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How to Handle the Challenges of Holiday Staffing

11/05/2018

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless you’re a manager or business owner trying to figure out how to run your business with everyone asking for time off. 

The reality for many business leaders is that the holidays can often be the most stressful time of the year. Because the holidays are an important season for almost every employee, it can create many difficult challenges and conversations when it comes to staffing and approving time off.

3 Common Challenges of Holiday Staffing

While there are best practices for managing holiday vacations, it seems like business leaders face the same challenges every year. Today, we want to address the three most common holiday staffing challenges and what you can do to overcome them. 

Challenge #1: Everyone Wanting the Same Days Off

It’s common for employees to ask for several days off during the holidays. But, what if you need (at least a few) people to actually show up to keep the business running? The best way to overcome this challenge is to implement a consistent approach to ensure fairness.

One solution is to stagger your employee vacation scheduling. For instance, you can have someone work in the morning during the holidays and another worker takes the afternoon shift. If it’s not imperative for employees to be in the office, offer the idea of working from home. 

Whatever policy and process you enact, the most important thing is to make sure that is communicated and known.

Challenge #2: Employees Fighting over Holiday Dates

The best way to avoid conflicts over vacation is to get ahead of them by creating a policy that treats every employee fairly. One way to prevent employees from taking advantage of the system is to limit the amount of time off and approve the requested time off on a first come, first served basis.

You should also make sure your leave policy is clearly worded (so employees understand the calculations) and easy to access (so employees don’t feel like you’re hiding something).

Challenge #3: Pushback from an Employee When their Request is Denied

Dealing with an employee who is upset about not being able to take time off is not fun. If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is go back and remind them of the policies they agreed upon in the employee handbook

An alternative way to address this issue is to reward employees who work during peak times. For example, let’s say you have an employee who can work every weekend in December. Her reward could be first dibs on taking the first two weekends off in January or not assigning her with any closing shifts during those weekends.

Are You Prepared for Potential Holiday Staffing Challenges?

These are just a few ways you can prepare for the common challenges managers face during the holidays. If you’re nervous about handling time-off requests or concerned about potential staffing issues, our team at LBMC Employment Partners is here to help. We can help you discover a solution that’s best for your specific business. Connect with us today to start preparing for any potential holiday staffing challenges you might face. 

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