March 28, 2017 | BizRun Team
HR Paperwork

If there’s one task most managers could do without, it would be managing PTO requests. They come out of nowhere – usually when you’re knee-deep in an important project – and they can quickly become a time suck.

In smaller companies, time off requests are often a manual process involving several steps. Often, the first is making sure the employee is eligible to take the time off being requested. While it would be great if employees had a handle on their available time off balances, they often don’t. And it will probably take some time and effort for you to figure it out, too.

Assuming the time is there to take, you might next check with the employee’s supervisor. That might turn into a 30-minute chat about Little League and the new sushi place around the corner.

It might also raise questions about whether any other employees are taking off at that same time. You can’t afford to have too many people out at once, so that might mean checking with even more people.

If all of that checks out, you can finally approve the request. But by the time you get back to your desk, you have two more time off requests. And that priority project that you were working on gets put off for another day.

Again, it would be really nice if employees would do some of this due diligence themselves. But the reality is, they usually don’t (or they can’t). So the responsibility to ensure that there aren’t too many people gone at once often falls to HR.

How much would you love it if managing and tracking PTO were easy? Good news: it can be.

With the right HR software, you can avoid the scenario above and reap plenty of benefits as well. Here are just five reasons why you’ll love using HR software to manage and track PTO.

1. Minimizes time off conflicts

Ted and Shayna work together in customer service. If Ted’s out of the office, Shayna has to pick up the slack and vice versa. If they’re both out of the office, you’ll be in a bind. Customer inquiries might not get the attention they need, and that’s not something you want to mess around with. When you use HR software, you can see who already has time off approved, so that you can avoid sticky situations that could hurt your bottom line.

2. Makes checking balances a snap

If you’ve been manually calculating the time an employee has available for PTO, you’re going to love the right software. You get instant visibility into how much time an employee has taken already, what time is still available, as well as what time will be available in the future. Better yet, the employee can see the same, taking the burden off of you and virtually eliminating requests that were destined to be denied.

3. Empowers your staff

Providing self-service options for time off requests takes the focus off of the HR manager and puts it in the hands of each employee. Now, Mary is responsible for making sure her request follows procedures. She can check her time off balance to be sure she has the time to take, as well as check her team calendar to make sure no conflicts exist. If she wants a hassle-free approval, she needs to follow protocol. Self-service takes the stress off of you and – added bonus – empowers Mary to take responsibility for own success.

4. Is more convenient and efficient

We live in an era of being able to order food and make massage appointments online. Why shouldn’t your staff also be able to make time off requests digitally? Chances are, the majority of your employees are comfortable using software and digital solutions, so by offering it, you make it more convenient for everyone. Plus it eliminates paperwork and inaccuracy. Moving from inefficient paper requests to a streamlined digital process makes everyone (and the environment) a lot happier.

5. Demonstrates commitment to work-life balance

A company that encourages its employees to have better work-life balance also tends to a) hire the best talent and b) retain that talent for a long time. If you make it unnecessarily difficult for top-performing employees to request time off (or get it approved), you’ll likely see higher burnout levels and faster turnover. On the other hand, if employees know that you encourage and value their time off, and you demonstrate that by making it easy for them to take it, they’ll be more engaged and committed to your priorities, too.

When you add it all up, you simply can’t ignore the benefits – and significant time savings – that HR software can give you. Just imagine what other priorities you could tackle if you knew that PTO was being managed seamlessly, consistently and accurately?

While distractions and the occasional interruption are inevitable, your focus needs to be on keeping your company running smoothly. And on keeping your valued employees happy. When you rely on the right HR software to manage PTO, you can do both more effectively than ever before.