Tuesday, 19 July 2016

As the summer holidays start, is your leave planner up to scratch?

leave planner, staff holiday planner
As the little ones break up and staff with families are set to head for warmer climates, there's a lot of tension in the air.   Employers have probably noticed their staff eyeing currency movements with anxious eyes, keen to get the best deal as the pound bounces up and down in line with the latest dire post-brexit predictions.

You could be forgiven for thinking that fears about business performance and the need to make a profit have been replaced by bigger fears about economic concerns as the UK sits in a post-brexit shock.

That said, despite the extra concerns, the usual staff leave planning issues still exist for both businesses and staff.

Your staff will also still need to plan their holiday spending, make sure they have passports and visas, and make sure they pack enough sunscreen -a lesson one of our staff members learned the hard way earlier this year!  The world may be more uncertain, but the basics haven't changed.

It's the same for businesses - the issues that were affecting UK businesses before the brexit decision and recent terror attacks have not gone anywhere and UK businesses still need to tackle them, if anything the new period of economic uncertainty makes tackling them even more critical.

Having an adequate leave planner is still a massive issue for the UK, with even huge businesses relying on spreadsheets, wall planners and paper forms to manage annual leave.

This inevitably leads to staff holiday clashes, frustration, syintetressed co-workers and often a big agency bill to cover the leave.

The HR Manager overseeing the process often finds themselves asked to make judgement calls on who can take annual leave, when, often with the wisdom of solomon.  They can find themselves constantly interrupted with annual leave queries and berated by angry staff if they feel a decision is unfair.

It doesn't have to be like that.  Simply changing the staff holiday management process to one using the latest online technology saves businesses time and money, and staff are often enthusiastic about the technology because they can request leave anywhere, even at weekends, on their smartphones.

One leading provider, Activ Absence, also uses the same technology to manage sick leave, enabling managers to plan staff holiday, tackle absenteeism and improve staff engagement all at the same time with one handy online application.

Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director explained how it works:

“With our online system, staff see their own leave entitlement and can request leave in 2 clicks from any device, even a smartphone, and their line manager, who can see who else is off at that time in the email, approves or rejects an annual leave request in one click. Staff love it, and it's visibly fair.

"We use the same module to manage sickness absence, with a return to work process built in, and users have the option to add on an appraisals and training system, automated staff handbook and document management system.   Staff love how easy it is to use and managers enjoy the simplicity.

"Finance managers, on the other hand, are mostly impressed with the cost savings against a manual system, which are an unexpected side-benefit for most businesses."

Users of the system include one of the UK's largest travel businesses, creative teams, recruitment agencies, NHS teams, charities, schools, local councils, engineering companies and financial institutions.  Users seem full of praise:

“Activ Absence has transformed the way we manage holiday & sickness absence.  It has freed up my time dramatically and is a very welcome addition to our company."
Heather Turner, HR Manager, William Turner & Son

Lewis says the system will work for any organisation:
"We recommend the system for organisations with 40-4000 staff, although in practice we have organisations ranging from 3-5000 staff using the system, in over 30 countries worldwide, with different leave allowances calculated for each country."
In a post-brexit climate, fraught with economic concerns, whilst we are far from business as usual, Europe or not, there is never a bad time to look at improving business processes.

Staff holiday planning sounds a good place to start - why not start here?

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