Vacation Schedules, Quick and Painless
Over the past decade, vacations have taken on an entirely new level of importance, with more workers making a conscious effort to go on vacation with their families at least once every year or two.
With employees stressing about their trips, it’s up to managers and HR personnel to plan ahead and develop scheduling solutions that benefit everyone. A sound policy and plan for scheduling vacations is crucial to an organization’s success, as it helps retain team members while ensuring adequate staffing levels.
So how do you approve vacation requests without tearing your hair out? Here are some pointers to help you create a vacation schedule that’s fair to everybody:
First thing’s first, it’s your policy
If you want your employees to know what the vacation scheduling system is, and that it’s a fair one, they need to be able to see the policy. New employees in particular should be introduced to the policy, outlining rules on when they can and can not take vacation, what notices are required, and how notice should be given.
Some of the basic information a vacation policy should outline includes the number of people allowed to take vacations simultaneously (perhaps per department), notice procedures, deadline policies, customer issues and more. People can still get sick while others are away on vacation, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Know when to go
Since most employees plan for vacations months—sometimes years—ahead of time, it makes perfect sense for you to let them know which times of the year are ideal to take vacation. For some businesses, holiday weeks are the best times for workers to take time off, because business is slow. But for others (particularly retail), holidays can be nightmarishly busy.
Let them do it
This is one of those moments where it’s wise to be ‘hands off.’ One of the biggest objections over vacation scheduling is feelings that management chooses sides. If you want to be fair, stick to your policy, and allow your employees to work out the rest on their own. Only intervene if it becomes absolutely necessary.
Time is your best friend when it comes to coordinating a vacation schedule. Establish a reasonable deadline for vacation requests, so that you have time to plan, forget, and plan again. But if a vacation is short and sure not to cause any problems, don’t hesitate to approve it. You don’t want to put anyone in a position where they have to choose between their job and cousin Jimmy’s surprise shotgun wedding.
If you want to erase all notions of management taking sides in granting vacation requests, it helps to include total confidentiality in your vacation policy. While cousin Jimmy’s wedding might seem less important than Martha’s 25th anniversary, your job isn’t to prioritize other people’s lives. Don’t put yourself in that position.
Be transparent about policies and dates. Don’t ask for rationales. Use a shared calendar to pull it all together.
TribeHR’s popular vacation tracking software allows your team to request and view time-off bookings from anywhere, while automatically tracking accrual and usage. Learn more.