Ensuring your business has sufficient cover at any time of the year can be a struggle for businesses, particularly over the school holidays or during bank holiday weeks when many employees are trying to make the most of their holiday entitlement. And, if you're not sure who's off during these peak periods, this can cause huge complications for workforce planning.
Bank holidays are usually gratefully received by employees, but 4 day weeks, where many people take time off, can cause huge disruption for businesses.
This isn't the only time when employees often rush to take leave. Depending on when you run your fiscal year (77% of businesses run their holiday periods from January-end of December) there can be a last minute rush in your business to use up allowances. According to research, up to a third of employees have not taken their full holiday entitlement during the year1 – meaning a last-minute rush to remedy the situation becomes an unwelcome annual event for thousands of firms who must suddenly redraw rotas to make sure it’s business as usual.
Even for firms that run their holiday entitlements from midway through the year, times such as Easter, Christmas and school holidays can be just as unpredictable. Not only will staff still start to tot up what they have (or haven’t) got left and decide when is best to take leave, there’s the perennial problem of increased absence around bank holidays as clashes occur between colleagues fighting for the same time off, HR departments suddenly have to play referee.
No holiday, no engagement
So what’s the answer? Firms could decide to play hardball. Legally, employees aren’t entitled to take leave whenever they want to. Businesses are perfectly able to insist that during certain periods – such as during the half terms or Easter periods – holiday is restricted for continuity reasons. But really? The hit to staff engagement could be catastrophic – especially if staff already feel they’ve been unable to take their leave during another similar period because of the demands of their job.
A far better solution is absence management technology. Holiday bottlenecks are perfectly preventable with technology that can seamlessly manage this. With cloud based leave management solutions, firms can regain control by setting their own rules for leave approval. They can provide their employees with simple-to-use dashboards that allow for requests to made ahead of time. They can also alert managers ahead of time about clashes, and help them plan their headcount needs better at critical times.
HR management systems make life easier for all
Technology doesn’t just make life simpler for managers who need to ensure there is at least skeleton-level of cover over the holidays.
It also helps staff themselves manage their own work and personal lives better during these peak periods. For while there are plenty of staff in a rush to use up their holiday, many don’t manage to do it in time. Maybe they weren’t able to get their holiday in before someone else; maybe they thought they had less holiday left than they actually did – but whatever the reason, if staff are left having to work when everyone else isn’t, it breeds resentment.
Leave management technology gives staff a visual indication of precisely how much holiday they have, so they can plan their relaxation time better.
Technology can prevent staff from getting to a point in the year where they’ve left it too late to take what is rightfully owed to them. With research suggesting that only half of employees actually take all their annual leave allowance (with the average employee only taking 77% of his or her leave each year2), it means most staff are literally giving away around six days’ holiday a year. Give staff a system that shows them what they’ve taken, and what’s still left, and firms can avoid the disengagement that losing holiday creates.
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