The provincial and territorial governments across Canada have been revising their current employment legislation. Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec, for example, have recently introduced extensive changes designed to strengthen workers’ rights, protect them in the workplace, and promote better work-life balance for Canadians.
Most employers support the ideas behind these initiatives, although the way governments impose new rules sometimes causes headaches. One challenge facing many employers across the country currently is workforce management. As governments change rules and introduce new ones, particularly around employee leave, many business owners and HR managers have been looking for ways to strengthen their workforce planning.
These five strategies could help you achieve better workforce planning and leave management for your business.
1. Review Your Policies
The first thing you need to do when faced with new and amended employee leave rules is to look at your own leave policies. Are your policies compliant with the new regulations where you’re operating? If not, you’ll want to consider revising them to bring you up to date.
An updated policy can be the first step in a larger review of the process for handling leave management and workforce planning. Once you have compliant policies in place, it becomes easier to set goals for your workforce management and strategize to achieve them.
2. Encourage Early Bookings
Most of the new bills being introduced in Canada look to strengthen employee leaves. Bereavement leave, parental leave, caretaker leave, and even vacation and sick leave are all targets for improvement in these new government initiatives.
Of course, it’s impossible to tell when an employee is going to get sick or when someone will need to attend a funeral for a loved one. Other leaves, however, are more predictable. You can easily plan for vacation and parental leave, provided you’re told well in advance.
To this end, you should encourage your employees to use an early booking system, especially for anticipated leaves such as vacations. If you can, revise your process to favour and accommodate early bookings. A “vacation bidding” system could be one way of implementing early bookings, which will then allow you to plan more effectively for when people are away.
3. Use Technology to Track Leave
Your human resource information system (HRIS) can help you make the most of your workforce planning efforts. The system can help you track leaves more effectively and efficiently. You can keep tabs on who is away when, for how long, and who has upcoming leave.
The HRIS can also help you through the hiring and onboarding processes, as well as the return-to-work process.
4. Ensure You Have Enough Staff
Extended and strengthened leave management is good news for employees when they take their vacations or need to use other types of leave.
However, part of effective workforce planning is ensuring you have the right staff coverage at any given moment. Hiring a summer student or a part-time, temporary worker to help cover vacations is a good idea. You may also consider hiring someone to cover extended leaves, such as short-term disability or parental leave.
5. Be Considerate
As you work your way through the workforce planning challenges new and amended leave regulations present, be sure you’re considering your employees and their well-being. Respond to requests for time off as quickly as you can and organize policies like vacation bidding in a fair way.
Better workforce planning will help you manage leaves with ease.