How to Encourage Employees to Take Their Full Holiday Allowance (and why)

February 25, 2015

How to Encourage Employees to Take Their Full Holiday Allowance (and why)

Does every single person you employ take their entire paid holiday allowance every year? If not, you might be thinking “Great! That’s more profit for the business, right?” – but there are actually very good reasons why you should want your employees to take all the holidays they’re entitled to. For example, several trains of thought suggest that time away from the office increases your people’s ability to innovate, retain information, as well as giving them better morale and higher engagement levels. It also makes them less likely to call in sick during the rest of the year!

So if you notice that a number of your people seem to be doing more days at work than is probably good for them, here are a few great ways to encourage them to take their full holiday allowance every year:

Be Happy When They Book Time Off

Do you, or your team managers, make an audible sigh and then tut a little whenever an employee asks about booking a holiday date?

If your people get the impression that you don’t like them booking holidays, then they’re less likely to want to book them – so instead of worrying about squeezing every possible minute out of each person, try to develop a genuine interest in what they’ll be doing with their time off (or at the very least, smile and say “I’ll take a look at the diary”).

Display Great Organisational Skills

If you’re really disorganised, then the holiday booking process is probably something that every person in your company dreads. If your employees know that they have to fill out a paper form, hand-deliver it to the HR office, and then call up their HR department every hour for a full week before it even gets looked at, then it’s going to be pretty discouraging.

If your employees know that when they request a holiday they’ll get a response in a pretty orderly fashion, they’re not going to be afraid to send you a request.

If you’re still using paper forms for handling holiday requests, you might want to consider HR software that offers Self Service so that employees can submit holiday requests electronically and get an instant response once the appropriate manager has clicked ‘Approve’.

Implement ‘Rollover’ Limits

There’s another reason why some people will avoid using their full holiday allowance – rollover policies.

If an employee is allowed to rollover their annual holiday allowance year on year, you might find that some employees store their holidays and end up taking a huge chunk of time off all at once.

While some rollover is beneficial – forgot to use that last day? Great, book it in the new year – it’s a wise idea to at least apply limits to prevent people from abusing the system.

Don’t Let Their Workload Overflow

Perhaps you employ people who have absolutely no problems with requesting holidays… they know that it’s smiled on, they know that you can handle it smoothly, and they know that if they don’t take their holidays this year then they’ve missed their chance. Great! But what if they literally cannot take time off because it would mean falling behind with their workload?

You should remember to keep an eye on how much your people are being asked to do, and ensure whatever their responsibilities, they have enough time to get it all done AND take their full annual holiday allowance.

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