Unfilled Job Vacancies Are Costing Your Business
This morning I was having a coffee with one of my recruiters and she was telling me that a senior manager she’s known for a few years was on the market again. My Accounting Recruiter piped up that she had just interviewed the Financial Controller from the same company. Both of these people leaving at the same time would be a savage blow as they were both in important leadership positions and the thought of it made me squirm. I really felt for the Managing Director who I had met a year ago at a local networking lunch. At the time I remember the Managing Director telling us his Operations Manager had moved overseas and he felt his leadership team could easily cover the duties and he saw it as a good way of saving money.
I’ve made decisions like this in the past so I know where he’s coming from but the consequences to these decisions are a slow burn and they aren’t easy to identify even at time of impact. I’m sure the Financial Controller will have a reason like “career progression” or “I’ve been offered the role of my dreams so I couldn’t decline” and the Customer Service Manager will be motivated to say something else to the Managing Director at time of resignation but the core of it will be that they have been covering their ex colleagues role for too long and they’re burnt out and tired.
A quick google search will have you come up with a number of different ways to measure lost revenue and the real dollar cost of a chronically unfilled vacancy. Depending on the seniority it could be upwards of $1 million a year so if you look at it from this perspective, their salary and the time cost of recruiting the role becomes less significant. It’s an exercise worth doing to keep you motivated to get the position filled if you have any currently outstanding vacancies.
There are so many other factors to consider besides loss of revenue including your products time to market, customer impacts, dropped competitive advantage, market perception vulnerability, increased management time and training and high cost consultants to either fill in or fix up.
Job seekers share team impact stories with recruiters like us all the time. We know overwork leads to stress, absenteeism, presenteeism, errors in the workplace, safety risks, added pressure to already peak performing staff, staff grievances and even heightened union activity.
It also puts pressure on Line Managers who become more sensitive to performance managing their under performers. With poor performers in a team as well as unfilled vacancies it is very hard to climb back from a customer perspective. Company brand and reputation is damaged and it’s difficult to retrieve. Studies show we are hard wired to see the negative rather than the positive. If you have a bad experience with a company it sticks for years.
Top performers are the first to leave because they don’t want to be forced to do their job badly. And that’s what we’re seeing. They’re loyal to a degree but they end up on the market. Check in with your staff regularly and make sure they are not only coping, but remaining at the top of their game. And have a look at what positions in your business might have been vacant for too long. Then, get some rigour around the hiring process so they don’t end up in the “too hard” basket. Believe me it will be worth your while.
By the way presenteeism is defined as attending work when unwell, often because of insecurity.