HR managers deal with absence or leave management every single day, but even if that is the reality, it doesn’t make the task easy. Tracking vacation leaves, bereavement leaves, sick days, half-days off, study leaves (and the list goes on and on), can be the cause of unnecessary stress and lots of headaches. This is particularly true if the HR professional in question works for a sizable business.
What makes leave management so difficult is that HR needs to juggle these requests without compromising organizational goals all while safeguarding employee satisfaction. It’s much like walking on a tightrope!
When an employee experiences inefficient management of his or her leaves, it can severely and negatively impact his or her morale, especially when he or she is denied a leave due to issues in Resource Management. The scenario goes on and this can lead to a drop in productivity and engagement.
If you are an HR manager looking to better your leave management process, here are just a few tips you can consider:
1. Understand the Law
The very first step HR professionals need to take to effectively manage a leave program is to know and understand their area’s local, state, and federal laws. All your policies must be in accordance with the law. Doing this will keep you from violating any rules, ordinances, or mandates that apply to the business.
Avoid inadvertently running into legal trouble by reviewing your policies and making sure that they are written clearly. You can opt to consult an attorney who is well-versed in the laws that apply to the company. Managers should also be trained thoroughly so that they can manage employee leave consistently.
2. Respond to Leave Requests As Soon As Possible
It leaves a bad impression on employees when vacation requests take a little too long to get approved. One of the most important things you have to take to heart as an HR manager is that you should always respond to requests promptly.
The best way to do this is to provide a smooth employee experience with the help of an effective HR management software. Employing the help of software allows you to receive and approve leave requests easily. That means employees wouldn’t have to wait for ages to get approval and it is these little gestures that boost their satisfaction, motivation, and engagement.
3. Use a Leave Management Software
With software to back you up, not only are you keeping the employees’ morale top of mind, but you are also cutting your time and effort in dealing with such a complex and sensitive task–effectively hitting two birds with one stone.
Leave management software automates the entire process, thereby boosting your efficiency and eliminating missed leaves or any other error. Without any mistakes in this HR function, there will be fewer to no discrepancies in payroll, minimizing the headache in that department as well.
Another great thing about software is that you can track absence trends with just a click of a button just in case frequent unplanned leaves of employees occur.
4. Let Employees Know Of Your Leave Policies
Ensure that you clearly communicate your leave policies to all employees as this helps guarantee uniform treatment across the board. Have these policies stated in an employment contract or a handbook.
Be sure to clarify the following in your policy guidelines:
- The types of leaves employees are entitled to and the circumstances in which they might be applied
- The procedure employees need to follow should they wish to request time off
- The holidays observed by the company
- How PTO accrual is calculated
- What happens to unused time, whether it will simply be lost or it will roll-over
Make your policies available to the employees at all times so they can use them as a quick reference. It will become ten times harder for you to manage leaves effectively when the employees are not aware of the company’s leave policies.
Another thing to watch out for in terms of leave policies is that they tend to evolve over time. You might discover flaws in your current policies as you move along. This is okay as it is normal–simply make the necessary changes and continue to look for ways to improve what you already have. However, ensure that these changes are communicated to the employees as soon as possible so that they aren’t caught off guard and they can plan accordingly.
5. Be Empathetic
When employees ask for extended leaves due to an emergency or other unavoidable circumstances, put empathy first. Make sure to train line managers in the way they respond to these requests. Compassion is necessary in these situations as, if they are handled wrongly, problems in workplace morale can take place and affect the employee, those around them, and the management itself.
6. Plan In Advance
It’s better when HR managers know who is going on leave when and for how many days as this helps in planning out resources. That’s why it’s important to remind your managers to be proactive when dealing with vacation requests from employees.
As much as possible, HR should encourage early bookings as this would aid them in ensuring that productivity does not dip during vacation times.
Leave management is just as important to the success of any business as any other HR function as it has the power to affect employee morale and productivity. With the right policies, tools, and systems in place, the process of tracking leaves and attendance can be much smoother and easier than ever before.