Why spreadsheets are slowing your annual leave processes down

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By Vinod Gulvady
4 minute read ● July 17, 2020

Know why it is essential for a growing company to switch to an employee attendance management system.

Most employee-centric regulations prescribe leave quotas for employees/workers to enable them to take time off work either for sickness, vacation, or maternity. There are other types of paid leave, such as casual, transit, relocation, medical, compensatory offs, carried-forward, etc., which are Company specific.

Each type of leave has a policy formulated by the government or the organization specifying the eligibility, approval matrix, and annual quota within which employees can avail it. For ease of operations and tracking purposes, leaves are typically set for a calendar year (as opposed to a financial year).

From a business perspective, a leave taken is equivalent to cash outflow for an organization. Whenever an employee avails leave, it means there is no productivity, but at the same time, payment must be made for that day(s). Therefore, it becomes imperative for an organization to have a robust leave management system in place.

Many companies choose to maintain employee attendance on spreadsheets as they find it cost-effective and manageable. But as the Company grows, it becomes challenging for the HR personnel to update the data on spreadsheets daily. The administrative tasks related to recording sick leaves, approving annual leave, monitoring leave balance, etc., become uncontrollable. Managing it manually also consumes a lot of productive hours of a dedicated resource that can be meaningfully channelized in other vital projects.

So it is always better to switch to an online Leave Management System before the manual spreadsheets become unmanageable.

Here are the reasons why spreadsheets can slow down the complete leave management process.

They are time-consuming

In a scenario where the entire leave process is being tracked manually by HR on an excel sheet or register, an employee must first obtain permission from the reporting manager. At this stage, the reporting manager has no leave records of his team members and depends on HR to get the leave balance of his team members. Once HR confirms the available leave balance, the manager can approve it. Once the leave is approved, the manager must inform HR about the type of leave and the number of days approved to update the employee's records.

Wastage of productive work hours

A spreadsheet-based leave management system consumes a lot of time filling in the daily leave status of employees. It becomes overwhelming for the HR personnel to update the same data in multiple spreadsheets and hunt through humongous data sheets to collect specific information. An efficient HR software can easily streamline the entire process and significantly reduce the wastage of productive work hours.

The data gets outdated very easily

Regardless of the effort and the time spent by the HR department in manually entering the data, it becomes challenging to keep up with the ever-changing employee attendance status. The HR data continually changes with new joiners, exits, changing personal information, bank details, training, etc. Tracking and updating these changes becomes humanly impossible as the Company grows in number. With an online attendance system, all the information gets integrated into the system, and processes are automatically streamlined.

Unmanageable with a large number of employees

Where a manager has a broad span of control, keeping track of all team members leave schedules is challenging since the data lies with HR. Further, if critical projects are going on, there are chances of sanctioned leaves to many team members simultaneously, jeopardizing the project schedule.

Challenging to compute leave year-end calculations

Most companies have a leave carry-forward process where employees are allowed to carry some of their unavailed leaves to the next calendar year. This balance is in addition to the new quota that employees will receive at the beginning of the year. HR will have to manually calculate those unavailed leaves for each employee and include it in the next year's quota. Computing this manually is stressful and prone to error, which in turn leads to employee dissatisfaction.

Limited visibility of leave information to employee and manager

Employee communication is a big challenge where HR has to continually respond to queries on leave balances and policies regularly based on the excel sheets that they maintain. In this manual leave management, there are chances of HR failing to update leaves or managers missing to inform HR about the leaves availed by their employees. Such a manual system is susceptible to error too.

There is no centralized source of information

In a manual leave management process, the HR department usually maintains separate spreadsheets for absence, holidays, attendance, appraisals, and many more. In such settings, individual departments also maintain their records to ensure that they do not entirely depend on the HR spreadsheets. This further creates confusion as there is no centralized data to refer to. There is minimal transparency as the data access is restricted to HR and the respective departments.

Limited accessibility to essential data

As the data is not centrally stored, simple information like- what is the leave balance status of my team?" needs to be routed through the HR department. This not only delays a simple task but adds to employee frustration.

Challenging to get real-time information

When the HR manually stores all the data in multiple spreadsheets, any requirement from the Management for a specific data creates panic in the department. People rush around to find out the latest version of the information from the pile of data files. Online Leave Management System that offers Employees Attendance App can easily capture real-time data. This data is centrally stored and can be accessed by authorized personnel anytime from anywhere. The real-time data helps the Management in strategic decision-making.

So, what is the best solution to this? A cloud-based, online leave management system is the perfect answer to this. Modern attendance & leave management software easily take care of the entire gamut of leave processing. These systems can be accessed from anywhere and anytime by authorized personnel to view their available leave balances under each leave type. Employees can apply for leaves online while a predefined workflow routes the application to the respective manager for approval/rejection via email. Following this, the manager can view the employee's leave balance with a click of a button and take appropriate action. This ensures the system is updated instantly and the information is captured in real-time.

This reduces the dependency on the HR personnel as the manager, and the employee has complete visibility and control over the process. At the end of the year, they can approve the carry-forward of the unavailed leave balance to the next year, while HR can update new leave quotas with minimal effort.

Leave management is a part of the comprehensive HR and Payroll solution offered by greytHR for the past 25 years.

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