If you have more than 1 level of approval for leave application, it is normally inherited from the paper-base process. Do you know, it is better to switch from multiple level to just 1 level approval when you digitalize the process?
Issues with multiple level approval
When it is a paper-based process, you would need to inform both HR and the boss. When you have 2 to 3 levels of structure, it slows down the process and the staff will not know whether the leave has been approved or not and might go ahead with taking the leave despite it might not have been approved. Another common problem with multiple level approval is that no one would bear the responsibility in making the decision because it is a group decision.
If you are thinking to digitalize it and solve this, we should change the process. Only one person should be given the authority to decide if an employee's leave will be approved - and normally it's the direct manager.
Why do you need top management to approve? They need to know which employee is not around. Great, now our system gives you a better tool - you can login and check the calendar to know who is on leave and who is not, and you can’t achieve it if you use paper-based process. Furthermore, you might forget that you have signed the paper to approve your employee's leave.
Why do you need HR to approve? HR is more for informing purposes, and if needed, HR rejects it. HR can also login anytime and reject a leave.
Therefore, the right way to solve this using a digital way, is to have just one approval. Top management and HR have a tool to login and perform their tasks too. If all of them are in the approval process, it will SLOW DOWN the process, and also NO ONE would bear the responsibility in the company.
Another common question: I don’t trust the managers to approve employees' leaves.
Answer: This is actually a serious HR issue. If they are not the right people to manage the team, then who else can it be? If they are really not, why are they the manager?