What does Backfill Position mean?

Backfilling is the act of filling a position left vacant by an employee who has been transferred to another capacity, taking a legitimate leave of absence, or quitting/losing their employment.

A new employee with the same qualifications and skill set as the previous one will fill the gap for a specific time. Backfilling a job may assure the continuity of your company's work operations, avoid downtime, and save costs.

Backfill opportunities are typically available when an employee is:

  • Sick or on vacation: When an employee becomes unwell or takes an extended vacation, they may create skill gaps that can only be filled by backfilling. Managerial jobs and tasks requiring specialised skills are especially vulnerable to this problem since organisations seldom build strategic redundancy for these positions.

  • Dismissed: Backfilling can yield either a temporary or permanent replacement when an employee is abruptly terminated or quits their position.

  • On parental leave: When an employee takes parental or pregnancy leave, they do not immediately lose their job or statutory rights. When their vacation is up, they should be able to return to their regular duties and responsibilities.

Why Is Backfilling Important?

Preparing your business to backfill jobs can be challenging, but determining why it is necessary will assist in justifying the extra effort.

  • Cost savings. When an employee is absent for any reason, their work is delegated to others. These expenses accumulate over time via a temp worker, who may be more expensive, or your regular staff take up the slack. Suppose this role requires a certain degree of competence. In that case, other workers may be unable to pick up the extra work, necessitating the aid of a higher-level employee, who is more expensive, and causing a domino effect in that person's workload, which must be picked up by someone else.

  • Lower productivity. If the present crew picks up the extra work, they will soon feel underappreciated and overworked. They may begin to dislike the absent employee or even the organisation as a whole, resulting in a poor work atmosphere. Morale will suffer, as will production.

  • Ignored tasks. It might be nearly hard to accomplish all duties and submit deliverables on time. Time-sensitive activities may be completed, but longer-term, equally critical items may continue to build up, making it difficult for the rest of the team to perform efficiently. Without a backfill, these items will ultimately be dumped into the lap of a new employee, putting them at an immediate disadvantage in their new role.

Ways to backfill positions

  • Identify vulnerable workers or situations

Identify specific jobs with no redundancy. Identify critical roles expected to become empty soon, such as when you are considering terminating a worker for incompetence, etc.

  • Create a skills database

Keep a record of each member of your workforce's talents so that you can quickly meet a backfill requirement if one emerges. A database allows you to swiftly compare an individual employee's talents to the required abilities at any point in time.

  • Hire referrals

Employee recommendations not only lessen the need to open backfill positions but are also an excellent approach to increase the quality of hire.

Employee referral tracking software makes it even easier to handle referrals and rewards. The greater the number of recommendations in your workforce, the fewer backfill positions you will need to worry about in the future.

  • Cross-train staff

Cross-training your staff helps to generate in-house redundancies that can prepare them for future backfill roles. Training subordinates, such as junior project managers, for higher-level management positions, can also be effective.

  • Continuously recruit

The finest workers are frequently passive job searchers. The idea is to network and consider what your team needs constantly. You may also utilise social media platforms like LinkedIn to find possible applicants.

  • Mixed mentorship programmes

Mentorship programmes that pair young and senior workers will help them realise their potential inside the firm and provide them with a look into the role they'll one day fill.