Setting Up an Effective
Leave Management Process

A day before the deadline. A customer’s representative noticed a bug in the program and reported it, but no one can correct it: Matt is enjoying his annual vacation, Ashley is out of the office for her studies, and Chris has just called in sick – who could even predict this? The threat of a missed deadline is hanging over the project, and it won’t leave the relationship with this customer unaffected.

A leave management disaster like that inevitably wreaks havoc on a team and its work results. If you notice that your leave management system doesn’t cover all cases of absences and allows workforce shortages, it’s time to modify it.

Automate as much as possible

Automation not only saves time – it also eliminates human errors in calculation processes. However, it’s easier said than done: custom configurations of leave policies and absence management regulations make automation process hard and time-consuming.

For example, different categories of employees usually have different leave balance accrual rules. Part-time employees or interns usually have personal leave accrual rules, so applying general regulations to everyone just doesn’t work. Make sure your absence management system allows to set up and apply custom rules for individual cases, and configure different accrual mechanisms for different employee categories.

Make the process visual

Visual component is the dominant part of our perception. That’s why visual work tools ensure a faster and easier process. As for the leave management, an ability to quickly review the schedule of the upcoming absences on the team is a time-saver for both managers and regular employees. The easiest way is to review the absence schedule on a calendar, where all the upcoming leaves on the team are clearly visible.

Visual representation is essential for planning upcoming leaves, but it is also important for analyzing the past leave data. A general view of the team members’ absences for any period in the past, combined with all necessary details, allows managers to observe absence trends and detect possible issues. The ability to switch to individual users’ leave schedules and balance changes is also a helpful feature that ensures detailed management of absences and possible related issues.

Streamline leave requesting and approval process

Another feature that makes leave management process effective is a straightforward request and approval process. While paperwork is still required at some workplaces, today’s trend is reducing manual work required for requesting a leave, considering the request, and making the decision whether the request should be approved or rejected.

Special software solutions make this process simple and take effort out of it. What’s more, automated process saves valuable time for managers and regular employees. It also allows to keep all relevant data in one place: dates, amounts of requested days, the effect on the leave balance, comments to an employee’s request and manager’s decision. This ensures transparency and traceability of all actions related to absence management.

Integrate absence management and work management

This aspect is important for ensuring the ability to efficiently manage work process. It makes work on specific projects and its results more predictable and manageable. Using leave data in a work management system allows managers to see whether the remaining team resources are sufficient, and efficiently plan absences and workloads for future periods.

Integrated absence and work management provide team and project managers with a big picture of resources available for any period and workloads that need to be taken on. This way, leave management process, integrated into project management, helps find optimum ways to distribute workloads, configure workflows, and ensure project delivery within the estimated timeline.

Keep and use previous absence data

Keeping a history of leave data allows to reveal trends and make attendance management more predictable. This is indispensable for efficiently managing work process, distributing workloads, and forecast work scopes that the team is able to perform. It’s also an efficient way to reveal trends related to unscheduled absences, defeat both absenteeism and presenteeism, make them more predictable, and plan work accordingly.

What’s also important about keeping history of leaves taken and balances accrued is the ability to use this data in case of a workplace conflict. Detailed logs of leave balance changes with comments clarifying them helps make communication around leave entitlement more transparent and clear for all the involved parties.

Final thoughts

Predictability is key for an effective leave management process. While it’s hardly possible to forecast and plan for all absences in advance, setting up and maintaining a flexible and efficient system is an important step towards a hassle-free and reliable process. Use special tools that automate leave management on your team, are fit for your specific use cases, save your and your team members’ time, and provide you with a bigger picture to make well-informed decisions.

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