Speaking with our clients as regularly as we do, we understand how busy you all are. The mountain of work on your desk never seems to get any smaller despite how much you chip away at it. Along with this, recruitment is harder than ever, candidates have more choice than ever and putting the necessary time and effort seems like such a daunting task amidst everything else.
In these situations, the temptation to temporarily leave positions vacant or fill them with temp or agency staff can be great. However, waiting to fill these posts can have detrimental effects.
No one wants work-shy people in their organisation. However, adding extra workload to others by dividing the duties of a vacant decision between them can lead to rises in stress and anxiety, as well as drops in energy levels. Whilst a team might be capable of taking on extra work, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good idea to unload it on them. On top of the extra strain, it will often lead to them not having as much time to focus on their normal duties, the obvious aftermath being a drop in the quality of their work.
Increasing workloads, especially if the primary drive is saving money, can impact how much people feel their work is currently valued. Everyone wants to be viewed as a professional whose work is important enough for them to be paid to do it. Giving people unnecessary extra duties can devalue the work they already do by implying that they don’t need to spend as much time doing it. This can have an extremely negative impact on morale.
A drop in quality or lower morale could be the least of your worries should the worst case scenarios come to fruition. Overworked and undervalued is no one’s idea of a happy working life, people in this position rarely stay in their jobs for long. If leaving a vacant position adds extra strain on other members of that team, you could find yourself with two vacant positions (or more!) before too long.
Dissatisfaction amongst your people might not always come from feeling overworked. An issue with leaving a team shorthanded is that it can often leave them stuck treading water in the present rather than having time to plan for the future. This can leave non-urgent projects on hold and leave less time for innovation and change. Many will find this the most exciting part of their job and not having time for this can become increasingly frustrating and, again, lead them to begin looking elsewhere for somewhere where they will have more opportunity for the things they enjoy.
When looking at the impact of not filling empty posts, this goes beyond the impact on the staff themselves. It can leak all the way down to your residents, service users and customers. A drop in the quality of the services you provide is most keenly felt by those who use them. For many, these are vital services that have a huge influence on their health, wellbeing and quality of life. Your customers’ experiences of your service will also subsequently have a significant impact on your reputation, this can not only cause you to lose customers but also make it more difficult to recruit when you do get round to it.
Something that we are strong advocates of here at Jobsgopublic is pro-active recruitment rather than reactive recruitment. Looking ahead and preparing for the future rather than reacting to the present. Leaving a vacant position leaves you completely reliant on reactive recruitment, you’re essentially waiting until the need is greatest before addressing it. The big issue with this is that if you then have problems recruiting then you are left in a very difficult position.
It is situations like this that can leave you reliant on agency workers in order to get by. If your initial reasoning behind not recruiting right away was to save money, then this can quickly become irrelevant when faced with hefty agency fees.
If you have vacant positions in your organisation that you are delaying recruiting for then it is worth considering the reasons behind it and the potential impact that this could have. Whilst it might seem like a quick fix in terms of saving precious time or money, the repercussions could be much greater than you expected.