For many employees, just mentioning ‘holidays’ conjures up the image of sun-kissed beaches; not so the beleaguered holiday manager struggling with an offline annual leave system and an avalanche of paperwork.
This can be particularly true for managers whose business has grown from a small business to a much larger enterprise.
Add to a burgeoning workforce the complexity of managing holidays for a variety of part-time, full-time, variable and zero hours contract staff and that once perfectly adequate system of paper holiday requests and a wall chart can suddenly seem more cumbersome than convenient.
Fortunately, there is a host of good annual leave software on the market that can reduce both stress and workload through automation.
However, before you take the leap make sure you have considered what you need it to do.
- Automatic calculation of holiday entitlement
Good annual leave software will not only calculate the correct holiday entitlement for full-time and part-time employees, it should also ensure the correct holiday accrual for variable hour / zero hour contract workers.
What is more, it should automatically pro-rata the holiday entitlement for new starters and flag up any untaken or excess holidays for staff that are leaving.
If you are also likely to need to change entitlement at any point, the ability to make ad-hoc adjustments can make life a lot easier.
- Changes to the holiday year
If you want flexibility when setting the holiday year, make sure your choice of holiday management software caters for this.
For example, you may need to run several different holiday years, or even set a different holiday year for every employee, based on their start date. Alternatively, you may have only one holiday year, but need the ability to change when it runs. Finally, you may also need flexibility to carry over holiday into the next year.
- Informed decision-making on holiday requests
One of the greatest ways in which annual leave software can benefit a business is in supporting managers to make informed decisions on when and whether to grant leave.
A system that not only flags up when other team members are on holiday, but also highlights other planned absences such as training days, can help managers to quickly establish whether accepting requests will result in short-staffing at critical times.
Even when requests are accepted, it is easy for the busy manager to forget when holidays are pending. As such, it is worth looking for software with a reporting tool that will notify managers of upcoming leave.
For businesses that experience peak production or sales periods, a facility for managers to mark ‘no leave’ periods on an online calendar can also prove useful at minimising requests that are almost certain to be declined.
- Employee self-service for holiday requests
By finding annual leave software with self-service functionality, the holiday manager can transfer a lot of the holiday booking admin over to the employees.
Give staff access to a shared online calendar and they can more easily make requests that avoid holiday booking clashes. Their manager can then approve or decline via the system, all at the click of a button.
- Holiday bookings on the go
In some cases, holiday management software also offers self-service via an app that is specifically designed to allow staff to make holiday requests via a mobile device, such as a mobile phone or iPad.
The ability to check holiday entitlement, view a shared holiday calendar and request holidays using a handheld device can not only be invaluable for remote and mobile workers, but for all staff outside of working hours or away from the office.
Similarly, managers who can use an app to approve or reject holiday requests on-the-fly can respond much more quickly than having to wait until they are back in the office.
- Management of Time Off in Lieu
If you use TOIL in your business then you might also want to consider finding annual leave software that allows you to record and track this.
Self-service functionality will again allow you to streamline the request process, with the manager able to process requests and record TOIL all within the system.
Which holiday management software is best for you?
Once you have decided what you want your annual leave software to do, take a look at a number of providers, including us of course! Myhrtoolkit offers free demonstrations and trials so you can be 100% sure before committing that our holiday management software meets your needs. Just call us on 0845 225 0414.