Annual leave can be a tricky subject for business managers and HR. When employees take annual leave it can leave the business understaffed if they are unprepared... Understanding how best to deal with annual leave and annual leave requests can ensure the business runs smoothly. 

Here are four tips on how to plan annual leave for your team:

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Bring in temporary workers
  3. Provide training
  4. Work with a recruitment agency 

Ensuring you have a solid plan will build confidence within your team that their work will be appropriately looked after in their absence, and will also build your own confidence when it comes to taking annual leave yourself. 

1. plan ahead

Ensure that your company has an annual leave (AL) policy that all employees are aware of. This policy should explain how much notice an employee needs to provide, how to request annual leave, how many consecutive days can be taken, and how many members in a team can be off work at once. This will ensure that all holiday requests are received in the same format and will ensure you are given the appropriate time to organise cover. 

If more than the allowed number of employees request the same time period off work, it is best practice to implement first-come-first-served prioritisation technique. This will also encourage employees to submit AL requests earlier which will once again allow you more time to organise cover. 

This is particularly helpful if your business does not close over the festive period. Or you can offer your employees a choice between working certain parts of Christmas. Such as, working Christmas eve, and having new years off and visa-versa to evenly distribute your staff. 

Familiarise yourself with public holidays, festival periods, and school holidays to remind your staff to book off in advance and to create contingency plans if needed. 

2. bring in temps

Temporary workers are a good option to fill employee gaps, especially over key periods in the year such as the festive period and school summer holidays. You can hire temporary workers for varying lengths of times from a couple of hours of coverage to months. Furthermore, there are also temp workers you can hire with no defined end date, which can be helpful to cover sick leave. 

Most temporary workers are available for immediate or short notice starts which is highly beneficial for unexpected circumstances. Furthermore, if you are aware of busy periods throughout the year, temp workers are great to bring in to ease the pressure. 

3. provide training

To guarantee a smooth transition when an employee is on AL, provide training to the rest of the team, or one designated employee so said individual’s responsibilities are still appropriately looked after even in their absence. Ensuring all team members understand the basics of everyone’s day-to-day roles can help reduce the risk of mistakes and increase confidence within the team. 

If a specialist employee or an employee that has a niche job role is requesting AL, ensure that they have created an in-depth handover and have explained and trained a couple of people on tasks that need to be completed whilst their away. Moreover, if possible encourage the employee to complete any task that needs to be finished whilst they are away to avoid discrepancies in the work. 

4. work with a recruitment agency

Having a relationship with a recruitment agency such as Randstad will give you a go-to person to speak to whether you need last-minute cover, skilled temps or even on-going cover. A specialist recruitment agency can help you put together a plan of how to best tackle your organisation's busiest and most crucial periods, by ensuring access to a range of appropriately skilled candidates across the country, that are ready to work at the drop of a hat, ensuring that you never fall short.