How to set up a smooth vacation approval process

Work-life balance is essential for overall workplace satisfaction, and it has an undeniable impact on your business’s success. Many companies offer paid time off (PTO) so that employees can take personal days when they need to. 

Whether an employee is requesting a day off for family reasons or wants to go on a week-long vacation, your business needs to have a clear vacation approval process in place, as it can help you manage scheduling for the team and coordinate coverage when teammates are away.

Without a solid process in place, you risk creating communication and support problems for your team, which can result in essential tasks and responsibilities falling through the cracks when someone’s using their PTO. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid these problems by implementing a digital vacation approval process for your business.

How an employee vacation policy and request process can help your business

Every business needs to have a vacation policy in place, with set guidelines to manage how much vacation time is available for each employee. Often, the payroll system automatically accrues vacation time based on the number of hours the employee works each week. Once they’ve accrued enough hours, the employee can ask for time off work, with the benefit of getting paid for their regular shift when they’re away from the workplace.

A structured vacation request system reduces the likelihood of short-notice absences and gives you the ability to plan ahead for any impacts to your workflow. It also minimizes the chances you’ll run into staffing shortages or other surprises, and ensures that the lines of communication between managers and team members remain open.  

How a vacation approval process works

While it’s vital to encourage your employees to take time off, you also need to make sure their time away doesn’t impact the rest of your team or your ability to meet deadlines. A vacation approval process gives managers the ability to review vacation requests and determine what adjustments, if any, they need to make.

Show your employees that you respect their time-off requests with an organized and accessible process for submitting and approving vacation time. Here’s a typical vacation approval workflow:

  1. The employee submits a form to request time off.
  2. The manager receives the request and reviews the days and times the employee will be gone.
  3. The manager confirms the time-off request and submits the approval or denial.
  4. The employee gets an email indicating the approval or denial.
  5. Other managers and team members may receive a notification about the approval.

In most situations, a one-step approval is sufficient. But some businesses prefer a two-step verification if multiple managers need to review the request before giving the employee approval for the time off.

Employees regularly request time off from work, which is why it makes sense to automate this process. Digital workflows save your company time, money, and effort by minimizing manual work — and they often eliminate communication issues.

How to use a low-code solution for vacation approvals

JotForm offers a variety of solutions to streamline various HR processes, including vacation requests. You can create a digital system for your business with online forms for employees to request days off. Combine these three JotForm tools to design an effective vacation approval process:

  • Create a time-off request form. Choose a time-off request form template or design a customized form from scratch. Businesses of all sizes use these forms so that employees can request paid time off or sick days with the click of a mouse. 
  • Build the approval flow. A drag-and-drop approval builder gives you the flexibility to design the vacation approval request workflow. You can assign approvals to a specific manager and send additional notifications to the HR department for processing.
  • Approve or deny requests. When an employee submits the vacation request form, managers will receive a notification about the form submission, and they can automatically approve or deny the request. A dropdown menu gives the manager the option to choose from two options: approve or deny. You can also create a multistep approval process that requires several layers of review.
  • Track form submissions and approvals. Finally, keep track of approved time-off requests using JotForm Tables to see all upcoming employee vacation requests. This tool makes it easy to sort and organize submissions and approvals. JotForm Tables gives you the ability to collaborate as well, improving communication among team members who might be affected by the employee’s absence.

A vacation approval process keeps everyone informed about upcoming days off. When you know employees are going to be out of the office, you can better plan for those staffing changes. The key to ensuring you have sufficient help each day is to stay organized with time-off requests and approvals.

This article is originally published on Apr 14, 2021, and updated on Aug 26, 2021.

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