Manitoba employees look forward to summer vacation with great anticipation! Our terrific summer offers an endless supply of exciting things to do and places to go. Employees usually plan for travel, family activities or other important events during their brief summer vacations.There are a number of things that can take the fun, relaxation and enjoyment out of employee summer vacations faster than golf ball sized hail at a prairie barbeque! Some of these common situations can motivate employees to even turn vacation time into job search time.
Here is a list of six sure-fire ways to spoil an employee’s vacation:
1. Job Uncertainty
If there is uncertainty about the status of jobs in the workplace, it is wise to let employees know before they embark on a potentially costly summer vacation. Although there is never a good time to implement workforce reductions or layoffs, waiting until immediately after the summer vacation period to announce and implement layoffs is not a good idea. Organizations should ensure that employees are aware of workplace changes and that layoffs, if necessary, are not an unpleasant surprise when returning from vacation!
2. Unclear Vacation Time Availability and Procedures
If employees are unaware of the employer’s plans and practices relating to summer vacation permission, this can result in unpleasant surprises! Many workplaces have well-established summer vacation shutdown periods, while others permit employees to take vacation periods throughout the summer months. Ensure that employees in your organization have as much advance notice of the time frames for vacation shutdown periods as possible. Also ensure that all employees know the established procedures for requesting and selecting vacation time over the coveted summer months.
3. Changes to Employee Vacation Plans
Employees particularly despise when employers, after having approved their vacation time, advise that they will need to change their plans. Employees who have followed procedures and have received approval for their vacations have typically made plans with family or friends, often committing sums of money to their plans, only to be advised that their employer is exercising its authority to change vacations at the last moment.
4. Employees Called Back from Vacation
If there is one thing employees dislike more than last minute changes to vacation schedules, it is being called back from vacation to meet an urgent employer requirement. When this occurs, even loyal and dedicated employees are forced to choose between their dedicated service to their employer and commitments to their families. This is a very difficult and unfair position to place an employee in. Even though an employer may offer to let the employee take alternate time off at a later date, nothing can make up for the disruption to family like a cancelled vacation or a holiday cut short. One way to address this is to identify an “On Call” list of qualified employees who are willing to be called back to work in the event of an emergency.
5. Meetings While on Vacation
Some employers will learn that an employee is travelling to another city or that they will otherwise be in the vicinity of a customer or a supplier while on their vacation. Employers who ask an employee to drop in and visit or attend a meeting on behalf of the company while on their vacation may be motivating employee disengagement.
6. The Electronic Leash
Many employers request that an employee attends to email messages and other employer calls or matters while on their personal vacation. When they do so, employees feel unvalued and get the clear message that their personal and family plans and priorities are not as important as those of their employer.
Although business circumstances can change as quickly as the weather on a hot prairie day, careful planning and communication are the keys to maintaining positive employee engagement through vacation season.