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6 tips to prevent employee vacation scheduling issues

Thought Leadership on Business Ideas for Growth Companies and Growth Consultants presented by Cerini and Associates LLP.

Ensuring businesses have an appropriate amount of coverage can be an issue at any point during the year, but it can be extremely challenging during the summer months, as employees are trying to use their vacation days to plan long weekends and schedule summer vacations. Often times it may seem like there is nobody in the office toward the end of the week. On top of the planned vacations, there’s always the possibility that employees may take the unplanned day off leaving managers scrambling for coverage.

Despite some employees’ best efforts to give sufficient notice prior to their scheduled time off, it’s still common for employers to run into scheduling conflicts. These conflicts may be a result of employees scheduling vacations together, certain weeks being more popular than others due to time off from school, or the crafty idea to extend a holiday weekend. Depending on the size of an employer’s staff, it may be challenging to approve every employee’s request for time off, which could possibly result in unhappy employees.

Although it’s important for employers to encourage their employees to take time off and find a work-life balance, business owners and managers have to consider the needs of their business, and to communicate these needs with their employees. Also, it’s essential that employers ensure they are treating all employees fairly when considering the schedule.

There a number of simple steps employers can take to eliminate the stress of scheduling employee vacations, which will hopefully help with making their summers just as relaxing.

1. Create a time off policy. Employers should create an easy-to-understand time-off policy, which clearly states the rules regarding each employee based on position. Some rules may include the amount of paid time off allowed, the necessary amount of notice, and the basis for granting time off to employees.

2. Clearly communicate vacation policies. Managers should go over vacation policies with employees within their first few days with the organization. This can be done with all of the other policies that are initially communicated, and can assist with reducing confusion during the first time off request process. In order to ensure that the staff remains aware of the policies, reminder emails regarding important policies, such as time off policies, can be sent occasionally or during certain peak vacation times.

3. Be fair. A very common complaint among employees related to the vacation scheduling process is that management is playing favorites, for example, employees that have stronger relationships with managers may always find that their requests have been approved, while other employees are having their requests denied. Issues like this can lead to frustrated employees, and an overall decrease in productivity. When there is an actual basis behind the decisions for approving or denying time off requests, there is a much better chance that the decisions will not impact employee morale.

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