How do you handle a situation where a lot of key workers are simultaneously booking time off?

Overlapping time-off requests can spell trouble for your business operations if not handled properly. At worst, you could find yourself with overdue deadlines and client dissatisfaction. Continue reading to find out what veteran entrepreneurs recommend you do to head off employee scheduling conflicts.

Richard Lubicky

Richard Lubicky

Richard Lubicky, Founder and CEO of RealPeopleSearch.

Hire Reliable and Steady Part-Timers to Fill the Workloads

Handling multiple leave requests can be difficult, especially when there is a workload. The best plan that I can share is to have a few reliable and steady part-time workers to fill the gaps. The people going on leave should delegate their pending tasks to the part-time workers so that targets might not get affected. One more thing that HR managers can do to handle too many leave requests is to make a priority schedule based on a “first-come, first-served, and seniority” basis. In this way, you will have some time to manage resources and plan the workload accordingly.

My Takeaway Tip: You can ask workers to share their replacements so that the work would not suffer and time-off requests can be managed effectively.

Put in Place a Policy for Overlapping Time-Off Requests

As an entrepreneur, you need to understand that you will experience overlapping time-off requests, especially when holidays are approaching. If you allow it to happen, it may cause friction between you and the team members and eventually affect your customers. Therefore, ensure that you have policies in place to handle overlapping requests.

The policies you establish may differ from one business to another, but it is always good to ensure that you implement something good for your employees and business. For instance, you can make it around ‘first come, first served,’ the reason behind the request, employee flexibility, or managers’ discretion. Again, ensure that the employees know the criteria well in advance.

 Harriet Chan

Harriet Chan

Harriet Chan is the co-founder and marketing director at CocoFinder.
Bartek Boniecki

Bartek Boniecki

Bartek Boniecki is the Head of People at Passport Photo Online.

Send Advanced Requests to HR Team

Situations like that are incredibly challenging to handle. Ideally, you should focus on prevention and have an appropriate policy for taking days off – employees can submit their requests in advance so that your HR team has time to plan their absence properly. By doing so, it is possible to immediately react when noticing that several key employees have already taken days off simultaneously.

The team can negotiate the possibility of rescheduling their absence or suggest other solutions, such as working alternative hours or working remotely. However, if nothing can be done and the situation in which there will be no key employees at the same time is imminent – take care to carefully communicate core information to people who will perform their functions during their absence. Every access, detail, task – it all needs to be handed over to the deputies on time.

Deadlines and Effective Time-Off Policies

Besides the salary, employees carefully consider the benefits they will receive if they work for you. On top of the list is paid time off. If your company has restrictive policies regarding time off, you may encounter many problems that could potentially affect your chances of retaining or attracting talents. Here are some ways to handle simultaneous leave requests without derailing operations.

Have an effective policy for time off.
During the onboarding process, communicate time-off request policies. Include leave policies in the employee handbook; set ground rules and make them accessible for everyone. Inform everyone ahead of time of black-out schedules to give everyone the chance to adjust requests.

Set a deadline.
Create a timeframe for when requests for time off can be made. To manage simultaneous time-off requests, use the first-come, first-approved policy. Once approved, employees are informed of when to adjust their schedules and give you time to make arrangements to provide sufficient coverage.

Michelle Devani

Michelle Devani

Michelle Devani, Founder of lovedevani.

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