In today’s job market, attracting great business administration and operations candidates is critical. But so is keeping them. With the rising cost of living and employees’ desire for both flexibility and aligned values from their employers, the risk of losing top talent is high. 

Michael Gavin and Katie Birkelo, Senior Vice Presidents of Business Professionals at Randstad USA, believe that with the current job market, the time to secure great employees is now. “With today’s economic uncertainty, consumers are getting smarter, and so is talent,” Birkelo explains. “Hiring today is an investment into 2024.”

However, many organizations are waiting to backfill vacant positions in order to save money. This may be tempting in the current climate, but it can cost you — both now and in the future. Here’s how:

in the short-term

1. low morale

Losing a valued co-worker can lead to employee dissatisfaction on its own. Add on heavier workloads and overtime due to their departure and you can quickly create a negative environment. If this continues for too long, the competition may start to look more enticing to your best talent. 

“Filling your open positions can only boost morale,” Gavin shares. “This will make your organization a more attractive place to work, something that’s critical in today’s war for talent.”

48% Graphic
48% Graphic

Even when employees stay, low morale can impact productivity. In fact, in recent years, Forbes reported that happy employees are up to 20 percent more productive than unhappy ones. Plus the sentiment tends to be contagious, which means negativity could spill over into previously unaffected departments.

2. loss of productivity

When a team is short-staffed, the lack of manpower alone can derail project timelines. Plus, overworked employees will find it a challenge to function at their typical level, leading to missed deadlines and lost revenue.

Work Overload Graphic
Work Overload Graphic

This cycle will continue until you either restructure or fill the vacancy. But even when you do decide to hire, the process doesn’t happen overnight. “It’s important to remember that the typical onboarding process takes around three months,” Gavin says. “If you wait to hire, you add more time that should be spent maintaining optimal productivity.”

3. staff burnout 

When an employee leaves, their job doesn’t. That means someone has to take up the slack, even if you’re actively working to fill the role. A co-worker might take on the additional responsibility, or a team may absorb the work together. Either way, this means more work and longer hours for your employees, and potential overtime charges for you. 

The upset to expected work-life balance will certainly impact your workforce immediately, and more so over time. In fact, prolonged burnout can lead to slow-burner syndrome, which research shows is one of the most common reasons for staff turnover. 

in the long run

4. added expense 

Data from the Work Institute estimates a vacant position costs a company, on average, one-third of the lost employee’s annual salary.  Looking ahead, the cost of keeping it open will accrue over time.

To start, lost revenue from project slowdowns and overtime fees for existing employees can eat into your budget. Then, positions that sit open too long may be cut from future budgets altogether. Finally, when you do decide to fill the vacancy, the hiring process is sure to take longer than if you worked to fill the role right away. This will cost you and your teams valuable time and money. 

Plus, with today’s low unemployment rates, the talent pool is small. “This makes now the time to hire,” Gavin shares. “Demand for talent — and expected salaries — will continue to climb, so in the end you’ll pay more.”

5. brand reputation 

When you’re understaffed you also run the risk of being under-skilled. As a result, existing employees may deliver below-average customer service, have potential knowledge gaps, and communicate a perceived lack of expertise to your clients.

Cost of a bad reputation
Cost of a bad reputation

In addition, project slowdowns alone can shake customer confidence and threaten both their future loyalty and potential referrals. A tarnished brand reputation may then lead to poor talent prospects and a shrinking retention rate. 

6. hasty hiring

Waiting too long to fill a vacant position may backfire as demand for talent increases. Plus, as more time passes, you may be tempted to rush the selection process. A bad hire can wreak havoc on an already weary team through lost productivity and additional staff turnover. 

You’ll also be forced to start over at the beginning of the hiring process to both recruit and onboard their replacement.  “A poor hire can truly wind up costing you for years to come,” Birkelo says. 

If your reputation suffers as a result, you may have a hard time finding top talent willing to work for you. Gavin sees this as particularly troublesome in an uber-connected world. “Everything is online now — the good, the bad and the ugly. If you have a bad reputation, everyone will know.”

In addition, if you’re losing revenue or the position has been eliminated from your budget you may not be able to offer a competitive salary to the right person.

what you can do


When someone leaves, review exit interviews as well as meet with your remaining workforce. Identify any problems and begin making changes. If you wait too long, you may miss critical information that will serve you in the future.

plan ahead

Predict staffing needs in advance by documenting the success of current projects. Then, work with department heads to look at growth schedules and plan for the additional talent needed to meet them. 

hire smart

Reduce hiring time with a pipeline of top talent. The right partner will work with you to assess the unique needs of your business and provide solutions to help meet them.  

At Randstad Business Professionals, we offer scalability with a local lens. This means our team knows your market and taps into our global resources and expertise to help take you further. To learn more, connect with us today.