How to Develop a Staffing Plan

For a business, the path to success is winding and filled with constant challenges. While it’s impossible to foresee every new opportunity or concern ahead of the curve, careful planning can make it much easier for businesses to adapt to a changing landscape.

HR professionals count staffing considerations as one of the biggest obstacles to growth. The human component of a business is one of its greatest assets, and a carefully crafted staffing and development plan can help you maximize how your company leverages its employees to achieve success.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at how to develop a staffing plan, so you can create a malleable framework for how you identify new opportunities and handle critical functions like expansion and hiring.

What is Staffing?

Staffing is the ongoing practice of finding and evaluating talented individuals both inside and outside of the company. The purpose of staffing is to fill the roles within a company as effectively as possible to help the business grow and reach their performance goals.

For smaller organizations, staffing processes are often outsourced to a third party, which may be much more qualified to handle the staffing demands of that company. Instead of hiring an extensive HR department to help the company reach its staffing goals, a staffing company with experience and relationships within the industry is contracted to assist in the process.

Companies like MyWorkChoice make it easy to staff critical positions in your workforce as you need them. This makes it easier for companies to rise to meet growing challenges and fill gaps they identify on an as-needed basis.

Larger organizations often handle all staffing needs in house, which allows them to completely control each aspect of their hiring and employee development practices.

Regardless of whether or not you handle it in house, staffing is a critical concern that can help or hinder the growth and success of every business.

What is a Staffing Plan and Why Do I Need One?

Staff planning is a strategic process in which decision-makers and the HR team audit the organization to identify its personal needs. A comprehensive plan will serve as a roadmap for how many employees your business needs, the type of employees your business needs, and how you can deploy those employees to execute company goals.

This plan helps a staff throughout the recruitment and hiring process, and aids in the development of internal personnel. Staff planning also provides a forecast of the labor needs of the company, so it’s a helpful tool for creating budgets and managing company finances.

Without a staffing and development plan, it can be difficult or impossible to identify the opportunities and challenges the business faces concerning labor. Without an effective strategy, every aspect of the company, from product quality to employee morale can suffer, resulting in stunted growth and lost business.

How to Create a Staffing Plan

To create a staffing plan, you’ll need to evaluate your current staffing needs and forecast your needs moving forward. The gap between those two needs is going to be the area where your organization has an opportunity to get to work.

Creating your plan can be broken down into five main steps:

  • Identify business goals
  • Evaluate the current staffing situation
  • Forecast your future needs
  • Implement a plan
  • Evaluate and refine the plan

1) Evaluate Business Goals

The first step of the process is to carefully consider short- and long-term goals for the business as it pertains to staffing. Virtually every company has a strategic business plan which outlines the business’ goals and plans for growth. Consider these goals and what you’ll need from your workforce to accomplish those goals.

For example, if one of your company’s goals is to open a new distribution center across the country, your staffing plan will need to consider what labor will be required to achieve this goal.

The goals outlined in your staffing analysis will affect the overall goals of the business, so you should ensure complete synergy between company goals and staffing needs to ensure that they’re aligned going forward.

2) Evaluate the Current Staffing Situation

To efficiently address your staffing needs, it’s helpful first to take a step back and look at your current workforce. Doing so will make it easier for you to identify where you need improvement, and it will also shine a light on members of your team who may be capable of stepping into a more significant role.

To start the process, create a company organization chart to illustrate the jobs, skills, and competencies of each member of your company from the top down. An org chart will help you visualize your workforce and the current staffing situation so you can better identify your future needs and opportunities.

The more detail in your org chart, the better off you’ll be. Consider adding core skills and attributes for each employee, as they’ll help you identify opportunities to promote from within when higher-level positions need to be filled.

Your company organization chart will also indicate each of the positions within the company. Take each position and write a full description of each job. Identify the core skills that potential applicants will need to possess, and well as any prerequisites you require to help you vet future applicants.

During this process, you’ll want to work closely with the members of the management team that each position will be reporting to. For example, if you’re documenting the job description, skills, and requirements that you’ll need from a warehouse associate position, consult with the warehouse manager to ensure you understand the full scope of the job so it can be appropriately staffed.

With this information, it will be much easier for you to recruit qualified applicants who should be a good fit within the company.

3) Forecast Your Future Needs

This step requires you to consult your crystal ball to gaze into what the future will hold for your company.

Forecasting your future needs is going to involve some guesswork, and you’ll need to consider many factors that may affect your future needs. Things like turnover rate, investments in new technology, the economy, the unemployment rate, and your competition can all influence your ability to achieve your staffing goals, and you’ll need to try and account for them in the forecast.

Performing a trend analysis based on historical data from within your company is an effective way to forecast your labor needs. Look at data that indicates historical hiring patterns and turnover rates. Consider the skills and education of your staff as well as their demographics. This information should show trends that can help you forecast your needs more accurately.

A ratio analysis is another essential tool you can use to codify the labor you’ll require to achieve critical goals. In this analysis, you’ll create a ratio between the business directive and the labor necessary to achieve it.

For example, let’s say that last year, your business shipped 500,000 units with ten warehouse associates. The ratio of units shipped to employees is 50,000:1. Now, let’s say that one of your business goals is to ship an additional 250,000 units in the next year. By applying your ratio analysis, you can see that you’ll need to hire five more warehouse associates to meet your goal for units shipped.

Once you’ve forecasted your future needs to the best of your ability, you can analyze and understand the gap between where you are now and where you need to go in the future. From here, you can codify the necessary steps to help you achieve organizational goals.

4) Create Your Plan

Now that you’ve collected and analyzed all the applicable data about your current staff and the future needs and goals of the company, it’s time to codify and implement your plan. In this step, you’ll outline the hiring processes for the entire company.

You’ll need your plan to cover every department, group, or division within your company. Depending on the size of your company, it may be helpful to create individual plans for each department you have. Once each department completes its assessment, the entire thing can be combined to reveal the master plan for the business.

Committing your plan to paper is a significant undertaking that requires cooperation and input from virtually everyone in the company, especially decision-makers and human resources. Communication is critical throughout the entire process, and it’s especially crucial as you finalize your plan.

5) Evaluate and Refine the Plan

Once you’ve put your plan in place, it should serve as a tool that helps you to streamline your hiring processes, identify standout talent within the organization, and achieve the different goals of the business. During this time, keep in mind that your plan should be fluid and adapt to the changing needs of your business. Make sure that your plan is working for you, and consider alternatives if your plan isn’t performing as well as you intended. Thanks to the emergence of new tools and services like MyWorkChoice, it’s easier than ever to meet your staffing challenges head-on so you can focus on the higher-level processes of running your business.

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