Navigo Blog

How to Effectively Manage Vacant Positions

Written by Lee Kennedy

Lee, Navigo's Head of Marketing, is passionate about solving operational and strategic HR issues. She is actively exploring the most efficient ways for organisations to visualise and model their workforce.

March 21, 2019

Whether your organisation structure is built around role based management or person-to-person reporting, maintaining clear visibility over vacant positions and associated KPIs is critical to making informed business decisions. A key driver for successful workforce planning is understanding the metrics around what vacant positions exist and the ‘time to fill’ for key positions.

Many organisations have zero access to basic information that they need, often turning to applicant tracking systems to improve their time to hire (and time to fill). Maintaining a simple vacant position report is a good solution for the short term, though this report is lacking helpful metrics and KPIs that highlight the areas that need attention.


Using Org Charts for Vacant Position Management

A huge portion of our customers outlined a need for a better solution to manage vacant positions, we then introduced org.manager – a solution that effectively visualises vacant positions while leveraging org chart / hierarchical based reporting. Additional charts within this platform also allow the user to better understand vacancy metrics with multiple different lenses (e.g. sunburst chart, dashboard view and data export capabilities for table based analysis).

org.manager allows companies endless options to organise their key metrics based on org units (departments, cost centres, business units, etc.), span of control and visualisation rules. Org charts allow organisations to visualise KPIs in a meaningful way, highlighting key information to make more informed business decisions based on their current landscape.


Key Metrics at your Fingertips

Examples of vacancy key metrics that are useful for reporting:

• Vacancy metrics by individual org unit or entire span of control
• Current and future vacant positions
• Position count
• Ageing of vacant positions (time to fill)
• Critical vacant positions
• Manager vacant positions


Vacancy Dashboard

Figure 1: the Dashboard View displays key metrics for selected org unit. Main metrics include vacant positions (today and in future), ageing of vacant positions and critical vacant positions.

Vacancy Org Chart

Figure 2: Org Chart View displays incumbents and vacant positions now and in the future. Ageing of vacant positions is included with colour coding. Note the visualisation rules in the left pane allow one to focus on specific metrics only, such as ‘show only vacant Manager positions’.


Not all Metrics are Created Equal

Critical Positions

It is also important to gain visibility into key metrics, as not all open positions are created alike. For example, when using a position based structure you can mark Management positions as ‘critical’. Positions that are identified as critical are generally key drivers within the organisation. Therefore, it is crucial that critical vacant positions can be identified, as long as the underlying data is supported.


Vacant Management Positions

Even if an organisation does not identify critical positions in their organisation, there is a fundamental understanding that a manager-role position may carry a greater impact due to the direct relationship involving one or more direct reports. Vacancy visualisation allows for the fast and easy identification of all open positions that involve manager-type positions. It’s essential for an organisation to effectively fill these positions to ensure their employees have proper leadership and support within their span of control.

Vacancy Sunburst

Figure 3: Sunburst Chart View guides the user on making informed business decisions based on the visualisation rules selected. In this example, the pink colour indicates positions that have been vacant for more than 30 days. The green colour indicates an org unit with no vacant positions. The blue shade for remaining departments indicates the number of vacant positions within the department – the greater the number of open positions, the darker shade of blue.


Vacant Positions: Now and in the Future

Visualising current vacant positions is a basic staple to any headcount report. To conduct more effective workforce planning (as well as succession or replacement planning), the ability to visualise future vacant headcount positions can help the organisation anticipate and manage change.

One key benefit to visualising future vacant positions includes the insight you gain for succession planning, allowing suitable successors to be identified and developed. As a result, internal employee growth and positive internal employee movement increases – greatly reducing the cost of hiring and on-boarding. This metric is identified by future-dating termination dates in the HR system of record. It is possible to create dedicated visualisations that focus on positions that will be opening in the future (and how many days until they will open up).


Time to Fill

Understanding of the average ‘time to fill’ for specific positions provides helpful insights for workforce planning. This is one of the most helpful metrics provided, creating a process for prioritising the team to focus on positions that have remained vacant beyond 30 or 60 days. For those using an application tracking system, understanding the age of vacant positions is also a key driver for successfully filling open positions.

Time to fill is also useful for workforce planning, encouraging realistic business planning (often times, companies don’t consider or simply don’t know the time to fill specific positions). By evaluating the ‘time to fill’, your organisation can effectively identify areas where processes need to be improved.

The cost of unfilled positions (whether based on ‘good’ or ‘bad’ turnover) can have an adverse impact on a company from multiple perspectives:
• Revenue costs
• Management costs
• Team costs
• Competitive advantage costs
• Customer costs
• Personnel costs


Enabling Informed Business Decisions

When creating the key approach for the org.manager vacancy report, views and visualisation filters, we consulted with organisations of all sizes. This solution is designed to support the following basic use cases to help drive informed business decisions:

• What is the percentage of vacant positions for each department?
• What current positions have not been filled for more more than 60 days?
• Where are there vacant Supervisor positions?
• Where are the critical vacant positions?
• What positions will be opening in the future that require filling?
• How can I generated a simple report that shows all vacant positions across the organisation or by specific org unit (dept, division, cost centre, etc.)?
• How can I create a simple visualisation to present a PowerPoint slide deck of vacant positions to the management team?

All of the above use cases can be easily addressed based on the org.manager solution (see example in the screenshots provided). Additional use cases can be supported if the appropriate information is provided, e.g. good vs. bad turnover based on termination codes or successors assigned to positions that are vacated or will be vacated in the future.

Vacancy execl sheet

Export HR data to Excel and view all vacant headcount positions with key metrics in a table-based report.

Vacancy Report

Export your Headcount Report on an automated schedule to Managers as a PDF document featuring a table of contents and navigation links for offline viewing.

For more information on how org.manager can help your organisation with managing your vacancies, feel free to contact us directly.


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