How To Create a Staffing Plan in 9 Steps (With Benefits)

Updated February 3, 2023

Staffing plans allow organizations to identify and assess their personnel needs so they can achieve their strategic goals. These plans can make it easier for companies to find employees with the right skill sets. If you're in human resources or recruiting, learning how to develop a staffing plan can help you find the best professionals for the roles you're responsible for filling. 

In this article, we explain what a staffing plan is, detail the steps you can take to create one and list the benefits of making one. 

What is a staffing plan?

A staffing plan is a tool professionals can use to analyze their organization's current and future staffing needs. When businesses grow, they may decide to scale their labor to match the demand. A staffing plan helps businesses analyze what skills they need so they can determine which roles to create and who to recruit to fill them. They also help companies address skills gaps, or the difference between the skills the company desires and the skills employees actually have. Using this tool can help companies plan to expand their operations and retain a competitive advantage in their industries. 

Related: Why Is Human Resources (HR) Important?

How to create a staffing plan 

Here are nine steps you can take to create an effective staffing plan for your hiring needs:

1. Determine your goals

First, evaluate the goals you want to achieve by considering the organizational goals that might affect hiring. For example, if you work for an organization that has plans to expand into a new market, or expects to sell products to a new market by a certain date, consider how that might affect your staffing goals. Understanding expectations can help you align your staffing goals with the organization's strategic goals. 

Related: 15 Example HR SMART Goals (Plus Definition and Benefits)

2. Assess current staff 

You can get a better understanding of the staffing needs by compiling a list of current job descriptions and analyzing current staff, including the number of employees working, the size of each team and the competencies of each member. This can help you examine the duties that various employees perform more thoroughly, which can help you identify any skills gaps or departments that could use more professionals. Listing current job descriptions can also function as a useful reference when it's time to begin recruitment. 

Related: Job Specification vs. Job Description Explained

3. Analyze staffing patterns and changes

Understanding staffing patterns can help you develop a staffing plan that accounts for changes, helping you better forecast future staffing needs. For example, some organizations experience busier seasons, which may require them to hire additional team members. By analyzing the staffing patterns, you can create a plan that predicts these needs. Here are some other forecasted changes that might occur to include in your staffing plan:

  • Expected job growth

  • Upcoming retirements

  • Maternity and paternity leaves

  • Upcoming promotions

Related: Your Definitive Guide to HR Forecasting

4. Project future staffing needs

After analyzing staffing patterns, consider creating a projection for your future staffing needs to help you plan for positions that might become available. You can also take things like your budget and your recruitment resources into account when planning. Here are some staffing prediction techniques that you can adopt:

  • Rule of thumb: This is the model for predicting potential needs based on existing structures. For example, if you have a manager for every three employees, the rule-of-thumb method requires that you hire another manager for every three new roles you fill. 

  • Delphi technique: This technique uses the expert opinions of a select group of high-level managers and consultants to determine staffing predictions. They base their opinions on their previous experience within the company and have an organizer compile their opinions and suggestions anonymously, and the group votes to establish the preferred staffing plan.

  • Productivity ratio: This ratio calculates how much work one employee produces and then determines future recruitment needs based on predicted growth in productivity. For example, if one employee produces 25 units of a product in one day, and the organization intends to increase that to 100 units per day in the next quarter, you know to hire four employees by that quarter. 

  • Statistical regression analysis: This analysis compares previous labor and staffing to future predictions. You use this model to make predictions about your ability to increase staffing based on previous staffing levels. 

5. Complete a skills gap analysis 

A skills gap analysis is a method for assessing your current and future staffing needs by determining the discrepancies between the skills you want staff to have and the skills they actually have so you can update your staffing plan accordingly. Consider the skills currently missing among staff that the organization may need in the future. In addition, you may find that some of your team members have additional skills they can bring into a new role. This can help you find ways to shift teams to improve efficiency.

Related: How To Conduct a Skills Gap Analysis (With Definition)

6. Consider organizational requirements

Compare the current roles in the company with the forecasted roles necessary for it to achieve its objectives. Consider listing the roles the organization needs to fill soon. You can describe the ideal skills and requirements for each position to help you during the recruiting process. By making a clear list of job requirements, you can search for professionals who possess those skills or experience more easily. 

In addition, consider reviewing your recruiting software and technology and determining what the organization prefers. You may improve the efficiency of your staffing plan by finding new software programs to use. You can use software programs to help with the following human resource areas:

  • Customer relations management systems

  • Content management systems

  • Digital shared calendars

  • Digital file sharing

  • Online workspaces

  • Automated travel services

Related: 10 Recruitment Software Tools That Companies Can Use (Plus Benefits)

7. Create a plan for training

You can further improve your staffing plan for implementing a system for training new and existing employees. You may be able to create more effective teams by training new professionals and helping them develop the skills to succeed in their roles. In addition, consider using performance reviews and employee surveys to find areas for potential growth and help employees locate professional development opportunities. By using the data from these tools, you can help teams improve their performances. 

Related: Training Needs Analysis

8. Examine workplace culture

After fulfilling your recruitment needs and planning for future needs, you may also consider accounting for employee satisfaction to help increase retention. Assessing organizational culture can help you formulate ways to create a more pleasant work environment and improve human resources processes. Having a positive culture can help staff become more invested in the company. To examine organizational culture and employee satisfaction, consider developing surveys or providing employees with a way to provide feedback anonymously. 

Related: 8 Reasons Why Organizational Culture is Important

9. Update your staffing plan 

Consider updating your staffing plan regularly as organizational and staffing goals change. Review job descriptions, training methods and processes so you can adapt to changes that may occur, such as employees retiring or new management. Keeping an updated record of your staffing plan can help you stay organized and ensure that the plan is accurate and representative of what the company needs. 

Benefits of developing a staffing plan 

Here are some benefits of creating a staffing plan as a human resources or recruitment professional:

Improved recruitment mechanisms 

A staffing plan can help you better understand the company's hiring needs by assessing its current practices. After analyzing what its hiring needs are, you can identify the skills needed in a candidate and implement better recruitment mechanisms. For example, you could use your staffing plan to determine the best platform for recruiting candidates who possess more technical skills. 

Reduced staffing costs

By hiring more qualified professionals using a staffing plan, you may be able to reduce costs associated with recruitment. You can also use a staffing plan to restructure existing positions, which may help you save money by hiring internally. In addition, having a cohesive staffing plan can include a variety of training methods and strategies, which have the potential to increase performance and efficiency.

More organized company structure

With an established staffing plan, you may be able to create a more organized structure for the company. This could allow the human resources department to operate more efficiently and fill skills gaps more quickly. It can also help you in creating plans for employee promotions and in developing a salary structure.

Related: 5 Types of Business Structures (Plus Tips for Choosing One)

Increased opportunity for growth

A staffing plan can help you expand a company's current staff and create a more efficient structure. By creating a detailed staffing plan, you can design a framework for the future of the company. This can help it learn how to expand its operations by hiring new professionals or by redesigning existing positions.

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