Create Your Staffing Plan: 7 Steps to Get Started

David Levine| August 13, 2019| B2B
Staffing is an ongoing process for any organization. Not to be confused with Recruiting, which is an initial step in finding employees for your business, Staffing is the overall strategy and function that aligns your people with your business. It’s the complete process to finding, hiring and retaining all of the people, at every level and in every capacity, who help operate your organization. 

Having a staffing plan in place will help you organize and plan for your personnel needs as they relate to your business’ goals, cycles, growth and even unexpected factors. A good staffing plan will also reflect your company’s goals, vision and culture by identifying the right kinds of roles, skill sets, experience and of course, people, to support the business in every area, top to bottom. Finally, a complete staffing plan contains strategies about onboarding, socializing, training, managing, developing, retaining and supporting your employees once you bring them on board. 

While every organization is different, here are some key steps to help you get started with your staffing plan: 

  1. Align With Your Business Goals. If your company already has business goals and a vision in place, developing a staffing plan will me more accurate, effective and faster. It’s important to fully understand your businesses’ short and long-term agenda so that you can set a timeline, criteria and game plan for your recruiting and overall staffing effort. Knowing things like individual department activity, projects happening throughout the organization and new initiatives that will require support will help human resources plan properly, assemble the right talent and be ready to go ahead of time. 
  2. Assess Your Current Staffing Situation.  Before you can plan for the future it’s important to understand your current staffing set up; who you have on your team, who you may be missing and who you may need to replace. This includes permanent, temporary, contractor, consultants and part-time workers. It’s also a good time to assess the potential risk of employees leaving…and the risk to the business if they do. This is also a great opportunity to identify people you may already have on staff who would be perfect for a new role, a promotion or to become part of the leadership team. Sometimes you already have the best candidates for new roles on staff; perhaps even make it a policy or practice to have at least one internal candidate for every role wherever possible.
  3. Identify Staffing Gaps. Once you’ve assessed and reviewed everyone you have on staff, it’s easier to identify gaps you may have throughout your talent pool. These can include a shortage of skill sets, experience or certifications. This can be by department or by function. For example, you may be investing in new technology and would need individuals specifically trained to use it. Or you may be expanding and need additional people with managerial experience. You could also be expanding into new territories and either need people who currently live there or people who speak certain languages or who are familiar with certain cultures. 
  4. Forecast and Map it Out. Once you’ve identified the ideal people to add to your team or to reassign or promote from within, it’s time to plot your process and schedule in the form of a game plan you can follow. This should include the expected length of time to identify, recruit and hire the people you want. Are certain jobs required immediately? If so, does that change your agenda, criteria and even expectations?  Other aspects of this forecast include “must have” employees, type of employee (contract, permanent, etc.), seniority, skillset, necessary in house training, time to onboard, budgetary needs/constraints and geographical requirements. This step is basically organizing your wants and needs into a process you can follow and modify if need be. 
  5. Create a Strong Brand and Promote It!  Strong talent marketing comes from a strong brand and culture. Since staffing often starts with recruiting, it’s important to understand that candidates are actively researching potential employers. Having an engaging social media and web presence that accurately reflects your brand, both visually and verbally, is critical to any staffing plan. It’s how prospects learn about a company—its purpose, culture, workplace and other aspects—even before they decide to apply for a job. And certainly before an interview. Make sure you have a clear and compelling value proposition to candidates, which really articulates key points that you want job seekers to know…and in your company’s genuine voice.
  6. Have a Hiring Mindset. While it’s normal to look for potential candidates when you plan for them or when you suddenly need them, having an “always on” hiring mindset will help keep you top of mind in the job seeker universe because of how you market yourself online and at events. It will also keep your talent pipeline consistently fuller with new candidates in case you suddenly need to fill a position. It’s always a good idea to connect with new talent and develop a rapport with prospects ahead of time so that everyone is ready to move forward when the need arises. You may even meet someone that sparks an idea for a new role!
  7. Continue to Analyze and Refine. Like the nature of business, staffing plans ebb and flow. They reflect the goals and needs of the company at a given time. Staffing plans prepare for growth but can also be scalable and adaptable to change. Market changes also affect staffing plans. Continually review trends and metrics like employee turnover, sales, customer retention and cyclical trends. Keep a close eye on the direction of your business. And be aware of legislation, compliance and other external factors that affect who you staff and how you pay them. If you routinely analyze, assess and refine your staffing strategy and status, you’ll have a better chance of ensuring your staffing plan is always current and aligned with the goals and state of your company.  

Remember, staffing is not just simply filling positions, but looking at your workforce in a more strategic way. These are the people who will keep your business running. So make sure to really understand the right combination of skill sets, characteristics and experience that will help you find, evolve and keep the staff you depend on.