Are you still using Excel spreadsheets to track your employees’ annual leave? You are not alone; a surprising number of companies still utilise Excel for this purpose. If you Google “Excel free annual leave tracker,” a whopping 1.1 million results are brandished at you. Clearly, there is an issue here, despite how powerful a tool Excel can be. But what is causing this issue? Is there a better, more intuitive way to manage your time? I will endeavour to answer these questions by detailing how Excel is detrimental to annual leave management, and how you can free yourself from the time and stress associated with this process.
Time and time again one can see that Excel is not designed for employee management, certainly not on a largescale basis and there are 3 important reasons for this:
- Difficulty in Collaboration
- Human Error
- Unsuitable for Quick Decision Making
Collaboration between HR and management is vital for the management of staff. In order to manage shift scheduling, various types of leave, and performance reviews members from both teams need to be involved. However, this is something made unnecessarily difficult with Excel. To be accessible to multiple people, a spreadsheet must either be added to a shared drive or uploaded to OneDrive. Neither of these options are suitable for every organisation. Uploading a spreadsheet to a company share drive means that if one person has it open on their device, no one else can edit it unless it is closed; multiple people cannot edit it at once.
If a spreadsheet is opened on someone’s device and they are out of the office or otherwise unreachable, then the spreadsheet is incapable of being edited or updated at all, which can lead to frustration and stress for everyone involved. OneDrive must be downloaded, and a profile made for each user who wishes to have access to the spreadsheet, which takes time and effort. The creator of the spreadsheet must also email it to each colleague who requires access. Additionally, Excel cannot send notifications nor is it mobile friendly which further complicates collaboration, as again if one does not have access to their company laptop/computer they cannot be informed of any updates nor edit it themselves.
When a process is largely reliant on manual input, as well as not being an intuitive system, human error is inevitable. This is especially true when the sharing and organisation is dependent on one person. Simple errors made can be overlooked, for example failing to update the amount of leave an employee has left or inputting the wrong type of leave. Mistaking the type of leave an employee is on is an issue, misremembering the type can lead to an employee being paid when the leave should be unpaid or vice versa. This will have repercussions such as employees receiving the wrong amount of time off or errors in payroll. This can cause staff to lose trust in management and HR resulting in resignation of staff or even legal consequences. Both of which serve to damage a company’s reputation.
Another consequence of human error and Excel involves approving leave for employees. It is easy for a manager to approve an employee’s leave but then forget to update the Excel spreadsheet or inform other members of management and HR. In turn, this can cause staff shortages, seemingly unexplained absences, and conflicting schedules which leads to confusion and frustration for everyone involved. Colleagues having to pick up the slack to compensate exacerbates this, which can have a significant impact on employee morale, trust, and therefore productivity. The process of ensuring that everything within a spreadsheet is updated and accurate is something which takes up a significant amount of time that could be spent on tasks which would better benefit the business.
Excel does not facilitate the fast decision making often required in a business. The amount of information required for annual leave management and to generally keep track of staff is immense, and Excel does not offer the option to automatically generate graphs or trends of any kind. This makes it incredibly difficult to consolidate the data contained in a spreadsheet. This means that one cannot get a high-level view of information surrounding employee time management without having to create graphs and amalgamate the immense information that could be involved themselves.
This is a laborious task that takes up a significant amount of time and may not be accurate because of human error. Businesses often need to make quick decisions, and delays in tasks such as organising the rota can cause issues for everyone involved. Having to keep track of staff availability, absences, etc. makes it difficult to make decisions regarding employee management, especially when multiple departmental staff are involved.
How a Leave Management Solution is Advantageous for your Business
Leave management solutions such as Kefron’s AnnualLeave are a better alternative for managing and tracking employee time. They are designed specifically to streamline the cumbersome process of staff leave. AnnualLeave is available to anyone who has access to a device with internet connection, therefore it is mobile-friendly. There is no limit to how many people can utilise the site at once unlike Excel, so collaboration is simple. The system is automated and updated instantly for all relevant members of staff, so when an employee does request leave, an email notification is immediately sent to their pre-assigned approver. If the request is not responded to, a reminder is sent every Monday until it is, or if the approver is out of office, then a backup approver is contacted instead. The approver is also informed if there are any conflicting leave requests within a department to avoid staff shortages. All of this serves to remove the stress out of, and reduce the time spent on, the leave management process.
Various types of leave are already set up on AnnualLeave, such as sick leave, compassionate leave, and study leave. A company can add or remove leave types, as well as add company policies to the system to ensure constant compliance. The amount of leave an employee has both taken and has left is automatically updated so that management and HR do not need to keep track of it themselves. This helps to minimise human error, as does the ability to assign different levels of access so one person is not responsible for informing others of who is on what kind of leave and when. Multiple approvers and backup approvers can be set, and calendars can be made visible to relevant persons by the company’s administrators. AnnualLeave is highly customisable. The system is automatic and very intuitive, unlike Excel spreadsheets. Furthermore, data is easily consolidated as AnnualLeave will generate graphs and trends regarding staff leave. Each graph is colour-coded so that information can be gathered quickly, and your business can make decisions efficiently.
The entire solution has been developed to curtail human intervention. However, if a client has a concern or query our dedicated team of over 150 people are here to help and will endeavour to reply to all messages within 24 hours. They can be contacted by email, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our support portal. If you are unsure about AnnualLeave you can access our handy guide or book a quick live demonstration.