Everyone wants a holiday, and usually at the same time. And whose job is it to make sure they get it, that the company is aware and that the logistics are managed? Usually, whoever can be roped in. Because this isn’t an easy job to carry out. Multiple types of leaves, multiple regions and departments, happening concurrently, and throughout 2020, the added pressure of managing furloughed, remote-working, and ill employees. If you’re running a small business, how do you alone manage holiday organisation between different people, working on the same projects and clients, but in different homes, some of whom may be legally owed time off and some of whom may be taking extra paid holiday?
And the problem isn't limited to just small business, even large companies of hundreds of employees are being affected. Effective absence management is a necessary component of effective resource management, and mismanaged resource resulting from mismanaged leave. And it can easily result in extra cost of headcount. Even before that, inefficient absence management creates friction and tension within an organisation, and within the employee-manager dynamic.
Incredibly, absence management has been left in the dark for too long. Too many companies begin with the mindset that since vacation days are such an attractive part of any compensation package, that they can count on the employees themselves to manage leaves to the maximum capability. And once it starts this way, too few companies stop, take stock, and revamp their absence management processes. So they leave what employees cite as their second most valuable piece of company compensation, completely up to an ad hoc process.
And yet, imagine a company that prioritises absence management they way they do payroll management; it’s hard to imagine isn’t it? The simple fact is this, time is money, and the time that your employees spend on paid holiday is money paid out by your company. And that money should be managed and monitored with the same rigorous as any fiscal planning in the organisation.
Because the fact is, making absence management efficient is not so hard when you pay attention to the people, and thoroughly mine the data. There are enormous resources out there for those willing to pay attention and invest upfront for a seamless and capable system; this article from the CIPD alone provides in detail the management of short and long term leave with 9 clear points of what policies need to contain. And if it’s a component of the absence management policy, it needs to be measureable with the absence management software
So if we know that leaves are an essential component of our human resource cost, if we know that they are one of the most attractive perks required in the modern employee pool, and that there are available resources to help guide the policy, then we are empowered to create a policy that propels our business’s cumulative happiness. The remaining task then, is implementing a system that allows us to carry out this policy consistently, across all markets, all teams and departments, and all possible conditions of ‘leave’. Such a system has to be able to provide:
- Multi-Region Setup - allowing your teams to manage leave regardless of location, an essential feature as remote working accelerates
- Various Access Level - so that one level of administrative access isn’t the only one able to input changes
- Multi-Language - To future-proof your company for international expansion and multicultural hiring
- Custom Leave Setup - Because you may have specific organisational needs
- User-level allowance policy - Leaves are a perk, and therefore, will differ from level to level and user to user
- Corporate Branding - As with anything else in your physical and virtual office, it should be easily identified as an element of your brand.
But even the most effective absence management software would require time, resource, and potentially even fiscal investment at the time of set-up. Getting together the team from IT, training everyone on how to use the new system, and, inevitably, going in to fix issues or provide help when people initially struggle to break old bad habits. So why should any company invest time and effort into bringing these changes into place?
Very simply put, the amount of time that’s saved with effective management can’t be overstated, and more than time, the increase in employee satisfaction can have measurable effect on turnover. Remember, the first and usually last port of call for employees who want to use a leave allowance, but do not have a system to request this, is their manager. Imagine repeated issues with leave allowance and management due to a disorganised or overworked manager; the employees can perceive an institutional reluctance to give the, their allowance, and it can sour the relationship between employee and manager. As per the total job 26% of the uk workers had looked for support for mental health issues and half of UK workers quit their job because of tension with their manager. And this tension ladders up through the organisation; ultimately causing much more damage and distress than a few hours of training upfront!
With so much evidence in its favour and so much assistance available, there is no reason not to implement a absence management policy right away. Working with a partner who understands your company’s needs, and makes themselves available during that initial training period can take away even the few speed bumps on your way to improving your entire HR, and increasing company happiness.
Fariya is the Content Marketing Consultant at Leave Monitor and has been supporting the marketing team with fresh ideas and plans.