Preparing for Employee Absences during Summer
A few weeks ago we ran an article extolling vacations for small business owners. You need one to relax, regroup, and avoid burnout. The same applies to your employees; and if they haven’t already taken one, many are probably planning their vacations right now.This can be stressful if you don’t prepare for employee absences beforehand. The good news is, if you take some of following precautions you’ll strengthen your business and improve staff morale.
Schedule vacation time
First thing’s first. You have to get out the calendar and schedule employee vacations. Some of you may have been hoping that no one would want to leave, but ignoring the potential absences won’t help you prepare for them. See if you can encourage employees to take vacations at different times. And if they haven’t yet decided when they’ll be gone, ask them to decide quickly so that you can put it on the calendar and begin making preparations.
Create instructional documents
Often the most difficult thing about employee absences is that some staff members are the only ones responsible for certain tasks and processes. When this is the case, just one person’s absence can make it difficult for the business to function seamlessly. To safeguard against this, have all your employees create instructional documents that explain, step by step, how they accomplish each of their responsibilities. Ask them to include the contact information of vendors or other professionals involved in the process. These documents will help tremendously when employees are vacationing, sick, or out on emergency. They will also be a great reference when cross-training current employees or training new employees.
Cross-train your employees
This is another way all employees can be prepared to function in another’s absence. Take the time to cross-train your employees so that they can all become familiar with crucial duties and responsibilities. This will not only prepare for employee absences, but strengthen your staff.
Take the time to motivate staff
Summer can be slow and sluggish. This is a good time to motivate your staff in creative and interesting ways. Consider sponsoring an office party, dress-down Fridays, or a non-threatening office competition. This can lighten the mood and encourage teamwork. Come back next week when we’ll discuss more ways to motivate and inspire your staff.
Ensure that employees don’t become overburdened in another’s absence
As an employee takes responsibility for an absent coworker’s tasks you need to watch and ensure they don’t become overburdened. Practice good communication and let the employee know they should inform you when they feel begin to feel overwhelmed. This not only prevents poor performance, but it can build morale as you employees sense your genuine concern for their wellbeing.
Bring in temporary employees
When you run a small business, loosing one employee for a short period could equate to loosing half or all your staff for a significant amount of work time. Evaluate your situation to see if you need to bring in temporary help to fill the gaps while employees are gone.
Reward employees for their work
As you require more from your staff you should reward their efforts in order to encourage the improved work environment. Employees who feel recognized for their efforts also feel loyalty for their employer and increased morale.Preparing for the summer season can help you maintain productivity during employee absences and increase the efficiency of your business overall. It can also remind your employees how much you appreciate the work they do and the contribution they make to your business. So encourage your employees to take a vacation; it just may strengthen your accounting practice in the end.