Are HR and Leadership Teams Prepared for Summertime?
Let’s avoid the business heat this summer by considering how each of the workforce management areas below impacts your organization and whether or not action is required to alleviate future problems.
The goal here is to provide a checklist that human resources professionals and managers can use to prepare for the summer season that’s filled with vacations and time off.
What needs to get done before going on vacation?
For all but the thrill seekers and masochists among us, vacation should be a relaxing time away from the hustle and bustle of work. If adequate steps are not taken by leadership in the organization to prepare for the busy season of PTO and time off, the risk of returning to chaos could create more stress for the organization or individual than before they left.
Ensure the right people in your organization understand how to administer employee requests for PTO and time off so they can help safeguard against inadequate staffing levels. Consider the possibility of unexpected bereavement, sick time, or FMLA gaps. Is there a plan in place for who can manage these spontaneous occurrences even when HR or other leaders are out of office?
Know your population.
Many establishments have different summer work hours than other times of the year, flexible hot weather dress codes, and workloads that flux seasonally. Hopefully, adjustments to work schedules and dress codes can simply be communicated through internal communication channels or by posting notices in communal areas like breakrooms.
The more complex issues for HR and leadership are found in balancing work loads and ensuring that productivity does not fall off during this time of year. The value of being prepared in order to not fall short on this mission critical goal should not be undervalued.
Who can work remotely, and who can’t?
According to Inc.com (2018), 62% of all US employees now work remotely at some points during the year. This is a radical shift from just two years ago when this number was less than 50%. The future of work is becoming more about what an employee does than where they do it. When is the last time your organization reevaluated the remote work policy?
Review historical metrics.
Reviewing historical metrics such as previous years of employee time off patterns as well as past and present absentee trends can help in strategically planning for gaps left in the workforce during the summer months. Of course, for around the same price as an applicant tracking system, an organization could have an easy to use cloud-based HR dashboard that can visualize metrics from multiple sources at the same time (even old spreadsheets).
What are some of the common problems organizations face leading up to and during the summer season?
Ask yourself if there are clearly defined and well understood plans in place for the following items.
Too often during summertime, the following to-dos don’t get done right:
- Recruiting, Interviewing, Hiring & Onboarding
- Daily or weekly managerial tasks
- Employee oversight for each department in the organization
- Internal training, coaching or completing disciplinary actions, and professional development
- Necessary goods and services will need to be secured by an authorized purchaser
- Terminations will still need to be carried out by employees of an appropriate level while following organizational guidelines and best practices
The Importance of Vacation and Time Off (Plus one Pitfall to be Wary of)
Finally, let’s take a look at why vacation time is so important to an organization’s workforce, its overall health, and what to do when negative trends reveal themselves.
According to a recent SHRM study on vacation, time off, and its impact on the workforce; HR experts report higher employee performance, productivity, increases in organizational morale, and that the time off contributes to overall employee wellness. All of those factors ultimately result in increased retention rates and a healthy workforce.
With those factors in mind, it makes sense to keep a record of how many vacation days employees are taking advantage of. Based on the afore mentioned SHRM study, 80% of employees surveyed reported that they would be more likely to use their paid time off if their bosses encouraged them to do so. Whether you use a spreadsheet or a talent management suite with the capability to track paid time off, it’s important to take a close look at those metrics. Once you’ve gathered the historical data, one of the first strategic questions to ask is, are there any trends among the employees who are not using their vacation days?
If the answer is yes and there is a pattern, there is an even tougher question to address. Could it be possible that employees do not feel comfortable scheduling and requesting time off? If there is a stigma for taking paid time off, there must be a reason why. When surveyed by SHRM, executives attributed these organizational issues to a lack of employee data and the absence of software solutions, such as those used to track employee time, wage information, absenteeism, and leave management. When there is no clear plan in place, fear creates panic and destructive stigmas that seep down through the workforce.
If your organization is facing this problem or any of the other common issues mentioned above, it’s important to critically evaluate how clear the plans in place are for sustaining business goals and growth across the organization during the vacation and time off season.
Sometimes just knowing and admitting there are issues to be dealt with can set your human resources department on the right path to course correct with some hard work and strategic planning, but the quickest way to solve a plethora of workforce problems including the ones mentioned in this checklist is to test drive the top people analytics software on the market to see how an AI driven solution can help with exposing organizational weaknesses and support administrative decision making to keep your workforce healthy all year long.
Check out the webinar entitled Summertime People Analytics Checklist for even more ways to ensure your organization has a profitable and low stress summertime season.
Summer Checklist for People Analytics
Get HR and Leadership Prepared for Summertime
☐ Ensure the right people know how to administer and approve PTO and time off
☐ Have a plan in place for unexpected bereavement, sick time, or FMLA leave
☐ Confirm employees understand summertime schedule, dress code, and alternate schedule (if applicable)
☐ Who can work remotely, and who can’t?
☐ Review historical employee time off records
☐ Review absentee trends
When HR or Leadership is Out of Office, Who Will do the Following?
☐ Recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding
☐ Daily or weekly managerial tasks
☐ Internal training, coaching, and professional development
☐ Disciplinary Actions and terminations