When a staff member requests extended leave, in many cases due to an impending childbirth or adoption, a manager can find him or herself at a loss as to how to proceed. There are several simple steps one can take in this situation to get the ball rolling.
Make sure all employees know they can ask for leave if needed and encourage them to do as soon as possible when they know they will need it. Having six months to prepare will facilitate a much smoother transition than six days. Employees who are afraid of potential repercussions of requesting leave will likely put it off until the last possible moment.
It is advisable that any position in a business have a clear, well-defined job description and a complete list of the tasks assigned to that role. If this does not exist before an employee requests leave, it should become an immediate priority for them to put together such a list. This list will ensure nothing is missed during their absence when tasks may be distributed amongst other employees.
Let Them Train You
Make sure the departing employee is actively engaged in the process of distributing his or her workload. This will help prevent tasks from falling through the cracks as they have a firmer grasp on the details of their position. Additionally, have them coach employees picking up their job functions. There are likely several tips and tricks he or she has picked up in the course of work that will make the task easier or more accurate. These details are often best communicated verbally and overseen a time or two. Get the tasks assigned and have the employee train their coworkers in the completion of those tasks.
Extended leaves do not have to be devastating to a business. A calm and organized approach will see one through the transitional period and into the leave with minimal fallout. The more prepared one is in advance, the easier the transition will be.