Vacation time can drive you crazy. You have staff taking off at the same time. Then before you know it you have 6 clinicians off and wondering how did that happen?
And then having to have those uncomfortable conversations with staff who wants off at the same time, when you already have too many clinicians off.
However, all this can be solved by having one simple and proven vacation policy in place that doesn’t upset your staff. And that’s what we talked about on a recent community live call.
Who else can relate to this?
But first, before creating your vacation policy you want to figure out your set number for the maximum number of clinicians or front desk off for a short period of time.
For physios, clinic owner Karen says it's 6 for a very short period. If there is a 7th person wanting to take off. She says "Sorry you're too late to the game".
Next, you want to let your staff know that you need all summer vacation requests in by the end of April. If not, you may be getting a no.
Since she implemented this policy she rarely has to say no or have these difficult conversations.
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Next, there are a lot of categories with taking time off. Such as you have vacation time off, personal days off, professional development days, sick days, and more.
You need to have a policy for each of those. For example, I need 2 weeks' notice. If you need a month off, I need 1 month's notice.
One issue another clinic owner on the call had was he wasn't absolutely crystal clear on their vacation policy which caused a lot of conflicts.
How To Frame Your Vacation Policy In a Way That Doesn’t Upset Your Staff
He was scared that if he set the expectations he would upset his staff until he figured out how to reframe the vacation policy properly.
Here’s how he did it:
"Hey, Summer or Christmas is coming up. Everyone can't be off all the time or all at once. Everybody has family, everybody has friends, and everybody wants time off but not everyone can do it all at once."
Then he will ask them to put in their vacation requests before a certain day. It will be on a first-come first serve basis.
Check out the script in the video below:
Another clinic owner on the call frames her vacation policy this way that you can use too. Here it is:
“We want you to have time off, we want you to have a vacation, but you just have to follow the process so you are not told no. Then we won't have to have the difficult conversations.”
Lastly, once you have your vacation policy in place. You next want to systemize it. To do this you will have a vacation sign-off form in place. If they don't get sign-off for vacation, it's not happening.
This form should first go through your manager of operations. They will check to make sure they actually have holiday time and if it works in the schedule. They check those details then it comes to you and you sign off. Then it's booked out.
And that’s it. There you have it, a simple vacation policy that doesn’t upset your staff and avoids those difficult conversations.
Check out this video to learn which type of tone should you use in different uncomfortable conversations with staff, in case it does happen.
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You can watch the 1-hour workshop instantly by clicking here.
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1. Do you give seniority to someone if there is a conflict?
Yes if they have seniority they get first whenever there is a conflict.
2. What do you say if one person wants time off but too many people are off at that same time?
Simply say, "Sorry, you're late to the game". Or you can tell them that if you can convince someone that’s already going on vacation to trade hours with you then you can have it.
3. What if you have an unusual situation for example your staff made the national football team?
Of course, you wouldn’t say no to that. There are rare exceptions you can make in these situations. But other than that, it’s best to stick to your vacation policy.
Rick has built three 10 million dollar healthcare businesses over the past 15 years including a network of 127 clinics with over 1400 employees. He is one of the most sought-after mentors for clinic owners in Canada and USA where he helps owners double, triple, and even quadruple their profits by optimizing their clinic operations using his proven systems and leadership strategies. Plus, he has spent over millions in google and facebook ads during his career.
You can follow him on Instagram