Approaching Holidays

“How do I make sure I have enough employees working over the holidays?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Holidays really need a company policy. Although you are not required to provide any paid holidays or to pay employees if you close, you should have a policy stating that. If you do pay at least some employees or need specific advance notice of requests for time off, a policy becomes even more important. Basically, a policy makes it easier for employees to plan and for you to adhere to your policy.

It’s already past the time to start scheduling to ensure you have sufficient coverage over the approaching holidays, so get moving. Calculating how many and which employees will be needed to provide an uninterrupted business workflow can require some careful thought.

When choosing the employees you’ll need for coverage, you may discover a few you really need simply because you don’t have any or enough others who know that job. In the future, consider cross-training so the same employees don’t feel “punished” by working when others take time off… and you aren’t trapped if they can’t work for some reason.

Make sure your decisions are based on non-discriminatory reasons. You could ask for volunteers, accept requests based on seniority, or approve requests in the order of receipt. If you need employees to work the week of a holiday, perhaps they can alternate with those who had time off around another holiday. For example, they have time off either at Thanksgiving or Christmas but not both.

Make sure you aren’t giving holiday time off only to those with families. Most singles make plans with extended families or friends and will feel it’s unfair if they are always chosen to work. Don’t have the same employees get the same holidays off so others don’t have a chance for that specific time off. Don’t forget to have a backup plan in place in case someone is sick and can’t work.

Travel plans are often set at least three months in advance so consider a time off request deadline to match. It can take a bit of experimentation and maneuvering to find what works best for you and your employees. The worst scenario is denying time off to employees who end up spending the time twiddling their thumbs instead of being off with their families. Consider what you need to do for these upcoming holidays… then immediately start working on an even better plan for next year.

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