Developing a Staffing Plan Template for Internal HR

At least once a year, HR (human resource) managers find themselves in the position of considering the type and amount of staffing support their department will need in the next year, and how those requirements will be met. Through workforce planning, the result of such consideration can give rise to a staffing plan template, which the HR professional can use whenever a new staffing plan is required. This type of resource plan is generally implemented during budget cycles to help map out and allocate costs however, they can be used any time there will be a significant alteration in the workforce.

The staffing plan generated is typically used to identify personnel additions and reductions, as well as the different skills and knowledge that the manager anticipates will be needed among potential new hires.

How to Complete an Internal HR Staffing Plan

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Whether it's a veteran HR manager, their support staff or a new HR manager on a learning curve, the process of creating the staffing plan should be more or less the same.

1. Goal Evaluation

What are the goals the organization needs to achieve? This is the first question the HR professional needs to ask; this question will provide a comprehensive picture of employee objectives that complement those goals, and the support employees will need to meet them.

Points to consider when determining objectives and goals should include

  • The organization's chief tactical and strategic goals for the year (or period the staffing plan will cover).
  • How the Human Relations department will support the intended goals.
  • What goals the manager or other HR professionals should set for themselves to ensure they're aligned with organizational goals.
  • The degree of support other functions or departments are expecting from the HR department during this period.
  • Internal goals that would be optimal to achieve this period.

2. Identifying Influencers

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Here, the HR professional will consider what factors have the potential to impact the staffing plan. Influencers can be internal or external ones and can have positive or negative effects. Generally, this speaks to any influence that might tangentially impinge on the plan but is outside the scope of the organization's influence. Examples of influencers might include significant regulatory changes, a decrease in the labor market, and the evolution of internal functions.

Resources that can provide insight for the HR professional into these influencers include labor market forces, like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), state and municipal labor statistics, and state unemployment data.

Points to consider when analyzing potential influencers should include

  • Talent availability in the current labor market
  • Regulatory changes that could affect the organization's workforce
  • Trends that may be affecting skill development - These could include social factors such as managing social media requirements, learning new skills as part of process evolution, or the implementation of new technology.
  • Technology changes that have the potential to influence the organization's demand or labor supply - This might be represented by new technologies that require training, or ones which improve efficiency, necessitating the elimination of jobs.
  • Competitors that could affect the labor supply - Whether competitors are adding or furloughing employees, this has the potential to impact the availability of labor and should be considered.
  • Economic and financial factors - These can include predicted changes to local economies, changes in available financing, or an influx of capital.
  • Facilities and infrastructure - Changes or constraints in this area might include office size, renovation, or commuting implications.
  • Disruption - Potential "game-changer" industries or organizations have the potential to dramatically affect labor markets and the overall landscape within an industry or sector. Examples of this would be how Uber and Lyft impacted the taxi industry and how meal kit and meal delivery services are disrupting the foodservice industry.

3. The State of the organization's HR Function

Here, it is necessary to compile and analyze information on the current state of the function or create an inventory of the important components of current skill sets. Staff, contract workers, and others who regularly support function goals should be taken into account.

Additionally, the current-state analysis should determine competencies, skill sets, or expertise to fully understand the tools available to meet objectives.

HR should also evaluate aspects of this dynamic that may change the composition of the department, like potential departures and current open positions for whom personnel are being sought.

Here, points to consider should include

  • Current staff competencies
  • Systems that should be reviewed for information on HR's current state
  • Staff members - Here, positions that affect how the organization gets things done should be reviewed, such as which responsibilities require an HR manager versus an HR administrator.
  • Expertise that specific staff members or teams are contributing
  • Employees external to the HR function who impact HR team goals (This question is particularly relevant in matrixed organizations)
  • Vendors, contractors or others outside the organization who contribute to achieving team goals
  • Employees who may be flight risks or who have issues that may affect their longevity with the organization

4. Envisioning Needs

In this step, the HR professional will creatively analyze what is needed to realize the goals detailed in Step 1. Here, it is best to primarily consider those goals without factoring in the data in Steps 2 and 3. This step will identify end-state staffing and interim needs and should be considered at both the real number of personnel and skills level.

Points to consider when executing this step include

  • The expertise HR needs to achieve goals for the next year or relevant period
  • The actual number of staff that will be needed to meet those goals, and where they should be located - Relevant data can include staff ratio recommendations, current span-of-control numbers, historical rule of thumb within the organization, or statistical regression analysis.
  • Potential staffing changes that may occur over the course of the year or relevant period
  • The ideal mix of staff or outside parties needed to meet intended goals
  • Budgetary requirements for a meeting intended goals

5. The Gap Analysis

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This step is exactly what it sounds like. The gap analysis will bring to light what is missing between the end-state outlined in Step 4 and the current-state identified in Step 3. These can include a lack of staffing in a given area, a deficiency in expertise or staff occupying less-than-ideal positions or roles.

Information gleaned when performing the gap analysis will reveal shortfalls in the current state of the function that the HR department will need to address to achieve intended goals.

Points to consider when performing the gap analysis include

  • Comparing the end state to the current state - Here the areas in which the organizations are currently unable to support outlined goals will be considered.
  • Where adjustments to existing staffing will be needed
  • Whether there is adequate staff with the requisite expertise in functional areas
  • Whether there are geographical gaps in which the organization needs to hire staff
  • Whether cross-functional teams will be required, and how to strengthen existing partnerships

6. The Solution Plan

With Steps 1 through 5 completed, the HR professional may now generate a plan to actualize the intended goals for the year (or relevant period). This plan will include both end-state staffing and any interim staffing required. This frequently includes establishing timelines and passing on costs (if the staffing plan is being done concurrently with the budget.

Points to consider when putting together a solution plan should include

  • How to attain the goals outlined in Step 1 given the information in Steps 1 through 5
  • The desired year-end staff composition
  • Where and when an adjustment of staffing levels will be needed in order to sustain organizational goals
  • What levels of expertise are anticipated, and the roles in which said expertise is needed
  • How the influencers from Step 2 are to be accommodated
  • How the gaps detailed in Step 5 will be addressed
  • How often the staffing plan will need to be revisited to ensure it continues to address the needs of the organization