Some Reasons Why Managers Must Practice Astute Vacation Planning for Their Teams

Planned Vacations

Contemporary organizational theories talk about the need to reduce person dependence and ensure that the show goes on even in the absence of key resources. In this context, it is important for managers to actualize effective vacation planning as they deal with planned and unplanned vacations and time outs taken by their team members. What this means is that when employees go on vacation, the managers have to ensure that the work does not suffer and their teams do not delay the deliverables. In other words, managers have to plan for vacations that their employees take effectively and in accordance with organizational policies. For instance, many multinationals like Fidelity ask their employees to declare their planned vacations well in advance and the time of a quarter is usually the case where employees need to announce their planned vacations. This means that the team members must enter their planned vacations into the people management system or software at the beginning of each quarter so that managers can budget for the vacations keeping in mind the delivery dates and the project schedule. Indeed, this practice of asking the employees to declare their planned vacations well in advance leads to minimization of conflict between the team members’ vacations and results in a smooth functioning of the teams.

Unplanned Vacations

The previous section dealt with planned vacations. However, managers have to be ready for unplanned vacations as well that result from personal emergencies and sudden and unexpected events like the employee falling sick or meeting with an accident. The key aspect here is that planned vacations are easier to manage than unplanned vacations because the sudden absence of the employee leads to disruption in work schedules and affects the delivery of key deliverables. This is where the manager’s skills at people management, project management, and risk management are tested. This is because the manager has to convince other team members to finish the tasks that the absent employee was performing, budget fort disruptions in the project management plan, and actualize the risk management plan, which details the steps to be taken in such a scenario. Indeed, unplanned absences are potentially damaging to the prospects of organizations and especially so, when the absent employee was performing a critical or a crucial task. Therefore, person dependence must be kept a minimum and this is the requirement of all capability maturity models that certify process and organizational maturity.

Ways to Manage Absences

Having said that, it needs to be mentioned that both planned and unplanned vacations pose challenges to the managers as budgeting for conflicts in planned vacations and having to deal with emergency situations in case of unplanned leave of absence need astute project management skills. Therefore, it is better if the managers approve the planned vacations well in advance and convince the employees who want to go on vacation at the same time that another employee wants to do to alter the vacation plans so that there is minimal impact on project delivery. The best way to deal with unplanned vacations is to identify backup employees for each employee and once the employee is absent, a smooth transition to the backup employee(s) must be actualized. This process is followed in organizations like IBM where each employee has a backup employee to take care of the work in case of disruptions.

Concluding Thoughts

Further, the need for person independence is felt when such instances occur and this is the reason why organizations must not put all their eggs in one basket and promote key resources all the time. In other words, playing favorites by depending overtly on some employee and making them the stars with halos is okay as long as this employee(s) is present and is doing his or her work. When this key resource is absent, the team must not suffer and therefore, it is better if other team members are groomed as well.


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