Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Absences Part 2: Coordination/Permission

Folks -

The other part of our challenge with absences (see Absences Part 1: Responsibility/Authority Coverage) is how to handle scheduling planned absences - vacation - within the construct of Holacracy.

My perception based on both H1 trainings, forums, articles and 3+ years of practice tell me that the bulk of "HR" type requirement & responsibility is generally handled in most organizations via agreements that work alongside / in tandem with Holacracy.

Things like requesting PTO (paid time off) and having it approved or denied seems very difficult to accomplish via governance. Related business items generally handled in "HR" departments like compensation, benefits, training, and performance evaluation are similarly complex. We're getting closer to something functional but are eager for ideas about coordinating absences.

How do other organizations handle planning & scheduling of absences?

Your input would be very helpful!

1 Replies
Fritz von Allmen

I can share some topics we dealt with. We succeded where the topics had no negative financial impact on the company - and failed everywhere where it could have

Sabbatical / Unpaid vacation

Basically, I inform all Circles I have a role and see if there are any tensions. After that I trigger HR/Payroll, but they just "execute" (no management-like decision needed anywhere). I've never heard of a problem here; people know there is a high risk the person requesting time off will leave the company if the request would be denied.

Reducing or increasing pensum (workload)

I just reduced my working time for personal reasons. Basically same procedure like sabbatical. Inform, look for potential problems (tensions), execute.

Our company knows a construct called home-circles. Simplified, this is where my salary is paid from. The Lead Link (in charge of this resource) had to agree formally, but it came clear he basically cannot have a real tension with my wish to reduction since I could prove to him the reduction had now impact on the organisation (since I just finished a project). Therefor I knew this was more like a formal procedure; in fact I decided myself about my pensum.


So far I have not met a coworker that tried the other way (increasing pensum), but i'm convinced it works just as well (condition: you can proove the organisation has a benefit from it, meaning there is work to do and the resources are available)

We completely failed with compensation/benefits, also training and performance evaluation. IMHO the reason is simple: those topics are related and its about (loosing/spending/distributing) money.

Tough issues; maybe some things really are easier if you have a line manager making those calls

I would like to hear some other "apps" how others solved those issues