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CEO turns professional development into retention tool

Staffers at American Counseling Association given significant paid time off to sharpen their work skills, volunteer in community

June 12, 2015
By Walt Williams

One association CEO has found that the key to keeping employees happy is to give them the time they need to develop their professional skills and contribute to their communities.

Every year, the 62 staffers at the American Counseling Association are allowed to take as much paid leave as they need for professional development, as long as they first get approval from a supervisor. The association pays for the training. Employees also are allowed up to 30 hours of leave per year for community service.

ACA’s leave policy was the creation of CEO Richard Yep. His goal? Stop employees from viewing his $12 million-revenue organization as a stepping stone to other work in the nonprofit sector.

“Now I think we are seen as more of a destination for those who really want to develop their skills as association professionals,” Yep said. “In order to get to that point, we had to be more supportive of work-life
balance.”