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Aaron Rodriguez explains how businesses can best plan for employee vacations during the holidays

In smaller companies, agreeing on the days off for each employee can be easy, but when you reach a certain number of employees, balancing vacations can become a real Tetris-like game of strategy. Aaron Rodriguez, a specialist in business optimization, comes to help decipher that puzzle by explaining different plans for businesses to manage their employees’ vacations in the best possible way during these upcoming dates.

In companies, there is usually a certain system of priority or criteria by which some employees can ask for their vacations before others or, failing that, serve as a way for the company to make a decision in a conflict situation. These criteria can be based on different factors.

For example, many companies, in order to favor the family conciliation of their employees, will favor those employees with school-age children when requesting their days off so that they can accommodate them to school vacations.

Seniority in the company is also taken into consideration. Those workers who have been with the company the longest are the first to choose, a way of compensating employee loyalty.

“There are companies that also adopt the rotating system. One of the fairest systems, since employees will always have the opportunity to be the first to choose. Employees should know how this works so that they can adapt and organize themselves, thus avoiding misunderstandings and tense work environments later on,” Rodriguez explains.

It is of utmost importance to know what each agreement and contract establishes. Just as each agreement specifies the minimum vacation days of the employee, it can also specify, if necessary, dates on which an employee may not request vacation. Similarly, the company may establish a period of time in which, due to a high volume of work, all employees must be performing their duties, or on the contrary, due to the closure of the entire company, it is mandatory to take vacations on those dates. Whatever the situation, this information must be included in the contract, the employee must be aware of it, and of course, the HR manager must also be aware of it.

“No advice will be really useful if you don’t have the right tool to manage all the information,” Rodriguez asserts. “Many companies use complicated excel spreadsheets to plan their employees’ days off. At first glance, this may be a good idea, but in the long run, this is unsustainable.”

To begin with, the calendar has to be created from scratch to suit the company’s own needs, which is time-consuming and requires technical expertise that not everyone possesses. Then, this type of template can quickly become obsolete if they are not updated with a high frequency and if there is more than one, problems can easily arise.

The best way to optimize the absence management process is to have HR software that allows the automation of the leave request process for both the employee and the HR manager.

Currently, there is efficient software in which each employee can access his or her Employee Portal and easily and quickly select the vacation days or absences he or she wants from the calendar. Subsequently, his supervisor will receive the notice and will be able to accept or reject it at the moment by consulting the same calendar and the absences of his colleagues. Upon acceptance, an automatic update will be created in the company calendar so that everyone is informed and can adapt accordingly.

These programs are adapted according to the city in which each company’s headquarters is located, with local holidays updated each year, and allow the administrator to create a completely customized vacation policy. Also, as the software is synchronized with the employee’s labor information, it calculates the proportional vacation days available to each employee according to their type and date of the contract as well as the days off that have been accumulated from one year to another, as long as the company allows it.

“Using an online human resources program to manage your team’s vacations and absences is the best option to avoid mistakes such as forgetting to enter them in the right excel, not receiving the correct information on time, or losing all the information in an unfortunate accident,” concludes Rodriguez.

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