5 Leave Management Tips for Line Managers
Equip Your Team to Manage Employee Absence More Effectively
Leave management. It’s part of the job for your organization’s line managers, but that doesn’t mean it’s an ‘everyday,’ easy-to-manage part of the job. Quite to the contrary, many line managers struggle with absence management processes and, in particular, how to best balance employee needs and business objectives. These five leave management tips for line managers can help:
- Use an absence management software to spot trends. When employees are out frequently, it’s important to engage them in private, one-on-one conversations to find out if there’s more on going on. In part, you need to validate the authenticity of the absence, especially when you’re dealing with sporadic unplanned absences of the Fridays-and-Mondays variety. But you also need to show compassion and understanding when there is a legitimate issue—especially when the employee could qualify for job-protected status under the Family and Medical Leave Act. That’s why it’s so important for organizations not to leave follow-up solely to the manager’s discretion. Having an automated employee absence tracker in place will help you spot trends immediately. A solution like our absence management software can be integrated with Time and Attendance, which allows employee absence data to be shown on the manager’s home screen for immediate access and convenient follow up.
- Be considerate of the need for extended leaves. In many cases, the right to an extended leave of absence is mandated by national and/or local laws—as well as your own organizational policies. Training managers in how to respond and demonstrate compassion is essential. Remember, too, that an employee’s impression of how accepting the organization is, regarding the need to take a legitimate leave of absence for medical or family responsibility reasons, rests largely on the manager’s response. A negative reaction can reflect poorly on the organization as a whole. In addition, you may even want to train your line managers to enter leave requests directly into your absence management software on the employee’s behalf, as a courtesy. This can be particularly helpful when the employee is not well enough to initiate the request in the system, or their attention is simply needed elsewhere due to the circumstances. Your human resources department can also initiate the request on the employee’s behalf, while still allowing the employee to access the case and add pertinent details, as well as required paperwork.
- Set realistic return to work schedules. One of the biggest points of tension exists around return to work schedules. Our solution includes comprehensive medical leave guidelines, so that HR can have an informed conversation with the employee about the length of leave and any accommodations that may be necessary upon return. The more you know in advance about what to expect, the better your team can prepare and make necessary adjustments. This also relieves your line managers of any pressure to accelerate the employee’s return to work, since realistic schedules can be established from the beginning.
- Plan for employee vacation well in advance. Another type of absence is vacation. While it doesn’t always involve finding coverage, it can. And the more your line managers know up front about who will be out, when, the better. Our job and vacation bidding solution allows you to run vacation bidding events once or twice a year, or as needed, so that employees can bid on vacation slots well in advance. This helps line managers prepare and ensure that productivity is not compromised, even during popular vacation times.
- Respond to PTO requests quickly. Finally, another way line managers can assist with leave management processes is simply to respond ‘asap’ when an employee requests time off. Our mobile workforce management capabilities allow managers to see an employee’s time-off balance from any web-enabled device—with no apps or plug-ins to maintain. So requests can be approved or denied with confidence, without lengthy wait times or the inconvenience of waiting for the manager to have a free moment at his or her desk. Simple things like timely vacation approvals really do impact employee satisfaction and engagement; giving managers the tools to manage these types of leaves more effectively is a win-win for everyone.
Together, these leave management tips for line managers can help to facilitate smoother and more positive employee-employer relationships, while also ensuring that productivity continues throughout short- and long-term leaves. If you have additional absence management tips for line mangers, take a moment to share them with our readers by leaving a comment below.