– By Warren Cook, President & CEO
Your culture drives how employees view and understand your policies. Culture – the observable norms and behavioral practices of the organization – can easily mislead employees into thinking they control when they take time off from work. Over time, supervisors and management begin to feel challenged in figuring out how to get the work done since their staff continuously take time off when they need them most.
I encourage you to revisit your policies on time off and remember that the process should include a “request” from an employee and an “approval or denial” from the supervisor or management. To often power and control of the workforce resources shift when there is a lack of ownership and accountability in the supervisor to deny time off requests to appropriately manage the operations of the business. We are not suggesting you suddenly start denying your staff time off and ruin whatever work life balance you have created. We are not suggesting you develop discriminatory practices in denying certain requests and not others.
What we are suggesting is that you revisit the process of requesting time off, evaluate your resource needs, conduct strategic planning with your management team, and determine the most appropriate method to allocate time off for your workforce. I encourage you to not think in terms of “holidays” because of society, but rather focus on the needs of the business and designate the best times of year for staff to take time off, and other times when you might establish a blackout period due to the business needs. You can also establish rules related to the number of staff members in a particular position that can be out at the same time to ensure business continuity.
Caution here – there are certain time off requests you cannot deny, that will be connected to mandatory federal or state leave provisions such as sick leave, paternity or domestic violence leave, and for certain size organizations FMLA.
Manage your resources, do not let them manage you.