After a very challenging year, anything that HR can do to make life a little bit easier for their workforce is going to be very well received. A recent McKinsey report provides advice for business leaders on dealing with ‘pandemic fatigue’* – a very real concern for a lot of the world. Against this backdrop, HR professionals need to think about how they can make the best use of their HR software to facilitate end-of-year HR processes, minimising the stress that can result from activities such as booking annual leave, updating employee details and engaging with staff over the holiday period.

december holiday challenges hr

Annual leave admin

Invariably December always brings with it last-minute requests for annual leave. If you are concerned that employees might not be using your HR system to request leave properly, now is a good time to remind people how it works and how easy it really is. With more people working from home this year and not ‘visible’ on site, it’s vital for annual leave to be properly recorded in an easy to access, transparent system.

Annual leave challenges aren’t solely focused on employees, they affect managers, too. If you’re issuing some guidance for employees on how to request leave in your absence management system, it’s prudent to also remind managers how to approve leave, and view absence calendars to help with workforce planning. It’s all too easy for HR to assume that an easy-to-use HR system is actually being used, but invariably your workforce will need to be reminded as other priorities compete for their attention.

Updating employee information

December is also a good time to prompt your employees to update their personal details in your HR system. Software that includes self service, like Cezanne HR, allows employees to easily update information, such as phone number, address, emergency contact and bank details. This year has seen many people experience a lot of change, so businesses may find that more employees need to update their details than in a normal year – having a system that makes this easy means more accurate data is readily available when the business needs it.

Helpful insights

Reliable people data is always important, but with companies having to make hard decisions to stay in business throughout COVID-19, accurate and accessible data is even more essential. So, one of the ways that HR can make sure they’re supporting their business leaders is to have robust HR software that’s ready to provide data and insight as needed. If your HR team is at a loose end at all over the holiday period, December can be a good time to think about the HR reports that might be useful for your business in 2021 and to create them now so they’re ready to run on demand next year.

Employee engagement

With people working on site, others at home, and some doing a combination of both, HR can help to keep everyone up to date by using an HR system like Cezanne HR’s workspaces. Important information like holiday office hours and contact details for escalation points if sites are understaffed during the holiday period can be made readily available on a workspace. It’s also a great forum for wishing your staff a happy holiday and to announce any general (positive) messages for the year to come.

And don’t forget, a good HR system will also provide the capability to send a happy holiday message to your staff. Whether it’s an email blast or an SMS message, HR can lead the way by working with business leaders on a holiday message that helps boost morale and engagement at the end of what’s been a very long year for a lot of people.


Shandel McAuliffe author image

Shandel McAuliffe

Now based in sunny Australia, Shandel is prolific writer and editor - particularly in the world of HR. She's worked for some big names, including the CIPD and the Adecco Group. And more recently, she's been the Editor for new HR publication HR Leader.