Shift-based organizations like manufacturing, public safety, energy production, and transportation require labor at all times. With that kind of pressure, it’s no surprise that hourly workers and their employers become stressed when requesting vacation and planning for the associated scheduling gaps.
With the right leave management process, however, you can provide company-wide transparency that helps you proactively prepare for absences. Here are 3 steps we recommend taking to streamline your vacation request process.
1. Get Rid of Paper
Are you still relying on forms for employees to request time off? We recommend stopping this strategy and moving away from such scattered processes.
Dealing with (usually overlapping) requests gets complicated if your process relies on paper, email, or—yikes—verbal communication. Here’s why.
If there isn’t one standardized system in place, managers are juggling requests coming from various sources—forms, calendars (both paper and online), emails, app messaging platforms—and then manually compiling them together. To keep track of both requests and final vacation date approvals, they’re either manually entering the data in spreadsheets or writing them down (hopefully legibly) and storing them in a filing cabinet.
None of this provides company-wide transparency. And none of this makes it easy to digest how many people are actually going to be off on any given day. You may have accepted too many requests, leaving you with one of two choices: going back to the least senior folks and taking back the leave approval, completely depleting employee morale, or having to distribute a lot of unbudgeted overtime to make up for the stark shifts. If your company requires annual vacation planning, that’s another layer of complexity; with paper, schedulers could spend months just going through one full year’s worth of requests for every employee.
The headaches described above could be solved with an automated employee scheduling and leave management solution that has mobile capabilities.
Besides being able to create a shift schedule in minutes that follows your industry’s unique compliance guidelines, you’ll also have a centralized system for employees to submit time off requests. Employee leave balances are transparent to the entire organization, and employees will know immediately when their vacation is either approved or denied through notifications. Now, you can manage requests on the go, or plan vacation a year in advance—however your organization needs to plan to keep things moving.
2. Set and Communicate Internal Rules
Unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year for each hourly worker.
Most organizations try to curtail this with internal rules and repercussions for missed shifts, yet some companies are not as secure in the enforcement of their absence management policies. But if the leave request process is made easy—like “click of a button from my mobile device” easy—this can help curtail absenteeism.
To control costs and expectations, all organizations must decide which guidelines to follow. Even more importantly, all employees need to be aware of such internal rules. Here are some of the policies you need to nail down:
- How time off requests get submitted
- How far in advance requests need to be made
- When employees can and cannot request time off
- What the maximum amount of consecutive vacation days allowed is
With an automated employee scheduling system, you can input company restrictions to prevent unacceptable absences from occurring—and you can control for all the variables above.
And let’s say you’re still dealing with absenteeism. Now, you have a centralized system of record that makes it easy to conduct audits and see if a particular employee was scheduled and was reported as a “no show”.
3. Create a Vacancy Filling Plan
Rather than constantly dialing numbers to see who can cover a soon-to-be-absent worker’s shift(s), you have a few options here that can relieve you from the stress.
You can digitize your call out lists, creating an easily accessibly “shortlist” of the best employees to call for the position. By creating robust profiles and lists of employees to call for vacancy opportunities before you need to use them, you’ll be able to find the right list of qualified employees to call based on your unique rules.
Alternatively, you can choose to automate the call out process entirely. It takes all the convenience of those digitized call out lists and then does the calling (or texting) for you. All you need to do is click a few buttons to initiate the automated reach-out.
The Indeavor Solution
Dealing with leave requests doesn’t need to be a burden. Automated scheduling and leave management allows for employee information to be centralized and accessible. Moving away from scattered employee request processes, enforcing internal rules, and creating a proactive vacancy filling plan is a breeze with Indeavor.
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Workloud is our workforce management SaaS solution which offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling, time & attendance, and absence management system. Workloud integrates with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems to create a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data.