Your workforce is your most important asset. Whether you provide a product or service, the quality of your offerings hinges on having skilled and engaged employees. Securing or maintaining that sort of talent is challenging even in a calm market, but you can smooth bumps in the road with a carefully planned staffing strategy.
A great staffing plan can help you to anticipate employment changes ahead of time, more easily make hiring decisions, streamline transitions, and even improve productivity through training. Building a plan will require more than a little internal and external research, but today we’re walking you through each step.
Need an example staffing plan to get an idea of what this entails? We’ll do you one better. Download our free staffing plan template and start mapping out your organization’s needs today.
1. Identify Your Organization’s Business Goals
Optimizing your staffing plan starts with a look at the big picture. By pinpointing your business’s short and long-term objectives and aligning your plan to those goals, you’ll be making it easier to determine your staffing needs both now and down the road.
When you’re outlining your business goals, be sure to consider the following factors:
New projects, products, and initiatives. Not only could these mean additional staff is necessary, but knowing what’s coming can help you pinpoint needed skill sets.
Upcoming strategic changes. Shifting to remote or hybrid work, returning to the old office or opening a new one, and organizational restructuring will all impact your staffing needs.
Any new tools, technology, or platforms you might be planning to adopt, as well as the skills needed to use them. New technology like AI is changing the way many jobs are done. If you’re planning on adopting a new tool, not only will you need to consider how it will affect how much staff you need overall, but you’ll also need to plan to close skill gaps that these new tools open.
Clear-cut goals for metrics like productivity, sales, and customer satisfaction. Factors like these can help when deciding staffing needs later.
Recruiting and retention. Is your business expanding, staying the course, or possibly looking to shrink? Be sure to consider these factors in both the short and long term.
2. Audit Your Current Staffing Layout, Top to Bottom
Next up, you’ll want to take a critical look at your current workforce. Here’s the information you’ll need:
Workforce demographics, including basics like how many employees you have and finer details like tenure, age data, and hiring and turnover rates. Knowing when to expect retirement or turnover can help with anticipating future staffing needs.
Job description data. Familiarize yourself with what roles are available, what work is being done, and what skills are necessary to complete tasks.
Employee skill sets. Chart out which skills are available in abundance at your organization and which skills are more in demand – this is your skill gap analysis. Be sure to include skill sets that may become necessary due to new positions opening or new tools or tech being adopted.
Performance data. While low performance is obviously something you’ll want to pay close attention to and address with additional training, make a note of high performers, too. Recognize their efforts, consider them for promotions, and be aware that they could be snatched up by other businesses in your industry.
Depending on the size of your organization, this could be the most difficult part of the process, but it’s still crucial. Utilizing software that centralizes and aggregates this information for you can make this task a whole lot easier.
3. Map Out Realistic Staffing Needs
Once you know your organization’s goals and current staffing situation, use that information to forecast your staffing needs. Predictive analytics tools can be a great help here, as such software can quickly pinpoint potential trends in employee habits, productivity and turnover that could be useful for you.
You’ll want to look at:
Internal business needs. Knowing your company’s plans for the future, do you anticipate new positions opening or old ones becoming obsolete? Do you have departments that have a surplus of talent or ones that need a helping hand? You may find that you need to create new positions, consolidate old ones, or arrange training.
Internal trends for retirement, leave, and retention. Given this information, do you think you will have enough staffing to tackle your business goals? You may need to make plans to fill upcoming gaps.
Skill gaps. Utilize that skill gap analysis you made when you audited your current staffing plan to identify hiring and training needs. Keep in mind that a gap in skills doesn’t necessarily mean a new hire is necessary, according to Harvard Business Review, 68% of workers worldwide are willing to retrain their skills.
Internal employee needs. How is engagement at your company? What are your turnover rates? Are you offering competitive salaries and/or benefits packages that provide access to services your employees find useful? Changes may be necessary to improve retention.
Internal candidate availability. Your top performers make great candidates for promotion.
External candidate availability. Familiarize yourself with market and hiring trends for the skills you might want. You’ll want to know whether a role is in high demand or not.
Your competitors. An important part of your staffing strategy will be making sure you’re market competitive. Research current roles, compensation offerings, and growth in your industry, not just internally.
4. Build and Implement an Organic Strategy, Not a Monolithic One
By mapping out goals, current assets, and needs, you've already done the bulk of the work for creating a staffing plan.
Update or create policies for succession and training for all positions to ease transition after retirement, promotion, or turnover.
Outline how hiring, promotion, and staff reduction decisions should be made if such policy doesn’t exist already, or bring those policies better in line with your company’s goals or values, if necessary.
Track all current and anticipated positions. Identify their budget requirements, skill needs, and current hires in those positions.
Take another look at your job descriptions. Part of your plan should involve ensuring that role responsibilities and expectations are well-defined, realistic, and clear.
Plan how gaps will be filled. Work with leadership to determine whether you will meet your staffing needs with new recruits or internal training and promotion.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. While you’ll certainly need something that fits your organization’s unique needs, you don’t need to start from square one. There are plenty of example staffing plans available online. Use a staffing plan template like the one we’re providing here as a jumping off point to build something that suits your needs!
Update it regularly. A staffing plan should be a living policy, one that grows and changes as your company does. Don’t treat it as a monolith, unchanging once complete. Be open to reviewing and revising it at least annually to keep it optimized.