Employee leave management may not sound like much to the layman. Although it plays an important role in the smooth functioning of any organisation. Consider the following scenario:
I’m planning to take a vacation of 10 days from the 25th of March to 4th of April. Kindly take note that I will be not be available during this time due to limited connectivity.
Look forward to your approval.
Few would openly admit this, but some managers do tend to panic after reading such emails. The general assumption being, how will the company or team manage the workload in that employee’s absence. Would they be able to meet their projected deadlines? Or would rest of the team members need to be encumbered with extra responsibility to manage all tasks within time?
And this seems like a fair assumption if the company’s leave management process is not particularly efficient.
Leave management process:
At the onset, leave management may sound like a fairly simple process. After all, it is all about approving and disapproving leaves. That’s quite opposite as it is one of the most crucial responsibilities of the HR department. They are many responsibilities that need to be taken care of such as:
- Ensure availability of staff at all times
- Compliance with leave policies of the organisation
- Compliance with Government rules and regulations
- Manage employee satisfaction levels
To succeed as an organization, having a reliable leave management system is important. Poor leave management practices may negatively affect employee performance. It can also affect employee morale and so impact project deliverables.
Leaves or vacation time are also increasingly becoming a priority across generations of current employees. Millennials, along with Generation X and Baby Boomers, are more likely to prioritize paid vacation and overtime, as compared to other benefits (Source) Whether or not, they deplug entirely on these vacations is a debatable issue. Some simply like to be connected with their work even while relaxing.
Benefits of leave management:
Reduce paper work
Globally, there are still many small as well as large organisations that manage employee leaves across a series of spreadsheets. Some even rely on paper-based systems. It can get quite challenging to accurately track and record employee absenteeism or leaves taken. An automated leave management system can help to streamline the process. It can easily store all employee records in a centralized repository that can be accesses by all concerned authorities.
As everything gets stored online, all paperwork can be eliminated thus increasing efficiency and reducing wastage of resources.
Efficiently track leaves and reduce errors:
It is very essential to track employee leave patterns to monitor the amount of paid leave, sick leaves and holiday patterns within your organization. Since there is no chance of manual error due to automation of leave management, analytics for business processes can be accurately studied. The analytics can also be used to map employee performance and diligence.
Maintain legal compliances:
Organizations always need to make sure they are on the right side of the law. An efficient leave management process helps them to systematically record and store information to support discussions (or in the worst-case scenario a legal condition) and stay on top of key activities via alerts and reminders.
Winning tactics for leave management
Access to information:
Employees should be given access to information pertaining to their leave management. It is one of the ways companies can ensure transparency in the workplace. Since, the information is available to both the individual and reporting manager, it gets easy to determine if the leave application will be approved.
Additionally, managers do not have to go through an elaborate procedure. Leaves can be approved or rejected at a moment’s notice since all the information is available at the their fingertips.
Excessive amount of time is spent on the elaborate process of sending a mail to your manager, with a copy to HR of course. And you have to wait for them to reply to your mail with approval or disapproval.
Instead, you can introduce self-service portals wherein employee can view their balance of leaves and apply. A notification is sent out to their managers, who also has access to your leave balance and can thus approve accordingly. Minimal time is wasted in such cases.
Plus, since information of leave balance and history of leaves taken is available to both the employees and their managers. The process becomes entirely transparent in this case and there is a significant reduction in favoritism bias as well.
A couple decades ago, companies would have loved employees who worked for prolonged duration without taking leaves. It would mean greater output i.e. higher productivity per employee. However, in today’s times, if employees who don’t take vacations will have to endure great stress to their physical and mental strength.
The employee leave management software should be able to track the pattern of leaves availed/unavailed by all employees. Based on this pattern, it should send out reminders at frequent intervals about the balance of leaves. Managers too should encourage those who do not avail them, so that they do not burnout by working incessantly.
Another point to note is, managers too are notorious for taking leaves. If they do not utilize their leaves, their teams are unwilling as well. The general impression is, those taking leaves are slacking off while those who don’t are more dedicated and thus, high performers. This couldn’t be far from the truth. In such instances, managers too should take leaves occasionally and lead by example.
One way to bring about efficient tracking is by automating the attendance system and integrating it with the employee leave management system. All attendance log can be then automatically stored and shared with the latter. It gets easy to identify who has taken leaves on which day and if prior permissions were taken.
This is an interesting feature that gives more freedom to employees when it comes to taking leaves. Trading shifts between employees can ease up some of the pending workload. It is definitely helpful when it comes to encouraging a collaborative environment. On the plus side, fewer projects are delayed. Work can continue uninterrupted and employees can take leaves whenever required.
If the company’s leave management process is efficient, then there is no reason for managers to worry about employee unavailability. On the contrary, leaves would be encouraged so that each individual gets time to rejuvenate or give priority to other responsibilities without compromising on their job responsibilities. It also contributes in the increase of employee engagement in the organisation.
So the next time you get a leave application request from Smith or Mary, take an informed decision and make sure productivity is not affected.