Managing Holiday Vacation Requests: 5 Tips to Maintain Employee and Customer Cheer

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Whether your business is large or small, managing employee vacation requests at the end of the year can be complicated. It’s inevitable that most employees will want time off over the holidays, but how do you manage those requests without compromising your workflow or overloading other employees?

1. Understand what staffing needs your business has during the holiday season. Is it a busy time or slow time for you? What needs to get done, and how many people do you need to do it? Retail stores, for example, are particularly busy during the holiday season, and not only do they need all the staff they have, they probably need about 25 percent more.

2. Establish a deadline for vacation requests and communicate that clearly with your employees. This allows you to measure those requests against your plan and make good decisions about end-of-year staffing. Let employees know that requests submitted after the deadline have a good chance of not being granted.

3. Establish a policy for prioritizing requests and stick to it. There are a variety of ways to prioritize vacation requests, and different methods will work for different teams. Just make sure you communicate your policy for prioritization to your employees.

Here are a few common methods of prioritization:

  • Prioritize in order of request receipt.
  • Prioritize in order of seniority.
  • Prioritize by lottery system.
  • Prioritize as an incentive for meeting goals.

4. If you think you’ll be understaffed, get professional help. A staffing agency can help you recruit, train, and manage employees during the holiday season so you have the help you need without the extra work of hiring temporary employees. Remember that even with the most meticulous planning, there are sure to be some unplanned days where employees will be out.

5. Post your holiday schedule as soon as possible so employees can make their holiday plans around that schedule.

8 Tips on Using LinkedIn to Get the Job You Want

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One social media site that’s sure to help build your career is LinkedIn. Statistics show that 96% of recruiters are on LinkedIn, and they’re using it to find talent. So if you’re not on LinkedIn already, it’s absolutely worth your time to set up a profile.

Here are some tips to help you create a profile that will get you noticed by recruiters.

1. Make sure your profile is 100% complete. Not only does this give recruiters easy access to the information they want and increase your chance of being found, it also sends a message that you’re thoughtful, meticulous, and you get things done. Not 75% done, but 100% done.

2. Be thoughtful about your profile picture. Find or take a high-quality photo that represents you as the kind of person who would be hired for the job you want. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately (if you’re not sure how to dress, check out the profiles of people who have the kind of job you want). Make sure you look friendly. Make sure the photo looks professional—no pets, friends, family, vacation pics, or babies on this one.

3. Make yourself easy to find. LinkedIn allows you to choose custom URLS, and this is one of the first things you should do. It’s a lot easier to promote than the long, standard URL that comes with your profile when you first set it up. And if a recruiter does find your profile, make sure it’s easy to contact you by adding your email address in the contact section. You’ll also want to make sure that your profile contains keywords that a recruiter might be searching for when they’re looking for the right candidate for their team.

4. Include info that immediately catches the viewer’s attention. You’re not limited to a one-page piece of paper with LinkedIn like you are with a resume, so take advantage of that. Include things like past achievements, multimedia, and links to past projects. These all need to be relevant to the type of job you want now.

5. Make good connections. You want to have at least 50 connections, and you want these to be your industry peers, past bosses, coworkers, and clients, or people you want to work with in the future. You also want to solicit strategic recommendations from people who know you’ll do a great job. And you want to join Groups that are relevant to your career and participate in these groups. The knowledge you get and the connections you make will be invaluable.

6. Use some of LinkedIn’s bells and whistles. Write a profile headline that succinctly articulates what sets you apart from other candidates. Add a short summary (2-3 paragraphs) that gives an overview of your qualifications. Comb through your endorsements and make sure they give a very clear picture of who you are and what you can do. If they’re all over the place and tell a story that doesn’t help you get the job you want now, clean them up.

7. Remember to be human. LinkedIn is more robust but less formal than a resume. So be appropriately conversational. Use the first person. Avoid industry jargon, and demonstrate that you’re passionate and excited about your field. You want to leave a recruiter with the impression that you’re the kind of person that they want on their team.

8. Be engaged. You can’t just set up a LinkedIn profile and forget about it. You need to participate. Update your status with interesting news and links that are relevant to your field. But remember it’s not Facebook. LinkedIn is a social place to show your professional side, so keep personal stuff on a more appropriate social site.

My Boss Wants to Friend Me on Facebook. Now What?

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A friend request pops up at the top of your Facebook feed, you click on it, and it’s your boss. Now what do you do?

Your boss has broken a Facebook rule: never friend anyone who works for you because it puts them in an awkward position. But they did it, and now it’s up to you to deal with it without damaging your career or your relationship with your boss.

1. Although it may be tempting, don’t ignore the request. This will send a message that can be interpreted by your boss in a variety of ways—most of them negative.

2. If you’re generally okay with sharing personal aspects of your life at work, you follow the rules of posting that we outlined in last week’s post, and you have a good relationship with your boss, then there’s really no harm in accepting.

3. If you prefer to keep your personal life separate from work, send your boss a note letting them know that you use Facebook to share with family and very close friends, but you’d love for them to connect with you on LinkedIn.

4. If you do accept a friend request from your boss, you may want to set up Facebook groups. You can sort your contacts into different groups, such as family, close friends, and friends. If there’s something you only want to share with close friends, for example, you can choose just the close friends group in the audience selector tool at the bottom of the post. But remember, it’s easy to forget to select the right audience so never post anything you wouldn’t be okay with everyone seeing.

5. You don’t have any control over what others may post on your page, but you can control who sees it. Set your privacy settings to allow you to review and approve posts to your page, so that someone doesn’t post something to your wall that you wouldn’t want everyone to see.

6. Before you accept, review past posts to make sure there’s nothing you’ve posted in the past that you might not want them to find. Review our article on cleaning up your social media feed for some helpful tips.

7. Don’t friend your boss and forget. There are countless stories of now ex-employees who friended their boss, forgot, and then posted something negative about their jobs that got them fired (not that you should ever post anything about your job on social media, even if you’re not friends with your boss on Facebook).