Handling Employee Time off Requests

With the holidays fast approaching, employees are planning their getaways and family vacations. While it’s completely understandable to want time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day, if every employee leaves town that week, there will be no one left to keep the business running. So, when the time-off requests start trickling in, it’s up to human resources personnel to manage these requests. As a professional HR manager, it’s your job to do this in a fair and timely manner but it’s not always that easy.  You want to grant every time-off request that comes in because you know that taking time away from the office will allow them a chance to recharge and be more productive when they return. But it’s always not feasible to give every employee the time off they request, so here are some tips to handle these requests fairly. Ensure the company’s time-off policy is understood. Make sure all your employees are aware of the company’s time-off policies, and how they will be granted. You can inform employees of this when they’re hired, but it’s not a bad idea to send out a refresher via a company memo before the holidays begin. That way, when the holidays arrive, employees should know to plan ahead and comply with the company policies. Grant requests in a fair manner. The best approach is usually to grant any requests in the order in which you received them. If seniority does play a role in receiving PTO, make sure this is known by all employees, so no one gets the impression that you’re giving preference to certain people. Track...

Employee Training, the Holiday Season, and You

The holiday season is upon us, and for those of you in any sort of management role, you know that it isn’t just about decorating the office, signing up for a pre-Thanksgiving potluck, or drawing a name for Secret Santa. Here soon, the workplace is probably going to resemble a ghost town. The holidays tend to open a revolving door while everyone takes vacations with family or travels just to eat up the last of the year’s paid time off before it’s gone. And even when everyone is present and accounted for, focusing on the work gets harder and harder the closer we get to one of the major holidays coming up on the calendar. So how can you help your employees and colleagues stay on top of training schedules, or even just the everyday to-dos at work in the meantime? Your professional experts at Conductor have a few tips for you to try out this holiday season. Shake things up It might seem counterintuitive to disrupt the usual routine when it’s already in jeopardy from employees taking advantage of PTO and holiday festivities, but now might actually be the perfect time to consider shaking things up around the office. If it doesn’t throw too much of a wrench in business for your clients or customers, you can always try staggering your employees’ training schedules. That way, if a vacation cuts in the middle of one person’s training program, you simply change things around and have him or her start that course after the holiday. Someone who plans to stick around and work can have that time to complete...

Workplace Gratitude

It’s the season of giving thanks, but that doesn’t have to apply only at home or among close friends. At work, we sometimes find ourselves getting burned out or feeling unappreciated by the year’s end. And with a series of holidays, vacation time, and other engagements, it can get difficult for employers and managers to stay in touch with the rest of the team. It’s well worth it to find time to thank your employees and show them just how grateful you are for all their hard work. Not only does it boost company morale, but you’ll find that professionals who feel appreciated are often more motivated to complete their tasks in an efficient and timely manner. So what’s good for them is good for you – and your business! Free food No matter the profession or industry, there are few people who will turn down free food – especially when it’s on the boss’s or company’s tab. The holidays present the perfect opportunity to bring in-office lunches or breakfast treats to the workplace to say thanks. Or, you can ditch the theme altogether and leave some donuts or snacks in the breakroom anyway. There doesn’t need to be an occasion for you to thank the staff, or for enjoying some scrumptious eats. Team outings Depending on how tightly-knit your staff is, a team outing might be just what your employees need to feel appreciated. By organizing a dinner out, a bowling night, laser tag – whatever you think they’d enjoy, and that your budget will allow – you’re showing your employees that you think they deserve a break...

In-office Halloween Party Perks

Halloween marks the beginning of a long line of fall and winter holidays, and what better way to bring the workplace team together than to kick off your celebrations right there in the office? It can get a little dicey when it comes to deciding which holidays and activities are appropriate or conducive to your work environment. But if yours is the type of team that thrives on interaction, collaboration, and sometimes a little good old-fashioned competition, then Conductor has some ideas for you to include in your Halloween party this year! Costume contests A costume contest among coworkers gives everyone the chance to show creativity and personality, plus generates a little excitement when you choose a great prize that motivates the whole team to join in! Just to cover your bases, be sure to explain all rules and regulations beforehand. That can mean anything from reiterating the office dress code and how it applies to appropriate costumes, to setting some more fun rules and categories. Try giving each department a theme, or coming up with awards for things like the most creative or eco-friendliest costumes. Haunted office Potential decorations are everywhere, including in your office environment. Enlist the help of your employees to make up some Halloween decorations, complete with cobwebs, paper or plastic jack-o-lanterns for longevity, and electric candles! Or, you and the team can use this as an opportunity for a contest as well. Everyone can decorate his or her own office space, and you can all cast votes for the spookiest corner of the building. Just remember to adhere to fire codes and other safety...

Effective Refreshers for Employee Training

Everyone learns differently. Some just need to hear information to absorb it, while others require a visual aid or written notes. In any case, your employees will all adopt their own strategies during training sessions. But what about when a month or two passes between courses and you want to hold a random refresher, just to keep everyone on the same page and the business running smoothly? Finding some method that will be beneficial and appealing for everyone in the workplace can be difficult, but your employee training and tracking experts at Conductor have a few ideas to get you started. Game day While you might not normally think of using games as a learning exercise in the office, they can actually be quite effective in helping your employees hang onto vital information passed on during training sessions. A few great options for jogging someone’s memory include group crossword puzzles, hangman, or hosting a trivia challenge. You can even come up with a matching game using simple materials like Post-it notes as your cards. Another way to reinforce key concepts from training using a game is to have your employees do the legwork and come up with the activity themselves. Not only will they be participating, but they’ll have to know the correct answers and details in order to create a game that actually serves its purpose. As long as it helps keep your employees at the top of their game, a little play at work never hurt. Cheat sheets If you don’t have the time to organize a game or two, you can always craft a cheat sheet...