Management’s problem with Birthdays

We’re a small company that relies on a mix of older managers and younger workers.  One of the many generational differences that we see is that many of our younger employees consider their birthdays as holidays, something like July 4 or Memorial Day.  In one case an employee took two days off to celebrate their “holiday.”

As a small company we try to be as generous as possible with ‘vacation time.’  At the same time, as a small company, when one person is missing it’s a hole that is greatly felt.  On the one hand we want to be as generous and as flexible as possible, on the other time we want to have confidence in the reliability of our employees for scheduling production.

What happens is that these same employees end up with having no vacation time left by the middle of the year.  So when we tell them they don’t have any time left for that family vacation at the end of August they get upset.  Or if they ‘suddenly’ want to take days off between Christmas and New Year’s and we say “no” they call us Scrooge.

Is there a happy medium?  Is there a right and a wrong?  I do know that it’s a source of conflict.  I do know that their appreciation for having a job is not as great as their demand for time off.  I also know that their concept of communication is reduced to a random text, as opposed to actually talking with a supervisor and confirming that their message got to the right person.

We’re looking for an answer, or even a partial solution.  Any ideas out there?  Thanks in advance!


3 thoughts on “Management’s problem with Birthdays

  1. I don’t think I have ever taken my birthday off– but now that I think about it I probably should have. I now work for a large government agency so it is different– you forfeit your vacation- poof! Money gone. I always ask in advance although as a manager it is not required. I believe it us about balance. Plan ahead, ask in advance, be respectful. I would not take vacation during our busiest season. Sometimes things happen beyond control, but early calendaring is key.

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