Whether you are part of the HR team for a large business, or the sole face of HR for a small firm, the a-z of managing time-off taken by employees, i.e. leave management, is a complicated, lengthy affair. For smaller businesses especially, there is often the added hassle of having to use a manual, non-centralized system, even if it is augmented with tools such as spreadsheets and macros to automate those sheets.
What does this mean for the HR personnel managing leaves? Is there really enough of a verifiable improvement to automating leave management that can justify discarding established practices? Let’s find out.
Understanding The Need For Automation Of Leave Management
Remember the manual or non-centralized leave management system referenced earlier? Here’s what that means for you, the HR:
It means that you are stuck collating leave applications from phone calls, Zoom calls, emails, text messages and IM apps like WhatsApp or Messenger onto a central location; following up with team managers for approvals and then collating that while also informing employees on the outcome. This doesn’t even factor in keeping track of leaves accrued by each individual employee and the back and forth involved with team leads in getting the necessary approvals – it’s all too much! How can you keep everyone up-to date at all times if you are doing this manually?
Another essential reason in favour of automation applies to those businesses who have employees spread globally – you need to ensure your business is adhering to the labor laws of the employees’ home countries. All those country-specific variances need to be calculated and associated with the right employees, manual management leaves a chance for human error which would have tough consequences.
The Benefits of a Dedicated Leave Management System
The case for automation is strong, but we understand that businesses need to see tangible benefits to adopting an entirely new process. Let’s speak in those terms.
The biggest benefit by far to any organization adopting a leave management system is the simplicity and ease-of-use. This applies to everyone from the employee to the team leads, admin and HR personnel accessing the system on the employer side.
For HR, it cuts down the inconvenience of keeping track of leave requests (especially, as mentioned above, they come from a variety of sources) and associated follow-ups. Employees and employers alike can keep track of an application in process and not have to wait for a timely response to their communique.
For managers and team leads, it cuts down the hassle of scrolling those massive spreadsheets looking for information on a specific employee’s leave entitlements. If they are using a modern, smarter HR platform like PeopleSonic , they will also have access to a centralized dashboard where they can easily see the status of every employee, summary reports and leave types accrued. This allows effective communication between employees and managers, and enables them to schedule workloads accordingly and prevents loss of productivity due to someone’s leave notification slipping through the cracks.
What does this all amount to? In a sentence: increased productivity. This happens in several ways. First, it frees up HR significantly by reducing the tedium associated with leave management. That time can be spent in pursuing holistic improvements to the company instead of being spent on admin tasks. Second, it gives managers a clear view on which team members are scheduled for leave and planning projects and work tasks accordingly, saving significant time costs. A major admin cost associated with manual leave management was the problem of planning around leaves that employees were entitled to in a way that did not impact productivity and waste resources. Leave management systems can make that a thing of the past.
Let’s say you’re convinced to make the jump, what leave management system do you choose? There are a few available in the market but every business’s needs may vary, so the platform needs to be customizable while also affordable – small businesses often can’t afford to splurge. Here are some of the things you should look out for to find the leave management system that is right for you.
What A Great Leave Management System Brings To The Table
As companies become increasingly global, there is a greater proportion of remote employees based in countries around the world, each with their own set of labor laws and even public holidays!
Any modern leave management system needs to be able to handle this variety, and in fact provide instant information to HR and management about a specific country’s specific leave types, rule-of-law requirements and any other legalities necessary to operate ethically.
This may seem like a small thing, but adherence to labor laws is the cornerstone of a good working relationship between employees and employers and needs to be catered to by your leave management system.
Real-Time, Anywhere Access
In the era of an always-online workforce, your leave management system needs to be on par with those technologies. That means a UI that is web and mobile friendly, real-time status of leave entitlements and applications in-progress, simplified request forms and approval steps and flexibility to modify relevant parameters (leave types, application rules and reporting hierarchy) as needed by the business.
Frankly, if a platform is limiting you on how you or your employees access it, that is not the HR platform for you.
Peace Of Mind
The primary goal of shifting to any smart, automated system is peace of mind. Once it is set up, you never want to have to consider any of the problems that existed before it. For a leave management system, that means it provides peace of mind to HR in the following ways: no more time wasted checking the public holiday calendar of a specific country, or tracking down managers regarding signing off on leaves, or having to search through complicated datasheets to calculate leave balances.
Peace of mind also means flexibility to adapt to any business’s evolving requirements and rules. The ability to have standard, pre-configured rules and regulations promises ease of implementation, the freedom to update or modify those rules per department or per team means that every employee and manager is happy to keep things operating to their own needs.
And finally, a great leave management system, as part of an effective HR platform, provides peace of mind by removing human errors (in calculations, reporting or planning) and leveraging the data-driven leave system (among others) to give the business greater power in making informed, strategic decisions.
In a year where a global pandemic has impacted every aspect of businesses, HR has not escaped unscathed but in fact have had to adapt the fastest to the slew of new issues faced by employees and coming up with helpful, impactful solutions. A modern, flexible leave management system that can encompass a change as drastic as that one could mean the difference between failing business and one where employees remain engaged and satisfied as we work together through these trying times.