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4 Challenges of Leave Management

Team Kissflow

Updated on 24 Apr 2024 4 min read

What makes your HR staff frustrated to the point where they just want to quit the job, fly to a faraway country, and never, ever return? You can take your pick, but your organization’s frozen-in-time approach to leave management process might just take the cake!

Outdated tools and manual errors plague administrative tasks like payroll and leave management with inaccurate data. Nothing gets under an employee’s skin faster—and deeper—than something messing up their leave balances. All this chaos and heightened sensitivity make for nightmarish leave management process and timesheet situations that keep HR phones ringing through the night.

What is leave management?

Leave management, also called time-off management, is the set of processes that controls the application, approval and tracking of employee leave in an organization. Tasks include routing the application through multiple decision-makers, notifying payroll, and communicating with employee attendance records and organizational time-off or leave policies.

4 leave management scenarios that you wouldn’t wish on your enemy

Just the thought of balancing business obligations while keeping employees happy strikes fear in an HR exec’s heart. Is leave management without proper technology really as gruesome as it sounds, or is this just plain exaggeration? Here are four leave management scenarios that you wouldn’t wish on your enemy.

1. “When are you off, again?”

Say your team finally acquired a hotshot project to work on, and you’re the project manager. But the deadline is quick and tight, and every minute will count. This is it–your chance to prove your potential, and climb the corporate ladder to career success and eternal glory. You’ve super excited and more prepared than ever to embark on this challenge. What could go wrong?

On the big day, you waltz up to the office floor with infectious happiness and confidence, only to receive some devastating news.

Two of your star players—your productive superheroes—are out of town, on a long but well-deserved vacation. You scour through your sent mail to find two leave approval emails, and get downright depressed. Your poor time-off management practice has all but bolted the doors to your promising career progression.

2. “Sure, you can take leave. And you. And you. And you…”

Email and excel sheets are the lifeblood of your leave management process. All time-off requests are initiated by your employees through an email. But if you’re one of those managers who checks your inbox sparingly, there’s a high chance you missed the memo. So, your employee follows up, either personally or through mail, to get your attention.

Now that the vacation request has your undivided attention, you start evaluating it. You scurry through large excel sheets to figure out the availability of other members of your team, the time-off balance of this employee, and determine whether you’ll accept the request.

However, you also notice another pending request in your email from a different person for the same days. How do you go about evaluating same-day time-off requests from two employees?

On what grounds will you compare these time-off requests, when you can honour only one? You need information about their leave history. Trying to extract them from emails and excel sheets is futile. Drawing up a conclusion from inaccurate dates, or banking on your intuition, is a huge gamble. Will you refuse a valid time-off request and risk triggering legal complications?

3. “Why is my leave balance zero?”

After navigating your way through the maze of online forms, sheets, and paperwork, you accept an employee’s vacation request. You update your sheets, bringing this person’s balance down to one day left. But, the employee is only informed of the approval—he is kept in the dark about the dissolving leave balance.

Two weeks later, he comes up to ask for three days off to attend an out-of-town family wedding (for which he’s already bought non-refundable tickets, of course).

How do you handle this one? Who’s to blame for the disconnect? There’s bound to be a blame game. They might blame themselves for not tracking their leaves diligently. You deserve a part of the blame for not keeping them informed. But it’s highly unlikely that your employees remain calm and collected in this instance.

4. “Hey, I never took off that day!”

Let’s assume that your employee had to take an unplanned day off due to health issues. She was not in good enough shape to draft an email. So, she asks her husband to make a quick phone call. You said it was fine, but didn’t document it in your ever-loyal Excel sheets. What sort of complications can this cause?

Or, say you grant a leave request over the phone, and document it in your spreadsheet. Several weeks later, during an audit of leave days, your team member disputes being absent on that day, or says they requested the day, but ended up coming in any way.

Without clean documentation, how can you handle these situations? No matter how small the financial liability, improper documentation will always impact your organization’s bottom-line.

Leave management automation software: A one-stop-solution!

These instances are just the tip of the worst-case leave management scenarios iceberg. A competent leave management software that gives you a complete picture of your employee leave information might have prevented such disasters. If only you had clear visibility of essential information like employee leave history, balance, policy and department leave calendar, the leave approval process won’t be such a hassle.

A robust leave management system will give employees a clear picture of the leave policies, their past leave requests, leave approval workflow, current leave balance, and the team’s time-off calendar. These tools will keep your them in the loop, prevent out-of-the-blue shocks, and help them plan their leaves efficiently. In addition to making the lives of your employees easy, a good time-off manager must also meet the needs of your organization’s policy.

You don’t need an HRMS (Human Resource Management System) Software to solve your leave management problems—a simple business process automation tool can alleviate all your concerns. Choose a cloud platform like Kissflow HR Cloud, which streamlines your leave management process by automating and lets you access the portal at any time, while integrating seamlessly with the HR applications you currently use!

To understand the impact of automation on your leave management process, sign-up for Kissflow HR Cloud for free demo today! Sign up now and prevent awful HR nightmares!

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