I can hear the teeth grinding from here. What do I mean, talking about summertime employee vacations now? There’s still snow on the ground, for goodness sake. We just got through Valentine’s Day!
I hear you, I do. But you know I’m right.
Remember last year, when you waited until spring had sprung to even hand out vacation request forms? You got so overwhelmed by all the requests that come July, the entire staff in two departments was out for the same week. You do NOT want to go there again, do you?
So take a deep breath and look away from the snow on the ground — I want to make this easy for you.
So here are 5 simple steps to making employee vacation planning painless.
- Start early. By the time April rolls around, people have already started making plans for summer, and lots of those plans may involve non-refundable flights or big deposits.
- Get a good vacation calendar. Whether you go for a wall mounted one, or an electronic one online, having a clear, easy-to-use employee vacation calendar is mission-critical. There is no better way to see overlaps, business events, holidays and other important dates you need. (One gallery owner I know refused to use a calendar — until he accidentally scheduled two key people for vacation during the biggest local art festival of the year. Oops!)
- Make sure your employee vacation policy is:
- In writing
You do not want to start the summer with a lawsuit for discrimination, and an informal, ad hoc leave policy is an open invitation for that kind of problem.
- Set up an employee vacation request process. Personally, I like the kind of vacation request forms that have two parts: one for the request itself, and one for the approval. That way everyone knows, in writing, exactly what’s been asked for and authorized. But you could use an online form, a box with request slips, or whatever works for you. Just make sure it’s clear what employees (and managers) need to do.
- Establish deadlines for everyone. Deadlines for requests, and deadlines for approvals/denials. That way, no one is caught off guard or left waiting for the okay to begin planning their vacation.
Vacation time is good for employees and good for your company. And with some advance planning and a good employee vacation calendar, you can make it a painless process for everyone.