How to manage seasonal employee vacations through efficient scheduling
Who created a single summer vacation season for the entire year? bemoans the HR Manager and business owner in the busy vacation season. It can often feel that all employees choose the same week or period to take time off!
As a result, businesses face conflict during summer vacation and New Year holidays, with multiple employees (often those who support or substitute for each other, or in similar roles) requesting time off across the same days.
At this point, the HR Manager is faced with a difficult decision. Which employee must remain at work, and which can go on the family vacation planned? This kind of decision can cause as many unnecessary workplace conflicts as allowing the entire team to drop tools and head out for the season!
This issue is exacerbated by the fact that, during tough times, there’s always a temptation to run on a tight staff, with as little wiggle room or bench strength as possible. This results in major coverage issues during peak holiday seasons, flu or allergies season, or any other period of high vacation demand, including long weekends. When you’re planning staffing levels, therefore, do remember that employees do need time off occasionally, both for vacation and for sickness.
With some advance planning, clear and well-communicated policies, and (ideally) a simple online Scheduler platform, however, it is possible to simplify the process and make it easier to manage these employee vacations.
Here are Some Helpful Tips to Help You Plan Your Summer Holiday Season Better:
- Communicate your employee vacation policy to everyone, from Management to all levels of employment in the team, describing exactly how much holiday time can be taken in a year, when and how to claim it, and other required policies. Explain the policies during hiring, orientation and share a written document with holiday and leave policies and procedures for the employees’ regular reading and comprehension.
- Create specific rules for vacation season, religious holidays and other times when you know that the chances of employees requesting time off are high. Spell out how disputes over high-demand days will be handled. Ask employees to requisition leave well in advance for these periods, setting clear deadlines so that you can plan for their absence and for others to cover for them. Make it clear to every employee that in case of any conflict, Management decision will be final.
- Accept that you cannot please every employee in the organisation. You will need to plan around the system to minimise issues with multiple vacationers, organising substitutes and replacements. This will inevitably mean that, if there is a clash between two employees wanting to take time off, one of them will go unhappy. That’s not good, but it can’t be avoided. Get ready to make those tough decisions!
- When your employees are going on leave, prepare for their time off. Ensure that the colleagues who are going to cover the role go through a thorough onboarding process, understanding where specific files are on systems, client and other contact information, and what crucial deadlines are pending. Customise a checklist for your organisation that every employee going on vacation must complete with their substitute before they leave for their holiday. To the extent possible, ensure that it’s not a single employee covering for the vacationer, but multiple, so that no employee is overloaded during the crucial holiday season.
- See if you can incentivise working during the vacation season with extra pay or non-monetary incentives. Every employee wants to take a break during the school vacation, or around New Year, but they are more likely to choose to work if they see that their organisation appreciates them for it.
- Ensure, using a comprehensive scheduling software, that employees are not pushed to work or cover for others during multiple consecutive weekends or vacations. You may not register this from one weekend to the next, but trust us that your employees will… and carry that resentment! Watch out!
- If you allow employees to trade off vacation time with each other, monitor this with a scheduling and vacation software system to ensure that the trading was fair to all.
- Using a digital scheduling system, your HR team can save time on planning and organising shifts during crucial vacation season. These systems can also help you automate the process of choosing the ideal employee to substitute for the vacationer, using smart algorithms to make decisions that work.
You can automate your staffing and vacation decisions with user-friendly Scheduler software, based on algorithms that consider the role, skills, qualification and availability of staff. This helps you understand:
- if you need more temporary staff for the holiday season
- if you can afford to let an individual take time off
- if you have a clash of vacation times
- if you have available staff who can easily step in to cover the role
Our Scheduler works with a simple clocking system, covering mobile workforce management needs as well. Optimise human resource efficiency using an effective automated scheduling software in order to plan your staffing needs, every day of this high-demand vacation season!
If you enjoyed this blog post you can also read On Time, On Schedule and Within Budget : How Job Costing Software Helps Your Organisation