How to Develop an Optimized Staffing Plan

As you are developing and building your business one of the most important factors is the team around you. To make sure that you pick the right people for the right staffing level and most approriate role, whether it be full time or freelance or anything in between, a good start can be to create a so-called staffing plan. By developing a solid plan and hiring the right talent you can ensure that your business will grow.

Great staffing plans does not only allow you to employ the people with the right skills but will also help you find people that are compatible with the business culture. It is also important to make sure that the people hired will be harmonious with external partners.

To help you develop a staffing plan so that you can maintain and hire the right people we have provided these 5 steps.

1. Establish Goals from the Start

The first step is to ensure employee engagement. Communication is major, and this will help establish goals for the workforce plan and these goals have to be in alignment with the business plan. The general goals for the business are therefor the foundation for the goals of any staffing plans.

What are the goals of our business? It is a question that should always be on your mind when developing the plan. From there, the only way to develop the plan is to try and fulfill those goals. So does the company need to hire new personnel at a new location to reach the goals of the business? Does the company need to hire a new head of customer relations to ensure that the customers are happy? Those were just some examples of questions to ask and to have in consideration when developing goals for the workforce plan.

The goals of the business are often an important part of the organization's strategic plan, which is a good place to start to ensure that the business is going in the right direction.

2. Pinpoint Problem Areas

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The next step in developing the plan would be to examine external factors that might affect the availability of people. A good place to start your research would be to use large statistical databases. These are usually available for each country and there is often information on labor cost, unemployment rate and the number of job openings.

There are probably databases available for state or local regions as well that might come in handy when trying to grasp the statistics. These databases might also provide information on the market as well as how the market is developing. All the numbers and data that you can collect will help you when assessing the availability of personnel on the market. This will then be great groundwork when deciding who to hire and at what time.

3. Identify Absolute Business Needs

All though hiring people externally is a necessity sometimes, one option is to look at the internal talent that is already within the organization. Educating people internally can be a great solution since they already know the ropes of the organization. This means that a good start can be to asses the current personnel of the company and see if the demanded expertise already exists.

Another option instead of hiring is to outsource the work to either freelancers or consultants that possess the expertise that is needed.

Whether you decide to hire someone new or acquiring expertise by som the means, you should always ask if the competence is needed in the short term or long term. It is also important to take the process and cost into account if you decide to hire someone internally. Will they need further education to be able to fill the position? Will the person hired need to be replaced? The process of hiring both internally and externally is costly and it is therefore important to evaluate the situation/reason behind the need for new competence.

4. Lead Gap Analysis

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A gap analysis is quite simple, you analyze what the company currently has and compare that to
what you currently need. The comparison will create a difference and this is called the gap. If you find gaps in your organizations it is important to take the necessary actions to fill this space.

You will then have to assess why these gaps exist, is it due to lack of development or training for a specific position? If this is the case you will need to educate or apply better training for the position and include this in your staffing plan. Another reason for a gap might be seasonal trends, if this is the case, hiring a temporary workforce might be the right solution.

By asking questions such as; Do we need to educate or implement more training for a specific position? or Do we experience a gap due to seasonal demand? You will not only be able to find the gap but also possible solutions to your problem.

5. Put it All Together

The final part of the staffing plan is to use the information gathered in the previous steps to create an actual executable plan. The plan should cover all departments and different groups of the organization. For larger companies, the plan can be broken down into smaller sub-plans for each division or department, but these smaller plans should then be merged into a single plan.

To develop a staffing plan of high quality it is required to have an organization-wide endeavor. You will need to involve managers and leaders throughout the organizations. This will allow for input from all parts of the organizations which is the key to developing a great staffing plan.

An example of this might be when the HR department is developing a new job description. The first step in this process should be to involve the manager from the position in question. This is important since the corresponding manager usually has more knowledge of the required skills and can, therefore, make sure the most fitting skills are included in the description.

A good tip is to work with shared documents like, for example, Google Docs or dedicated scheduling software so that everyone included in the process can add comments and inputs. This also allows the manager of HR to compare the needs of other departments and asses if the talent needed already exists within the organization.

If the right person already exists in the organization it might be the most cost-effective solution to hire them in a new position to fill the needs of the organization. A clear example of this might be if the production department needs a new shift manager. The right move here might be to promote someone working in the production. The man/woman might have great knowledge of
the production process and is familiar with the current workforce which means that they do not need to be trained on educated in those areas.

But whatever the situation might be, the right people need to be involved in the process so that the organization has all the information needed to take these important decisions. And this can only occur if the different departments have discussions and cooperate, communication is key here.

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