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How to manage staff leave effectively

22 June 2023 4 min read

Managing holiday requests banner

Employees taking a day off is not something new. But despite that, many organisations around the world still struggle to manage staff leave effectively. Many use spreadsheets and manual processes, when it could be so much simpler.

Managing employee holiday booking shouldn’t be a struggle, and with our staff holiday planner it isn’t. However, managing annual leave is more than having an automated system in place – it starts with your policy, workplace culture and processes.

In this article, we explore how you can manage staff holiday requests better, what line managers can do, as well as the most important part – having a holiday request policy and what you should put in it.

A holiday request policy is vital

The first area you need to look at is a holiday request policy. No matter what you are using to book and track staff leave, you need a holiday request policy. This can just be part of your main annual leave policy, but within this, you need to include a few key points around employee’s booking holidays in advance.

Holiday notice period: This is probably the most important bit – set a guideline out around the time between requesting a holiday and physically taking it. Most organisations set a rule that holidays must be requested 2-4 weeks in advance, however, it can be as simple as; “Employees must request annual leave a minimum of 7 days in advance”.

Maximum days off allowed at once: This is completely dependent on whether allowing employees to take weeks off at a time will cause you issues. For small businesses, you will probably need to add this to your policy, for larger businesses, you may be able to cope with longer instances of employee absence.

Approvers: You need to set who the holiday approver is. This will tend to be a line manager but if they aren’t in, you need to ensure that when the employee is requesting a day off, they know who to go to.

Improving employees’ leave experience

For employees at organisations that still use manual processes to book holidays, and for managers that have to approve those leave requests, the employee experience is likely not going to be at its best.

How many people need to approve those holiday requests, and how many emails does it take before that happens? How many paper holiday forms or emails get lost, and what happens if someone neglects to update the team’s holiday spreadsheet or calendar?

All of this can lead to frustration and disappointment for employees trying to book holiday, as well as an unnecessary admin burden on managers.

Considering how you can streamline your approach to leave management, and which processes can be made faster or cut out completely, will empower your people managers to be able to manage their resources more effectively, avoid clashes in leave between teams, and provide a better employee experience for your staff.

Managing staff leave with edays

Having a staff holiday booking system like edays in place will undoubtedly help towards improving efficiency at your workplace.

Employees are able to request leave from their desktop or via our mobile app. Their line manager will be alerted to the request, and can then check to see who else is off at the same time using our group calendars, and approve or deny the request with ease.

Custom leave types can also be created. Whether you offer additional leave in the form of mental health, volunteering, training days or birthdays off, these can all be logged and easily identified alongside other types of leave such as sick leave, maternity leave, parental leave, compassionate leave and many more.

Through our automated system, line managers are able to keep an eye on how much leave employees are using from their allowance. If someone hasn’t taken a day off in three months, perhaps a check-in with that individual is necessary to make sure they’re coping with their workload and taking the rest they need.

Staff leave usage can be viewed on an individual, team, department or company-wide level – so you can easily see who is using their leave evenly throughout the year and who still has a large chunk of theirs left. Delving into your people data in this way could shed light on resourcing and productivity issues within your workplace, and proactive steps can be taken to address them.

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Katrina Bennett People Director at edays
June 22, 2023

Katrina is edays' own People Director with significant UK and international experience in delivering people strategy and value-adding HR solutions across a range of organisations and sectors (including Arriva, Boots, Rolls Royce, the utility and charity sectors). Katrina has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources and is CIPD qualified.