Vacation Planning Configuration Definitions, Functionality Overview and Planning Strategy

Vacation Planning Configuration Definitions, Functionality Overview and Planning Strategy

Gain a holistic understanding of Vacation Planning Configuration in order to strategize the best way to configure a Vacation Plan that will meet your scheduling guidelines.  There are 3 sections to this document; Definitions, Functionality Overview and Planning Strategy.


1)  Slots:  Individual vacation requests with the Vacation Planning context.  Slots can be used to request any Requestable Item from a single slot could be a single day or week to a series of multiple days or weeks. Slots consist of a number of Preferences and one or more Requestable Items.

2)  Preferences:  Individual vacation requests with a Slot in order of the employee's choosing so that only the top available selection will be approved.  The top preference will be considered first. If that is not available, then the second preference will be considered until one preference is available and approved.  Subsequent preferences with that slot are rejected.

3)  Requestable Item:  The type and duration of leave that employees are able to request during vacation planning.  Requestable Items are configurable to be individual or multiple days or weeks of any leave type. 

4)  Calendar Week:  7 consecutive days; the first day of a calendar week is configurable.

5)  Working Week:  The set of working days between two periods of regular days off as determined by an employee's base schedule.

6)  Overlap:  A day as defined by several potential options (examples include:  existing leaves, holidays, regular days off)  that corresponds directly with a day that is selected in vacation planning slot that employees may not have to use leave balance.  Generally relevant when selecting multiple days or weeks as Requestable Items.  

 7)  Request Profile:  A set of Slots within a Vacation Planning Step that may be handled differently from other request profiles or have different rules.

 Functionality Overview

1)  Allow Employees to Limit Approvals 


Checking this box will allow employees to request up to the maximum number of vacation planning slots while limiting how many slots can be approved in order to reserve some leave balance for future vacation requests.

2)  Black Out Days:


Days that are blacked out are not able to be selected as part of Vacation Planning.  There is another opportunity to select black out days during Instantiation in order to be able to reuse the same Vacation Planning Definition multiple times.

3)  Notify (on the configuration page)


If configured properly with Notification Rules this will send a notification to an employee, supervisor or both when this Vacation Plan Definition has been started, will be started or ends.  There is another section to notify an employee or supervisor when it is their turn to pick begins or ends.

4)  Add New Requestable Item: 


You can add as many Requestable Items as needed per what employees can request in the course of a vacation plan.  Each Requestable Item must have 1 leave type.

5)  Unit and Unit Type


Here is where you can select the duration of a Requestable Item. Days and Weeks are the most commonly chosen Units.  The Unit number is the number of the selected Unit in a Requestable Item.  


If you select Consecutive for a Unit Type it gives an employee the ability to select multiples of the Requestable Item's Unit and Leave Type in a row and to be considered as part of a single Slot.


If you select Weeks for a Unit, then you get the menu item Week Type with options for Calendar or Working.  Calendar means a period of 7 consecutive days starting on the Week Start day that is configurable when you select Calendar.  Working week means a set of on days between periods of regular days off.


Other Requestable Item options include:  

Selecting Home Shift instead of the default of full day leaves.  If this is selected then approved leaves will be Home Shift  leaves instead of Full Day leaves.

Selecting Expand Leave Request to Adjacent Off Days adds leave to Regular Days Off before, after or Within a selected leave request.  When this box is selected, the options for what adjacent Regular Days Off to modify and what leave type to use on the Regular Days Off.

Selecting Can Add Notes allows the employee requesting leave to add a note to the leave request.

6) Vacation Planning Steps


Open Enrollment is when everybody in a group of people get select vacation picks at the same time without knowing what leave requests those who are more senior to them select.  For Workloud to automatically adjudicate leave selections Quotas, Leave Balances and a Vacation Planning Approval Builder Algorithm must be set up.  However, Open Enrollment Steps can be used to capture employee leave requests for manual adjudication without the additional set up steps.  

Active Pick is similar to passing around a calender in order of who gets to pick first (usually seniority order).  Each employee in turn gets to make leave request selections and once they are done with their selections, the next person in line gets to make their selections knowing which days/weeks are still available based on what has already been selected before them.  In order for Active Pick to work, Quotas and Leave Balances must be set up.

Multiple Vacation Planning Steps may be selected based on your scheduling guidelines.

7)  Enrollment Period Duration and Time After Previous Step


Each Step needs an Enrollment Period Duration, which means how long that step lasts, or in the case of Active Pick, how long each employee gets to make their selections.

If their multiple steps, the Time After Previous Step is the time between these steps which cannot run concurrently.

8)  Employees


In order for employees to be able to select Vacation Planning leave requests they must be included in the Vacation Planning Definition in the employees section of the appropriate step(s).  You can select individual employees, employee groups or by checking the box next to Include All Organizational Unit Employees to include everybody.

Each step can have a different set of employees which may be used if different groups of employees have different rules.  As an example if employees with 20 or more years of seniority can take 3 weeks of leave during the initial round and those with less than 20 years can take only 2 weeks.  Keep in mind that the different steps do not happen concurrently so the entire Enrollment Period Duration must expire before the next step can start.

