Executive positions in organizations are extremely pivotal in the smooth running of a company. To be precise, executives are the cornerstones of business – they offer support and guidance and they help keep the lights on as it were.
While it is easy to say that open roles cost money, I find that sometimes executive roles aren't viewed with the same urgency as say a territory sales manager. My guess is that there is a much more direct correlation between open sales roles and lost revenue.
But, I want you to consider all of the ways unfilled executive roles negatively impact things. It goes beyond just the hiring costs and some extra duties shuffled around.
5 Ways Unfilled Executive Roles Hurt You
Revenue loss is a bit of a no-brainer. In the residential building products industry as well as in any other industry, when you lose someone, you lose some money. It happens!
But how it happens is sometimes a little less known:
- Decreased output – when an executive leaves, you may opt to divide their duties among other employees. It looks like a smart decision at first. But, having employees take over unfamiliar tasks is detrimental. It disrupts what the employee is actually responsible for, creates chaos and forces the employee to learn with minimal training and which they may not have the bandwidth or talents for. In the short-term, it can be OK but it isn't efficient.
- Delayed revenue – executives in charge of growing and retaining revenue are a huge asset. When their positions are open, you are not growing and you might be losing ground. Sales will likely dip or at best you might just hold your ground. But it takes time to get someone new up to speed so these costs continue past your new hire's start date.
- Corporate assets and equipment under-utilization or depreciation. Computers, equipment, and vehicles continue to age and depreciate. Software licenses go unused while still costing you money. You have all of these things for a reason and every day they aren't in use is basically money in the garbage. It isn't a huge priority, but you should take it into consideration when you have openings.
Open vacancies can translate into extra workload as we discussed. But in addition to what we talked about, it can cause many other issues. When people are taking on more work, they have less room for natural growth so you will have less internal expansion and possibly miss out on some innovation and creativity. Stressed employees may have higher sick and absenteeism rates and your efficiency and efficacy will dip.
Overworked employees won't be paying close attention, so there might be more mistakes. You will probably have to be more selective in sending employees to training, seminars, and workshops.
And, you stand the chance of losing a few employees after the executive leaves. They might tire of the changed atmosphere or extra work, they might not have the opportunities for promotion they used to or they simply may follow the executive where they went.
Morale and Culture Losses
With any turnover, the atmosphere changes. It can be uplifting in the case of a toxic employee or bad management. Or, it can be sad or frustrating. The second option is frankly more likely. When someone well liked leaves, it is an emotional loss as well. Employees may have a hard time processing their feelings and may exhibit bad behavior or just be unable to produce at their previous levels.
If the executive was training and mentoring junior employees, they may feel a bit adrift. And if employees feel overworked, they may be stressed out and frustrated. Workers with low morale are more likely to look for new job opportunities.
Additional Financial Losses
Every employee is an investment of time and resources. Finding, recruiting, hiring and training a new employee costs money.
Also, you have to think about what it costs to have an employee leave – did they have vacation, sick time or PTO coming to them. Do you have to pay out the remainder of a contract or health benefits? It isn't like when someone leaves it is just free. HR and your other managers spend time and energy finishing and submitting paperwork, managing dates, etc.
Lastly, most employees want to improve their financial position with each career move they make. You might have to look at significantly increasing your starting salary to entice and hire the right candidate.
Executives are high power employees and they usually impact a lot of different areas of your business. Losing an executive can cost you across the board. A drop in business plus lost expertise, reputation issues, customer dissatisfaction, market valuation, reduced stock values and future earnings potential are just a few of the other things you need to consider.
How you handle their leaving and how quickly you fill the role can ameliorate some of these losses, but not completely get rid of them.
Losing an executive is difficult for many tangible and non-quantifiable ways. Make sure you work to quickly fill the gaps when you receive a resignation.