How HR Managers can Prepare for the Holiday Rush

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The clocks have changed. Evenings are lighter. The daffodils are out. Must be spring. Summer soon! Let’s all celebrate!

But hold on, before you break out the garden furniture and whip out the paddling pool, let’s consider that most of your employees are also starting to think about doing the same.

Every year it’s a similar story. Winter ends, and staff start thinking about their summer holidays. Summer can be a busy time if you’re responsible for managing and approving annual leave, and this time round, employees have a pandemic’s worth of pent-up holiday energy to expend and may even have extra annual leave accrued after a few years of lockdowns and caution.

So how do you manage the potential for holiday clashes, employee shortages, arguments, disappointments, and general administrative pain? The development of HR software solutions has helped Human Resources deal with these issues more effectively, by automating many of these HR processes, but the glut of requests and the absence of key personnel can still affect productivity.

As the holiday requests begin to stack up, make sure you have the right HR processes in place to prevent staff holidays causing the types of headaches the summer can often bring.

Create a dedicated holiday policy

First things first: do you have an official Employee Leave Policy document, and has it been widely distributed to your staff? Set out the rules so that everyone within the business has a clear understanding of what they can and cannot do in terms of their holiday entitlement. Getting these HR processes right will keep employees on the same page and providing a clear explanation for why these rules are necessary will reduce any misunderstandings or feelings of resentment.

The policy needs to convey information on factors such as:

• Breakdown of holiday entitlement and allowance, including bank holidays
• Details for both part-time and full-time employees
• Clear notice periods for the request and approval process
• Holiday pay
• Any other company designed entitlements

Make employees aware of critical times

Another thing that employers must make clear to their staff is the dates over the summer period where annual leave is going to be most difficult to approve. There may be periods during these months that are critical to business operations where productivity is essential, and absences and understaffing can cause damage to the organisation. Let your employees know in advance what dates not to request for their summer holidays.

Helping staff to understand that there will be good reason for any rejection of their holiday requests provides a greater level of visibility and openness that can reduce friction and maintain high morale. Avoid any ambiguity that can cause tension among your employees.

Encourage booking as early as possible

When it comes to approving or rejecting annual leave, a first-come-first-served policy means that staff will actively look to put in their holiday requests as soon as possible. This prevents any accusations that decisions might be made based on any preferential treatment. Not only does this provide a sense of fairness and transparency, but it also gives employers and Human Resources more time to plan for staff absences.

This also helps to manage disappointment, placing responsibility on staff to ensure that they can plan and manage their holiday requests in a timely manner. Booking annual leave early means that their holiday will be prioritised. This makes it easier to persuade employees to book their holiday months in advance.

Use HR software to boost employee engagement

Modern HR software and HR systems enable seamless management of the holiday process, allowing employees to check their annual leave allowance. Holiday entitlement, allocations, and adjustments can all be automated, saving Human Resources and employers countless hours throughout the year – especially over the busy summer holiday period.

Instead of Human Resources centrally managing and juggling spreadsheets, manually checking for clashes amid piles of employee data, staff holiday booking systems allows staff to access their employee data in a self-service manner, keep track of their own holiday entitlement, and book their own annual leave, avoiding the bottlenecks that can plague Human Resource departments.

Creating an excellent user experience is key to boosting employee engagement, giving employees an opportunity to take ownership of their own data. Cloud-based HR software empowers employees to manage and access that data from anywhere – even on their holidays – and allows employers to approve these requests with the same level of ease. This reduces the workload on HR and provides more and accurate and up-to-date data that is maintained by employees themselves,

HR software reduces the burden and management time on HR departments, providing self-service solutions for employees and a system that can adjust based on real-time employee data and alert employers to any problems. HR systems can also provide employees with key data around absence policies, holiday pay, and all policies.

Stay Organised

Managing employee data – especially when it comes to holiday entitlement and annual leave can be one of the key sources of frustration for Human Resource departments, needing to ensure staff are able to take the annual leave they are entitled to without damaging the business or creating friction or unhappiness among staff. The complexities around managing these requests and protecting the business from any disruptions can be more effectively handled by taking that data away from spreadsheets and into HR systems that encourage self-service and employee engagement.

HR software makes staying organised, tracking staff holiday, and meeting compliance standards much easier. Ultimately, Human Resources need a break as well – a chance to take some well-earned rest in the sun.

Ensure the right HR processes are in place, with a dedicated holiday policy that clearly communicates not just holiday entitlement, but the times at which staff can and can’t book leave during the busy summer months. Be as open and transparent as possible; employers and Human Resources can really avoid a lot of the pain that can come from the race to book summer holidays. With HR software, friction and complexity can be reduced even further, meaning that everyone can get the restful and relaxing time off they deserve.

If you would like to see the full capabilities of HRMS software in your organisation, book a demo with one of our team.