Tips For Handling Holiday Vacation Requests

’Tis the season for an influx of PTO requests. If you’re in charge of approving those requests for your team, you know how stressful it can be. You want to make your team members happy, but you may not be able to honor every request that comes across your desk. That’s why it’s important to know how to break bad news to your employees while still preserving the relationship.

Kimberly Franklin, a human resource advisor at Insperity, recommends leaders remember their business needs and follow their company’s written PTO policies. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we outline Franklin’s ideas for creatively handling vacation requests and her tips for denying requests when necessary.

Alternative Ideas When PTO Isn’t Possible

Whether it’s a particularly busy time, you have clients visiting or you’re simply understaffed, there are times when agreeing to PTO won’t work for your team. In those cases, Franklin recommends checking with another employee. Maybe someone else on your team can pick up the employee’s extra work. You could suggest the employee ask colleagues if someone could cover for them while they’re on vacation.

If another employee isn’t available, could you as the manager step in to help? This could be a way to give the employee their requested time off while not falling behind on work. Another idea is to ask the employee if they can be flexible with their vacation request. Maybe they can shift their request a day or two.

Franklin says another potential workaround is asking the employee to work remotely when your coverage is particularly light. This is a win-win solution since the employee doesn’t have to come to the office and you still have help when you need it.

How To Discuss Vacation Request Denials

You may not always be able to approve every vacation request. Chances are, many of your employees want some time off around the holidays. You may also be planning some time away. Unless your entire office shuts down, you need some coverage on your team. When you’ve explored some alternatives and you can’t agree to a vacation request, Franklin suggests approaching the discussion with the following tips in mind.

Meet in person. This might turn into a heated conversation, especially if the employee has already made travel plans. That’s why it’s best to meet face to face when possible, says Franklin.

Put yourself in their shoes. Maybe the employee booked a flight or promised their kids they were going somewhere for the holidays. When you deny their vacation request, the employee may feel a range of emotions, including anger and sadness. Franklin says it’s important to be compassionate and stay calm, even if the employee becomes emotional.

Try to diffuse the situation. The employee won’t be happy their vacation request is denied, so support them as best as you can. If they cry, offer a tissue. Let the employee say what they need to say as they process your decision, says Franklin. If the conversation becomes disruptive, consider allowing the employee to go home early that day, she adds.

Ideally, you would be able to give everyone their requested time off. This won’t always be possible, though. If you find yourself in a tight spot with vacation requests this holiday season, try some of the ideas above to make the best of the situation.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Kimberly Franklin is a human resource advisor at Insperity.

 

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