5 Biggest Mistakes Practice Owners & Managers Make In Handling Employees Over The Holidays

The holidays can be a fun and festive time in your practice, but they also bring a few HR headaches to watch out for.

Here are the most common mistakes to avoid this holiday season!

Mistake #1 – No Written Time Off Policy

Having written policy that provides the guidelines of how and when time off or paid time off (PTO) will be approved is the first step in preventing upsets with employees. Your practice should have a policy outlining scenarios for personal time off, when it will be approved and when it will be denied, and under what circumstances the company offers paid time off or paid holidays.

When a team member requests time off that is denied and takes it off anyway, the absence is considered job abandonment and can be treated as a voluntary termination.

Questions that should be answered in your time off policy are:

  • Are there limits to how many people can be out of the office at once?
  • How far in advance do employees need to request time off?
  • Are there certain processes you’ll use to approve vacation, especially if the number of employees wanting PTO during a certain time period exceeds the maximum number of employees that can be out of the office at once?
  • For how long can each employee be out on vacation at a time?

Mistake #2 – No Time Off Request Form

Standardizing the format used by employees for a time-off request makes it simple to approve and provides the owner or manager with all the information they need to make a decision that will benefit all involved. 

Mistake #3 – Not Putting A Deadline On Holiday Time Off Requests

On the 1st of the month, send out a memo to all employees, asking for all holiday time-off requests to be presented IN WRITING by a particular date.

This gives you enough notice to have a sit-down discussion with any members of the team whose request must be denied or revised. It also allows you as the practice owner or manager to predict the future workload over the busy holiday season!

Mistake #4 – (This Is A BIG One!) Failing To Show Compassion And Empathy When Disapproving Time Off Requests

Occasionally you have to tell an employee that their time-off request was denied. When this happens, the employee may become emotional, beg you to reconsider, or act unprofessional and disgruntled.

If left unaddressed, this upset may poison the employee’s relationship with the company, or lead to toxic behavior on the part of the employee.

Here are a few general guidelines that may help:

Listen before you decide you’re outraged.

Clamp down on those emotions and ask the person calmly to explain why they disagree with your decision. You may find extenuating circumstances that need to be taken into consideration.

In either case, becoming outraged at the employee’s unprofessionalism or behavior is often ineffectual and even a hindrance in resolving the matter.

While speaking sternly can be an effective tool of management, it loses its power when you lose control of your temper!

Acknowledge (make the employee feel heard and understood).

When we don’t feel heard or understood, we tend to repeat ourselves… sometimes in ever-increasing volume! Make sure you acknowledge what the employee says.

Note: An acknowledgement doesn’t have to mean that you agree – only that you heard them and understand where they are coming from. If you don’t understand, calmly ask questions until you do.

Mistake #5 – Failing To Be Diverse, Equal & Inclusive In Decision Making

As a practice owner or manager, it is important to remember that your employees can come from various backgrounds, and prescribe to different beliefs or self-identify differently than you. This opens the door to the possibility of poor manners when making HR decisions, especially around the holidays.

In Summary:

The holidays can be a joyful time of year for employer and employees alike when you use written policies as guideposts to keep everyone going in the same direction! 

If you feel you would benefit from a one on one consultation on any practice management questions or concerns, please fill out the form on this page and we would be more than willing to assist you.

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