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Summer, the holiday season, winter getaways—there’s many times throughout the year as an HR professional, or manager, you’ll be expected to handle employee vacation requests.

Scheduling vacation can, let’s face it, be a bit of a nightmare. With multiple request coming in at the same time, and certain seasons that see a higher volume of requests (the summer and holiday seasons), HR and managers are required to seamlessly organize an entire businesses vacation request. The bigger the company, the more requests you’ve got to juggle.

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With new requests coming in all the time, ensuring each one is approved and scheduled can be a nightmare. Not to mention finding another employee to cover the responsibilities for everyone going on holiday, is it any wonder HR and Managers are overwhelmed?

The best way to handle vacation requests is to have a clearly defined leave management process, a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) can help.

First Get a Handle on the Many Parts of Paid Time Off (PTO)

Paid Time Off (PTO) can be complex. Managers and HR, who are often required to manage employees’ requests for PTO, must work together to create an organized process. PTO has many moving parts, including sick days, personal days and vacation, because of this it can be a real hassle to manage. Using an HRIS to automate the management of your businesses PTO can alleviate much of the stress management and HR deal with.

An HRIS with a robust Leave Management module can be set to automatically add PTO balances for each employee. An HRIS can also:

  • Be used to send alerts to management and HR when an employee makes a request for time off.
  • Support a variety of leave times, including vacation, sick days, bereavement and parental leave.
  • Set reminders for time off requests to alert management.

An HRIS can also house your company’s policy on leave and PTO, including if you have any blackout periods and rules about how much time an employee can request off at once.

Handling PTO and Mandatory Holiday Pay

Automating leave management prevents mistakes, miscommunication and missed pay. Mandatory holidays (Canada Day, Family Day, Christmas Day, etc.) mean employees don’t have to request the time off, an HRIS can be set up with these holidays scheduled in advance, including ensuring they’re paid on time.

Set Request Deadlines for High Volume Periods

Part of an organized vacation request process is, unfortunately, deadlines. While emergencies, unexpected illness and bereavement can never be expected and should never be denied, holiday requests should be handled differently.

You probably don’t want to deny a team member a requested holiday. But, if they come to you with a last-minute request for time off during a high-volume request period, saying yes may be detrimental to your business’s bottom line.

Setting deadlines for vacation requests during high volume periods is the best way to avoid this scenario. Because an HRIS can easily send notifications and updates, you can use it to remind employees of deadlines for time off. You can also create blackout periods where staff can’t request time off. Either because it’s a notoriously busy time of the year, or because you’ve hit the quote for how much staff can be away during that time.

Don’t Forget to Prepare for Absences

Part of managing vacation leave is preparing for absences. Each member of your team has specific responsibilities, and it’s up to management to ensure those roles and responsibilities are appropriately covered when an employee is on vacation.

An HRIS can house information regarding an employee’s role and specific responsibilities—this valuable information can help management find the appropriate cover for an employee while away. An HRIS can’t create a knowledge transfer process, but it can house it.

Make It Mandatory…or at Least Encourage Time Off

A report commissioned by Expedia found that more than half of Canadian workers feel vacation deprived. Overworked, stressed out employees’ lack motivation, energy and tend to be less productive. Businesses should strongly encourage their staff to use their allocated vacation time, even if they only end up having a relaxing staycation

A clearly defined vacation process, that makes it easy to request time off will help encourage employees to book time off. Using an HRIS that provides reminders to staff and managers for upcoming vacation and blackout periods and that houses critical information about employees’ roles and responsibilities only helps to further streamline and simplify the process.

The-10-Point-Checklist-for-Automating-HR-Processes

 

Meghan Vallis

Meghan Vallis

Meghan Vallis is the Senior Vice-President of Consulting at Apri Insurance Services Inc. Responsible for leading the national consulting team, Meghan guides Apri’s strategic initiatives and consultants’ development activities. She is based in their Vancouver office. Meghan has over a decade of experience in the group benefits industry where she worked in a number of different areas of the business. She is passionate about helping companies succeed by leveraging technology to transform the HR experience from administrative to strategic. Meghan holds the status of secretary and board member of the BC Chapter of the ISCEBS, holds a CPE-compliant CEBS designation, and is considering the CEBS Fellow. When she’s not at work, you’ll find her skiing at Sun Peaks, trying not to fall off her bike, or living vicariously through other people’s pets.