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Three Keys to an Effective Employer-Designated Vacation Policy
With Spring and Summer around the corner, people are planning their vacations. Now is a good time to review your company’s vacation policy to see if it needs updating, or to enact a policy if there is not one in place currently. One of the perks of many organizations is the benefits that companies provide to their employees to encourage employee loyalty and to offer an attractive place to work. However, a tricky area for any employer is to designate when employees may take their vacation time. It certainly may help the employer in effectively managing time and workplace attendance; however, it can also lead to employee frustration if they are mandated to take a vacation only during specific times during the year. Take steps to avoid this pitfall by following these three best practices:
1) Setting up the Policy
When enacting a vacation policy, an employer needs to make sure it is easy to enforce. This includes reviewing organizational trends in regards to vacation time requests. A review of when vacation time requests increase and times of year when workloads tend to be heavier will provide valuable data in determining the vacation policy. Small to mid-sized businesses have to take these trends into special consideration to ensure all tasks are covered throughout the year. An organization may effectively manage such requests by incorporating a policy regarding time off by placing a maximum cap on the number of days that employees may request to take for vacation; the number of employees from within a department that may be out at any given time, as well as how much notice employees must provide prior to taking vacation. Companies that incorporate a system based on employees’ seniority within the organization as a basis for granting vacation leave during periods of high requests increase consistency in the management of employee vacation requests. Once the vacation policy has been decided and put into place, it is essential to communicate the policy to employees in a clear and concise manner.
2) Managing with Technology
Putting a vacation policy in place can be a great a benefit, but it also increases HR’s workload. Trying to manage the requests and approvals process using manual methods, like paper and spreadsheets, can consume a lot of time and is prone to errors. The use of a cloud-based time & attendance solution streamlines the request/review process and also makes it easier to enforce the vacation policy in place. Employees can submit their vacation time requests, managers can review submitted requests for approval, and the history of these requests can be viewed in reports. The use of an employee self-service site is a great way to communicate updated and new policies to employees. An employer’s vacation policy may be uploaded for employees to view within the self-service site. Employees may also use the self-service site to submit their requests and view which requests have been approved. This type of technology builds employees’ confidence in the company’s policy because they have visibility at all times.
3) Monitoring Your Policy’s Success
A vital step in enacting and enforcing a solid vacation policy is having good management reporting. It is recommended that an employer keep a complete audit trail of employees who have requested vacation time, which manager approved or denied the request, and run historical trends to track how well the policy is working. An employer may also track vacation time requests to make sure there is no policy abuse occurring, for example, fairness in who may take vacation during certain holidays.
Rule Your Vacation Policy Strategy
With a thought-out vacation policy strategy, you can achieve a balance between employee taking vacations and workloads getting completed correctly and efficiently. Not to mention, managers can decrease the amount of time spent manually tracking and approving vacation requests with an automated time and attendance solution. Be sure to monitor the success of your policy so you can analyze historical data to determine if your company needs to change sections of the policy to better fit the needs of the organization and employees. Whether you currently have a vacation policy or not, be sure to review your vacation policy annually or as the needed for your business.
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