9)  Notify (within a Vacation Planning Step)


Similar to being able to notify Employees and/or supervisor when a Vacation Plan starts or ends, you can use the Notify functionality within each Vacation Planning Step to let employees and or supervisors when the step that is relevant to them begins or ends.  This may be particularly important for Active Pick when if configured to can change based on the actions of employees who pick before them.  Notification Rules need to be configured in order to get the most benefit out of the Notification functionality.

10)  Active Pick step additional options


Only the Employee Base Schedule On Days option makes it so the Enrollment Period for the Active Pick step does not start for that employee on a day off.  So if it is that employee's turn on a off day, they do not have to log into Workloud on that off day in order to make their selections.

Early Commit Button Available for Employees option allows the employee making a selection to commit their selections (pass the calendar) before the end of the Enrollment Period so the next employee in line can begin making selections early either have more time to make selections or get through the Active Pick round quicker.

When Early Commit Button Available for Employees is selected, the field Adjust Next Employee's Window  field is available with 2 options; Keep Original End Time and Slide Window Left.  

-Keep Original End Time allows the next employee to start their picks earlier, but keeps the end of their Enrollment Period the same, extending the total time for making picks.  

-Slide Window Left, keeps the same Employee Request Period Duration, but moves up the start of that period to the time the previous employee commits their selections.  The end of the period would then come more quickly or the entire period shifts or slides along a time-line instead of just growing larger. 


Order By sets the order of employees to select leave within that Active Pick Step.  You can select multiple Order By criteria to break ties and each criteria can be in assending or decending order.

11)  Add New Request Profile


Each Vacation Planning Step must have at least 1 Request Profile and may have more if their is a desire to split up Slots to have different rules or adjudicated differently when being approved.

Each Request Profile must have at least one Slot and there is no reasonable limit to the number of Slots. As defined above, each Slot is a unique request that will be considered before the next Slot but will not prevent the next slot from being approved (if the employee still has enough balance).  When using Open Open Enrollment, Each Slot has a defined number of Preferences that are given a defined order by the employee.  Within a Slot once the highest priority Preference that is able to be approved is adjudicated, the other Preferences within that Slot are rejected.

Each Slot also has a defined set of Requestable Items and can be different or the same from Slot to Slot.  This can be useful if employees can select only vacation with their first 2 slots and only Holiday with their next 2 slots.  These different slots can be separated to different Request Profiles  or within 1 Request Profile.  Another use for this is separating Slots between full weeks individual days.

Each Request Profile (when using Open Enrollment only) can handle balance validation separately with the option Apply Balance Validation at Request.  If this is checked, the employee will not be able to make a selection on a slot if the employee does not have enough balance at the time of request for any of the available Requestable Items within that Slot.  This validation assumes that the leave requests in the Slots above are approved. 


Planning Strategy

Planning out how Vacation Planning leave requests will get collected and approved is important to do before creating a Vacation Planning Definition.  There are many options and taking a holistic view of the entire process can help in coming up with the best plan for your needs.

The order of what Vacation Planning leave requests are approved can be determined by having multiple Vacation Planning steps, multiple Request Profiles with a step, Multiple instantiations with the same or different Vacation Planning Definitions, or if using Open Enrollment, by the Vacation Planning Approval Builder

First it is important to determine if you need Open Enrollment  or Active Pick or some combination there of; as that will help determine the rest of the plan.  Also, you must determine what order approvals will be made in.  Here are some questions to consider when creating a Vacation Plan.

1)  Does the most senior employee get whatever they want or are they limited to a certain number of Slots before the next most senior person's picks are considered?  

2)  Are there multiple rounds so that in the first round, each employee gets to select 2 weeks to ensure that everybody gets something they want before a second round where employees get another set of leave requests approved?

3)  Do leave requests get adjudicated between the rounds so that employees can see what is still available when it is their turn to make selections?  Or do employees make all of their selections at once and rounds are done purely in the approval process (an option with Open Enrollment)?

4)  Do some rounds or Slots within a round have different rules?  

5)  Do different groups of employees have different rules that apply to them?

6)  How many Slots do employees need to have available at each step?  If you determine that you are going to use Open Enrollment  for all or part of your Vacation Planning Definition, how many Preferences within each slot should be available?  Too many Preferences and can be unnecessary and do not look as user friendly from the employee's perspective, but too few and employees may not get leave approved.

Workloud Pro Tip:  If you need to allow employees to transfer during vacation planning, there is no way to add an employee to a current instantiation after it has been started (or remove an employee from a current instantiation).  You will need to have a workflow in place to handle transfers that happen during the vacation planning process.  Things to consider:

  • What quota(s) does the transferring employee need to be part of?
  • What to do with leave requests already approved?  Request but not yet approved?

Leave requests for the new employee can be added manually by an admin to the Vacation Planning Instantiation before the approval builder is run (and removed from the old instantiation)

Note:  If using Active Pick, there is no way to add get the employee’s picks considered during that round of vacation planning.

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