work, work life balance and development opportunities, to name but a few. Similarly, the Millennial generation has shaped the working environment urging companies to think beyond the standard 9-5. Candidates now expect greater flexibility from their employers.

As a result, companies are increasingly having to find new ways to retain their top talent and add value to their organisations. Many are choosing to do this through attractive benefits programmes. Indeed, we are seeing a rise in the number of top recruiters offering candidates the opportunity of a sabbatical.  You only need to briefly scan The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list to find plenty of organisations that are adopting this approach.

The John Lewis scheme demonstrates how providing employees with the opportunity of a sabbatical can benefit the organisation. The company offers employees who have been with the business for more than 25 years the opportunity to take 6 months paid leave. John Lewis claims most of its employees use this time to learn new skills or develop existing ones which are in fact transferable to their role.

Admittedly not everyone can support staff to this degree, however, there are other ways that employers can offer staff a break from the daily grind. These include offering secondments, placements overseas and opportunities with associated companies or organisations. These don’t necessarily have to be within the business, employers can look to other organisations in their ‘eco-system’, such as suppliers or commercial partners, or alternatively social enterprises.

Remember whatever form the break takes, it needs to be planned for and managed in the same way as any other movement of staff, and it needs to be part of an integrated offer. Although some employers may consider the opportunity of a sabbatical costly to implement, they should not be evaluated in isolation but as part of the overall cost and benefit of attracting, developing and retaining high quality talent.

Norrie Johnston Recruitment is focused on filling senior permanent and interim executive roles, using a mix of technology plus, importantly, traditional search, employing best of breed recruiters who have real-world business experience. It argues that this combination of technology-enabled, top recruiters together with senior executive experience means the agency can provide hand-picked short lists of perfectly matched senior interim candidates within 2-4 days while for permanent roles the timeframe from brief to short list is 2-4 weeks. For more information about Norrie Johnston Recruitment visit or call 01962 828 792