The holiday season is well under way, but you can expect the majority of your employees to start taking their leave and requesting some well-deserved holiday time off towards the New Year.
During this period, it is essential that you organize your approach to handling holiday time off in order to address the needs of the individual in your employee collective, but also to ensure your operation keeps moving forward at all times. After all, just because the holidays are here doesn’t mean that the business needs to close completely.
So, here to help you avoid any mistakes and setbacks during the holiday season, and to help you handle employee time off efficiently are the five tips you need to implement right away.
Create a clear and employee-centric holiday policy
First and foremost, you can save yourself a lot of heartache and many employee complaints if you take the time to simply draft a holiday policy. Modern businesses need to minimize liabilities and ensure operational efficiency through various policies pertaining to different departments and processes, one which is definitely how you handle and process holiday time off.
A good policy will give your employees some much-needed direction on this matter, instruct your HR staff how best to handle time off requests and any special issues that may come up, and will minimize the risk of any setbacks and disputes. You can create an annual leave policy that will contain everything your employees and HR staff need to know about when annual leave is permitted, how to file a request, and more.
First come, first serve is always a good tactic
One of the tried and tested tactics that works in almost every business and industry is the first come, first serve approach. In the interest of complete fairness and transparency, you might want to consider making this your primary tactic for handling employee time off requests, because this approach eliminates any potential disputes or misunderstandings, and prevents employees from gaining special treatment when it is not justified.
Speaking of, you still need to be aware of the fact that special scenarios demanding special treatment will arise from time to time. For example, an employee requesting time off might have been first, but another employee dealing with serious personal matters might need that time off as well. In such a scenario, you need to take a personalized approach and try to come up with a solution that benefits both parties.
Use the right software to track everything
Planning your human resources (not the department, but the people) during the holiday season is of the utmost importance if you are to keep your business running smoothly, and to do that, you need to have a comprehensive overview of your entire operation. Make sure to use the right technology to track and monitor all employees and create the perfect employee rosters during this time.
The best way to do that is to monitor the availability of your employees with time and attendance software that will give you a bird’s eye view of your operation and allow you to plan days and weeks in advance. This way, you can log employee time off in the system and pick only the available staff members for the upcoming tasks, projects, and shifts.
Keep the needs of your organization in mind
No matter how much you want to make your employees’ wishes come true and allow everyone to take their leave whenever they want, you still need to keep the grander picture in mind. If you make any decisions that might jeopardize the efficiency and output of your business, you risk not having a business at all by the end of the holiday season, especially during these troubling times.
With that in mind, always keep the needs of your company in mind, and make them a priority. If you require a certain set of skills that only one employee has, then you will have to deny their request. However, you also need to compensate them in some other way. Explain to them why they’re indispensable and offer an incentive and a reward for their loyalty and commitment – show them that they are valued and appreciated.
Handle any disputes in a personalized way
No matter how much you try to avoid problems during the holidays, there are bound to be a couple of disputes and misunderstandings. Whether an employee is dissatisfied with your policy, or if they were late to file their request for time off, or if there is an interpersonal dispute over holiday leave, you need to step in as the leader and resolve the issue.
The key here is not to take any sides, but to listen to both. Whatever decision you reach, you have to make sure that the other side is fairly compensated as well, because the last thing you want is for an employee to feel cheated or undervalued. If you take a personalized approach to these problems, you should have no problem reaching a solution that allows both parties to enjoy the holiday season with friends and family.
For many HR specialists and business leaders around the world, holidays can be the most stressful time. However, you won’t have to stress anymore if you implement these tips to create a holiday time off strategy that will benefit your business as well as your employee collective.