5 Simple Steps to Optimize Your Employee Staffing Plan

In the case of an organization that's experiencing substantial growth, one of the most critical issues to consider is a good staffing plan. The use of a systematized process will ensure that the staffing plan is functional and that the business secures the right personnel with the right skills, ultimately leading to a direct hire.

Whether an organization is concerned with creating new positions for seekers or scaling their workforce, the staffing plan is imperative. Creating a cohesive staffing plan not only ensures that all talent requirements are addressed within the HR department, but it guarantees that departments agree so they can recruit candidates that best fit the organization.

The staffing plan ought to consider more than changes in the number of personnel. It should qualify the skills and intellectual resources the organization needs while remaining mindful of the interplay between internal and external requirements. Transitory issues, such as the recent increase in labor costs and labor lawsuits should be considered, as well as opportunities to increase profitability and reduce turnover that may arise during the process of creating the staffing plan.

There are five simple steps for generating a solid staffing plan that will help identify gaps between needs and existing resources, thus meeting its business objectives.

1. Determine Objectives and Goals

The staffing plan must work in harmony with the established business plan. Aspects to consider are the organization's plan for growth, actual personnel requirements, sales goals and forecasts, the requirements of new divisions or outlets, and customer service obligations.

These requirements are usually detailed in the business's strategic plan in a general way. This can provide a good working template or guide when aligning talent needs with the anticipated needs of the organization.

The plan should also determine whether staffing companies will be providing staffing services. Although they can prove to be very helpful in the talent-seeking process, utilizing a staffing company is not a sure-guarantee. Review the agency's reviews before signing off on contracts.

2. Assess Availability of Talent and Influencing Factors

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The next step is to identify factors that stand to influence the accessibility of needed talent. Large organizations typically consult relevant data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while smaller, local or regional businesses often review data available from news sources, government databases, chambers of commerce, business publications and trade associations.

Some of these entities provide curated data that is specifically tailored to aid businesses in various modes of research, and to provide up-to-date market developments. Such data might cover new businesses that have moved into an area, or large organizations that are either substantially increasing or decreasing their workforces. These are all factors which influence the availability of talent.

3. Determine Functional Needs

Not all personnel requirements will dictate the immediate engagement of new statutory employees. It will be necessary to determine which of the organization's personnel needs might be addressed internally (i.e., through promotions or transfers).

Could training programs or mentoring aid current employees in moving into new or vacated positions? Are the required skills and personnel needed indefinitely, or are these really short-term requirements?

Consultants, freelancers or independent contractors may be engaged to meet certain needs, which can also mitigate a degree of the organization's financial liability.

A thorough assessment of the specific skills and abilities needed and those the organization may already have among established personnel will go a long way toward crafting a staffing plan that meets functional needs and complements the business plan.

4. Perform a Gap Analysis

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The gap analysis weighs what the organization currently has against what it needs. This "gap" represents what the organization has to fill in terms of talent.

Here, it is important to consider how these gaps came about. This process could, for example, reveal a deficiency in current training and development policies, giving managers the opportunity to revamp such policies. If the gaps are due to seasonally heavy workloads, again, temporary workers, freelancers, or consultants might be engaged during those periods.

The gap analysis differs from the functional need analysis in that the former is more of a snapshot that can expose operational deficiencies. This analysis could also include surveying workers and managers in order to reveal gaps, as well as potentially uncovering solutions for filling them.

5. Craft the Plan

Once the previous steps have been completed, they can be distilled into the actual staffing plan to acquire job seekers. The plan should encompass all relevant workgroups, departments, and divisions, and summarize all evaluations and analyses conducted in Steps 1 through 4. Larger organizations may opt for conducting these assessments by division, then merging them into a master staffing plan.

Clear communication among managers and across departments is crucial to drafting a high-quality staffing plan and requires solid organizational leadership. Hiring and HR managers, as well as budgeting managers, will be integral to the process, in order to ensure that the staffing plan supports both the business plan and the organization's short- and long-term objectives.

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