Most of the time employers look for employees that will work hard every single day. Sometimes hard workers are difficult to come by, so when you do find valuable employees, you need to take care of them. A strange and often undiscussed aspect of employee management is making sure workers are taking adequate time off for vacations.
Telling your employees not to work might sound counterproductive at first. In reality, regular vacations can do wonders for employee morale and health. Life isn’t all about working, nor should it be. By encouraging your team members to take time off you’re helping them get needed rest, time with family, and lifelong memories to look back on.
Part of your responsibility is to cultivate a culture and environment that allows workers to take vacations without being punished for it. The following are examples of policies and tactics you can put into place to make sure your team gets their proper vacation time:
Implement Vacation Policies
One of the surest ways to make sure your team is using their vacation time is by implementing specific vacation policies. These policies will be a condition of employment and must be followed.
Let’s say your employees accrue roughly 10 days of vacation time per year. This is roughly the average time granted to full-time employees with minimal experience at a company. A policy that you choose to implement may revolve around vacation time accrual and rollover. Perhaps an employee can only hold up to 15 days of vacation time, which encourages them to use some of it up before they’re topped off.
For particularly stubborn employees, you can select days for them to take off when they’ve hit a certain amount of hours accrued. If their day off is in the schedule, it will be a lot harder for them to dispute the time. Restrictions on overtime hours can also be of help. At the very least make sure your federal holidays are acknowledged and plan around these days for additional company days. This allows your employees to have longer breaks and it not hurt productivity as much since others outside the company are also on vacations.
Communicate Mandatory Event Details
Knowing the days that are available for booking vacations will help your employees know when to pull the trigger. You need to communicate any mandatory company events well-beforehand to make this possible. Getting a late notice about a company-wide mandatory meeting will strongly discourage employees from booking their vacations.
Your annual meetings at the turn of the calendar should address any meetings that will be mandatory for all employees. Even if it’s only a single meeting that you will make universally required, you should try and set the date as early as possible. Even providing a range of dates will allow employees to plan for time off around the proposed meeting without any issues.
Encourage Department Collaboration
Communication and collaboration need to be just as strong on a departmental level. While you are encouraging employees to take time off, you need to acknowledge that in most circumstances they will need a temporary stand-in. Coordination is required to make sure that too many workers aren’t absent from the same department simultaneously.
An easy rule to establish is that vacation time must be requested at least two weeks in advance. If certain days have already been claimed, no one else can take vacation time on those days. Two weeks should be plenty of time to make adequate arrangements. Besides, many vacations can be planned even further in advance to iron out all the details.
The exact guidelines you put into place will greatly depend on your organization. A marketing company might not need others to cover shifts and therefore can be more lenient when granting vacation time. All businesses might make adjustments to their policies during the holidays when everyone wants to plan trips and time off. Do what’s best for your team specifically.
Check Vacation Calendars Regularly
As a manager, you will have access to the work calendars of each member of your team. You will also have access to their vacation calendar, or lack of one. If you notice that one of your employees never takes time off, you can approach them to work out a plan.
Talk with your employee and discuss the reasons why they don’t take vacation time. Maybe they’re overly concerned about job security or really want to get a promotion. This opens up doors for mentorship and guidance as well as assurance that all will be well even if they take some extra time off.
When workers return from their vacations, welcome them with open arms. Ask about their travels and maybe even request to see the pictures they took. Then, do what you can to help them hit the ground running upon their return. Employees will feel invigorated after trips and not guilty about taking them in the first place.
Everyone loves a good vacation and your hard-working employees certainly are deserving. Enabling them to take good vacations will improve their morale, work-life balance, and satisfaction with your company. All of this adds up to an improved workforce. What employer doesn’t want that?
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