Top 5 Headaches of Managing Time Off

Human resources professionals have a lot on their plate no matter what the industry or field of their company. Hiring, firing, compliance, payroll, benefits administration, maintain employee records, crafting and disseminating human resources policies throughout the company, handling employee complaints and more. The list of responsibilities can feel endless. And one of the most frustrating items on that ever-expanding to-do list is managing employee leave time. Here are the top five headaches of managing time off that can leave human resources professionals feeling frustrated and overwhelmed – and what you can do about them:

Lacking Clear Policies is One of the Worst Headaches of Managing Time Off

How clear are the policies at your company regarding how employees go about taking time off? If there are not clear procedures in place, or if employees don’t know what those procedures are, then this will undoubtedly continue to be one of your headaches regarding managing time off at your company. This may seem like an obvious no-brainer, but when’s the last time you really looked at your company’s time-off policies? If you are continually finding time-off requests to be a problem, then chances are good that you need to revisit your policies, or do a better job at making sure employees know what they are.

Lacking a Strategy for Managing Conflicts

There will inevitably be times when you cannot honor multiple requests for time off within the same team or department. How you handle these situations when they occur is of vital importance. If you don’t handle them just right, you’ll have some very unhappy employees on your hands. What you need is a real strategy. Maybe it’s based on seniority or maybe you’ll use a first-come-first-served approach. Whatever strategy you do use, it is incumbent upon you to make sure the employees understand how such conflicts will be handled, and to clearly explain your decision in order to close the communication loop and not leave people feeling neglected, resentful, or wondering if you were playing favorites. Get it right!

Lacking a Plan for Unplanned Absences

A sense of panic can set in when a key employee or team member is unexpectedly out sick or due to some other emergency. This can be especially nerve-wracking if another key person is already out on vacation when the unplanned absence occurs. This can be one of the most stress-inducing headaches of managing time off you’ll ever experience because when it happens, there may not be much of anything you can do about it. The only way to effectively address this problem is with a high level of big-picture planning. Do you have a temp agency you work with that can quickly fill the gap? Have employees been cross-trained in such a way that there is someone who can step in when needed? Creating and implementing a formal cross-training program is a major undertaking, but one that will serve your company well for years to come when this situation arises.

Lacking the Right Company Culture

Every company has employees who seem to keep accruing unused vacation days, and those can become a surprisingly large financial liability when an employee leaves and the company has to pay them for unused time off. But beyond the financial liability unused time off, there is also the toll it takes on the productivity of your employees due to stress and burnout. For more information on this problem, see my previous article, Vacation Time’s True Cost to Your Company. Creating a workplace culture that encourages employees to take the time off they’ve earned is important, and it starts by having company leaders and managers model it themselves for the sake of everyone’s sanity.

Lacking a Good Time Off Tracking Tool

If your methods for managing time off include paper forms or electronic spreadsheets, then it’s high time for you to enter the digital age of the 21st century and get the right time off tracking tool that will lessen all your headaches regarding managing time off. This falls into the category of working smarter, not harder. Paper forms and spreadsheets are sucking up way more time than you or your company can afford. And there’s no reason to put up with that for even one more day when there are plenty of solutions out there that are easy to adopt and use for surprisingly little money. You owe it to yourself and your company to make this happen.

If you’re ready to start reducing and eliminating these top five headaches managing time off at your company, then we encourage you to take a closer look at CaptureLeave. This easy-to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) application is available anytime on any device with an Internet connection and web browser. Discover just how easy it can be to manage the leave time of all your employees with a free 60-day trial. If you like what you see, then you’ll also be pleased with CaptureLeave’s affordable monthly pricing based on the number of users. Leave the headaches behind and start enjoying stress-free time off management today!

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