How to Weather the Storm of Unfilled Digital Vacancies

Recruitment | 4 MIN READ

Digital vacancies are notoriously difficult to fill, with 68% of businesses needing help finding the talent they need. This void can significantly impact your business, from reduced productivity and missed deadlines to increased stress and burnout of your employees.

However, there are ways to navigate the challenges of digital vacancies successfully. I explain the five primary impacts of unfilled digital roles on your business and provide practical tips for keeping your team on track, even when short-staffed, which include:

Report finds employers struggle to fill digital vacancies as only one in 10 workers possess the skills

Employee morale

It's not uncommon that when digital jobs are vacant, existing team members often have to pick up the slack. The experience is often morale-crushing, leading to stress, frustration, and, sadly, talent exodus. While it's sometimes impossible to avoid giving people more work, it's important to remember the human cost of short staffing.

There are ways to negate the negativity that comes from having to fill the boots of others.

One way to boost morale is simply showing your team that you see and appreciate their hard work. Even a small gesture, like a handwritten thank-you note or a public shout-out, can go a long way. A study found that employees were 40% more engaged when they had managers who recognised their work efforts.

When your team feels valued and supported, they're more likely to stay motivated and engaged, even when short staffing is causing issues -

Other simple methods to keep people motivated include:

  • Small rewards
  • More one-to-one check-ins
  • Highlighting team member efforts across the business
  • Being flexible with work arrangements
  • Encouraging the importance of taking breaks

Staff burnout

Staff burnout is a real risk for employees but is preventable. Burnout is common in roles with increased workloads, which will happen when a team is short-staffed and scrabbling around to wear multiple hats.

Burnout is like a marathon, not a sprint. To go the distance, people need to take breaks and refuel. Encourage your team to use their holiday time and recharge their batteries. They'll be more productive and focused at work when they're well-rested.

As well as annual leave, there are other ways to help team members avoid burnout; these include:

  • Task prioritisation
  • Being realistic with deadlines
  • Delegating effectively
  • Recognising the signs
  • Seek regular feedback

Skills gap

In today's rapidly changing digital landscape, it's essential to have a team with the skills to keep up. But with digital roles being challenging to fill, how can businesses ensure they have the talent they need?

  • Online learning: Online platforms offer a wide range of courses on digital skills, from the basics of coding to more advanced topics like data science and machine learning. The vast array of available options makes it a flexible and affordable way for your team to learn new skills at their own pace.
  • Specialist training: If you need to train your team in a specific skill or technology, consider engaging a specialist trainer. This move can be a great way to get your team up to speed quickly and efficiently.
  • Conferences and workshops: Conferences and workshops are another great way for your team to learn from experts in the field, network with other professionals, and get inspired by new ideas.

Upskilling your team is like giving them a superpower. It helps them stay ahead of the curve, learn new things, and grow as professionals.

Emma Couling

Employees who feel like they're learning and growing are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. So, if you want to keep your team happy and productive, invest in increasing their skills. It's one of the best things you can do for your business.

Emma Couling, Head of Recruitment

Missing deadlines

When people cover a short-staffing issue, their workload can feel like a runaway train. But don't let them panic. With some creativity, it's possible to re-prioritise your work and get the most important things done. Get your people to take a step back and assess what's essential and what can wait. Be realistic about deadlines, and don't hesitate to ask for help. Remember, it's better to do a few things well than to try to do everything and miss the mark.

Once you've set your priorities and deadlines, communicate them to your team and stakeholders. Doing so helps everyone be on the same page and work together to achieve their goals. When you're short-staffed, it's essential to focus on the essentials. Like a laser beam, you must cut through the clutter and focus on the most critical tasks.

When it comes to missing deadlines:

  • Be realistic and plan thoroughly
  • Prioritise ruthlessly
  • Communicate effectively
  • Minimise distractions
  • Learn how to say 'no' (sometimes)
  • Manage time effectively
  • Build-in buffer time
  • Utilise calendars, task managers, etc.

Hard-to-fill roles

It's not a well-recognised fact, but digital specialist contractors are the superheroes of the digital world. They can help you to overcome challenges and achieve your goals. They can help you fill the gaps, upskill your team members, launch new products and services quickly, and bring fresh perspectives and new ideas.

Hiring digital specialist contractors can be a game-changer, but only if you do it right. Be clear about your needs, set realistic deadlines, communicate regularly, and treat your contractors like gold. These tips can build strong relationships with your contractors and achieve your business goals.

Emma Couling

Hiring digital specialist contractors is a great way to get the necessary skills and flexibility. Contractors will fill the gaps, train team members, and launch new projects quickly and efficiently.

Emma Couling, Head of Recruitment

Need help with digital recruitment?

Using tech to manage an increased workload

Automation is a must-have for teams who want to do more with less. It's like having a robot army working for you, freeing up your team to focus on the more crucial things.

Digital marketing is full of tasks that can be automated, from scheduling social media posts to sending email newsletters. Don't just automate the tasks that you find boring or tedious. Automate the tasks that are time-consuming or error prone. These types of functions will have the most significant impact on your team's efficiency and productivity.

Then, there is the advent of AI. Tools like Gemini and ChatGPT can be valuable assets in managing an increased workload by:

  • Automating repetitive tasks: Freeing up your time for more strategic and creative work by handling data entry, report generation, scheduling, and other repetitive tasks with improved speed and accuracy.
  • Providing real-time information and insights: Analysing vast amounts of data to identify trends, patterns, and potential issues enabling you to make data-driven decisions and prioritise effectively.
  • Generating creative text formats: Assisting with content creation tasks like writing emails, reports, marketing copy, or even code, saving you time and effort while injecting new ideas and perspectives.
  • Improving communication and collaboration: Facilitating communication across teams and languages, summarising key points from large documents, and translating languages in real-time, fostering smoother collaboration and knowledge sharing.

If your team still needs to automate tasks, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to reduce workload stress.

Final thoughts

Unfilled digital vacancies are like a dark cloud hovering over businesses. They can lead to increased workloads, low morale, burnout, and missed deadlines. But don't despair! There are several things companies can do to reduce the impact of empty digital roles, as mentioned in this blog.

Remember, you're not alone in this. Many businesses struggle to find digital specialists. So, don't be afraid to reach out for advice and support.

Let's weather this storm together and come out stronger on the other side!

Need a digital marketing specialist? Our Recruitment Services is the perfect partner for you! We have a wide pool of vetted digital marketing specialists ready to join your team and help you achieve your goals. Whether you need to fill a gap in your team or upskill your existing employees, we can help. Contact us today to learn more!