empty accounting desk

The Cost Of An Unfilled Position

Just how much do you think it’s costing you and your company to have that empty chair in your office unfilled? Think that it’s really not costing you anything, that in fact you are saving money, have a little more room to spread out a bit more paper, one less mouth to feed, no benefits to pay? The fact is that the cost of having a position unfilled is costing you more than you probably expect.

It’s easy to calculate the cost of vacant seats in a theater, restaurant or on a commercial airline; it’s another thing to determine the actual costs of having an empty seat in your workplace that remains unfilled by a productive employee.

The costs are at least two-fold: The “hard” cost of less work being accomplished quantitatively and qualitatively. The second, or “soft” cost, is that of the additional pressure imposed on fewer employees to get as much, if not more work done (and done well), with fewer hands co do it.

One way of determining the costs is to look at the gross earnings or revenues of your company and divide it by the number of employees. Take that number and multiply it by 365, the number of days in the year. (You also can use the number of work days per year to be a bit more conservative.) That number, including 10 federal holidays and a two-week vacation, is 241 working days per year. Do the math, and you’ll soon see the hard costs of not filling that empty chair.

Consider, too, the impact if you are billing a client per hour and that work is left undone; what are the average billable hours of your employees per year? Take the billing rate average and turn on your calculator to find out the surprising news.

Too busy to interview or too busy to NOT interview?

In the employment search business, we often hear from employers that they are just too snowed under to interview. Our “humble” retort is that they are too busy to not interview. Hard costs can be obvious. What may not be obvious is the probable erosion that is taking place among your staff to cover the hole. Here are a few termites:

  • More pressure on manager-level employees can create a work environment that generates even more stress than the additional work that is before the staff.
  • More pressure on manager-level employees can create a work environment that generates even more stress than the additional work that is before the staff.
  • More pressure on manager-level employees can create a work environment that generates even more stress than the additional work that is before the staff.
  • More pressure on manager-level employees can create a work environment that generates even more stress than the additional work that is before the staff.
  • More pressure on manager-level employees can create a work environment that generates even more stress than the additional work that is before the staff.

There are no easy answers with an economy that for the most part is bustling, and a workforce that for the most part is shrinking. But there are a couple of things you can to do to stem a negative tide.

Communicate

Communicate with your employees early and often as to the challenges facing the company due to the manpower shortage. Make it a team challenge.

Show Your Appreciation

Morale builders like having breakfast, lunch or dinner delivered can go a long way to saying “thank you” and “we are in this together.”

Interview … now!

Interviewing immediately when viable candidates come to the surface is essential. Good candidates in today’s market are gone almost as quickly as they come available. See them, let them know your interest level and get back with them without hesitating.

Demonstrate Your Commitment

As a manager, whatever you ask your staff to do, as the captain of the ship, don’t get off before anybody else. You have to turn the lights on in the morning and off in the evening so to speak. Do the math, rally the troops and work as hard as you can to get the personnel numbers where they need to be. If you don’t, the hole is only going to get deeper… and deeper faster than you think.

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