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The Requirements for an Effective Automated Employee’s Leave Log for Today’s HR Departments.

Photo by: Antoni Shkraba

Managing employee leave requests using simple Excel leave logs can be a frustrating task for leave administrators. Absence Management is time-consuming and error-prone, leading to confusion and dissatisfaction among employees and upper management. Dealing with multiple Excel sheets for different departments, the constant back and forth with employees, and trying to keep track of who has requested what type of leave, and when it was approved is a nightmare that all leave administrators experience. Using the latest advancements found in Excel is a requirement to effectively manage a company’s leave program.

Employees asking for clarification on their leave status and the administrator trying to manually update the log is a frequent problem that all leave team’s experience. When employees request leave, they often want to know the status of their request as soon as possible. However, when multiple leave logs are managed manually, it can be difficult for administrators to update the log quickly and easily with the latest information. This can lead to delays in updating the leave status and result in employees repeatedly reaching out to the administrator for clarification. Additionally, when leave logs are managed manually, it can be difficult for administrators to keep track of all the different requests and approvals. This can result in errors and inconsistencies in the data, which can further confuse employees and lead to dissatisfaction.

An advance leave log containing an easy-to-use input form with smart drop-down menus that instantaneously retrieve employee’s records is a solution to solve confusion surrounding employee’s leave status. The intake form will end the need for manual data entry and reduces the risk of errors and inconsistencies in data gathering. Smart drop-down menus can be used to access employee’s full legal name, job title, and length of service quickly. Partnered with complexed functions as VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP along with the current employee’s information, the advance leave log will automatically calculate leave eligibility requirements, leave start date (with or without required waiting period), and expected the Return-to-Work Date. The Return-to-Work Date will exclude holidays, weekends, or business closures to ensure the correct number of days are applied to the employees approved leave. Additionally, an intake form will also streamline the process of tracking leaves requests and approvals. This process will eliminate the need for manual calculation and ensures that the data is accurate and up to date.

Another benefit of using an advanced Excel Leave Log is the use of Power Query. Power Query can be used to import data files from multiple formats and sources, such as Excel spreadsheets, Google Sheets, text files, CSV files, and internal / vendor databases, to ensure that the latest employee data is utilized. Power Query can automatically clean and format the data by removing duplicates, enforcing data types, and transforming the data into a format that is easy to work with. This can help to ensure that the data is accurate and up to date, reducing the risk of errors and inconsistencies. Additionally, when paired with a custom Macro, Power Query can be used to refresh data files on-demand, ensuring that the leave administrator always has access to the latest employee data. This will save time and resources as the administrator does not need to manually update the data or has multiple platforms open, ending screen clutter.

A Manager's Dashboard with Charts and Graphs can be used to display key metrics such as the number of leave requests, the number of leave days approved, and the number of leave days remaining. The dashboard can also include charts and graphs that show leave trends over time and help show leave plans that need improvement. A Manager’s Dashboard enhanced with Pivot Tables can be used to provide quick summary information on leave request, allowing administrators to quickly see the number of leave request by type, the number of days requested, and the number of days approved, along with other key demographics such as department and job type. This information can be quickly shared with manager and other HR Business Partners to discuss and evaluate individual cases, leave trends or the company's overall leave program.

The most glaring problem that you may ask is “how to create this magical leave spreadsheet?” Creating an Excel spreadsheet with only a handful of the tools mentioned above would take months that many HR departments simply do not have, as they are overwhelmed with the day-to-day administration of employee’s leave. Leave Teams may not have the bandwidth to learn all the different formulas, functions, and formatting required. It can also be difficult to find a free template off the internet that is safe to use due to HIPAA rules and privacy laws. But let’s explore way using templates found on the internet is not the best approach for using an advance Leave Log:

1. Security: Free templates found online may not have built-in security features to protect sensitive information, such as employee personal and leave data, which may lead to data breaches and potential regulatory violations.

2. Compliance: Many free templates may not be compliant with industry regulations and laws such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which can result in fines and penalties.

3. Quality: Free templates found online may not be of high quality and may not function properly. They may also not be updated regularly to account for changes in regulations and laws, leaving you vulnerable to compliance issues.

4. Customization: Free templates found online may not be customizable to meet the specific needs of your organization. They may also not have the ability to integrate with other systems and software you are already using, making it difficult to manage leave requests.

5. Support: Free templates found online may not come with technical support or assistance in case you encounter any issues with the template.

It's important to consider these risks and evaluate whether using a free Excel template found on the internet is the right choice for your organization. It may be more beneficial to invest in a leave management service, which can ensure the security, compliance, and quality of the leave log as well as provide support and customization.

The best solution would be to use a third-party consultant that specializes in creating automated spreadsheets, with years of experience in leave management. A consultant firm that has already created templates and forms that can be easily customized to meet the needs of your organization. They also have built-in formulas, functions, and formatting that are specific to leave administration, making it easy for administrators to track and manage leave requests. This can help to free up bandwidth for leave administrators, as they can delegate the task of creating and maintaining an advanced leave log to a company that has the expertise and resources to do it. This will ensure that the leave log is of high quality and will be compliant with all regulations and laws.

An added benefit to outsourcing is the ability of flexibility and time savings. Outsourcing will allow you to be flexible with the leave log, as the service provider can adapt and modify the leave log according to your company’s needs. This will also allow you to focus on your team’s core business and save your company time and resources that can be better spent on other priorities.

Contact Excel Employee Leave Tracker and let us create a customized automated Leave Log that will comply with all privacy requirements, is easy to use, and will cost less and take less time to complete. With over 20 years of experience within health and welfare, Excel Employee Leave Tracker has the expertise to provide an automated leave log that will meet all your company’s needs. Don't waste any more time and resources on a clunky and outdated leave log spreadsheet! Go to today and take the first step towards a streamlined and more efficient leave management process!

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