Staffing Plans: What Every Manager Should Know

Creating a staff plan helps you maximize efficiency by ensuring your company has the right number of people who possess the skills you need to meet your organizational goals. A staff plan is especially critical in a small business where one staff member represents a large percentage of the company’s total employees. Learning what components to include in a staffing plan and the basic steps to follow to create one can help you plan your personnel needs for your own organization.

Related: 10 Recruiting Strategies for Hiring Great Employees


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What is a staff plan?

A staff plan is the strategic planning process that a company uses to identify its personnel needs. Also known as a staffing plan, this process helps employers understand the number and types of employees that they need to reach organizational goals.


What to include in a staff plan

Your staff plan may include of a number of different components, such as:

  • Outline of personnel needed
  • Job titles and job descriptions
  • Time and location that personnel are needed
  • Estimated number of on-demand employees for busy times of year
  • Budgetary considerations
  • Recommendation for corporate training
  • Succession policies


How to create a staff plan

Here are the basic steps to take to create a staffing plan that aligns with your organizational objectives:


1. Identify your business goals

The first step for determining staffing changes is to identify your business goals. They’re usually outlined in a strategic business plan. Use this plan to clarify your company’s objectives.


2. Identify influencers

In this step, you will determine whether there are any factors that could impact your staffing plan. These factors should be internal, external, positive or negative and include anything that could affect the plan that the company has little control over. To identify these, you should work with your team to brainstorm anything that could impact your workforce. Your list could include things like low unemployment or a competitor that is substantially increasing its workforce. Once your list is complete, group similar influencers. The two examples, for instance, could be categorized as external workforce availability.


3. Understand your current staffing environment

In order to develop an effective staffing plan, you first must understand your current staffing environment. Collect data related to:

  • The number of employees
  • Team sizes and who works where
  • Skills and competencies
  • Potential leaders and high performing employees
  • Low performers
  • Staff age 


4. Forecast future personnel needs

After evaluating your current staffing environment, you should next make predictions about your future staffing needs. While forecasting does involve some intuition, you can also use the following methods:

  • Trend analysis: With this method, you gather historical data from the past five to 10 years, collecting data on hiring patterns, employee work experience and education, retention and turnover and demographics.
  • Ratio analysis: Using this method, you calculate the ratio between business factors, such as future revenue predictions and personnel requirements.


5. Complete a gap analysis

Compare your current staffing environment with your future staffing predictions, looking at where your staff currently is and where they need to be. Pay attention to whether there are any skills your workforce will need to meet business goals or whether you need more employees to meet organizational goals. Gaps in your workforce could include lack of expertise, an inadequate number of people or the employees who are not currently in the right positions.

It’s important to view these gaps as opportunities to create an ideal state for achieving goals rather than as weaknesses. Some factors you should consider are:

  • Whether you can support your company goals when you compare the end state to the current state
  • Where you will need to adjust your current staffing
  • Whether you have staff with the right expertise


6. Create your staffing plan

With your analysis complete, you can now create a staff plan. It should include things like:

  • Recommendations for a training program to teach current employees new skills
  • Succession policies to streamline promotions or handoffs after employees retire

All previous job titles, job descriptions and budgetary considerations should also be included in your staff plan. Include whether you need additional employees during certain times of the year to meet an increase in demand. 

Related: How to Find Good Employees


Frequently asked questions about staffing plans

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that employers ask about staff plans:


Why are staffing plans important?

A staffing plan encourages you to analyze, examine and plan a strategy for helping your company achieve its goals. You can then align your recruitment efforts so you attract the right employees to fit your company’s needs. Staffing plans also help with retention, as you can evaluate training and development ideas to help your team members achieve the necessary skills and growth requirements.


What are the different types of staffing plans?

Staffing plans vary depending on the industry, size of the company and anticipated growth. Some of the most common types of staffing plans are:

  • Short-term staffing: This type of staffing plan focuses on a company’s immediate needs
  • Long-term staffing: These are staffing plans that cover at least one year
  • Succession planning: This is an approach that allows you to anticipate the departure of managers and train internal candidates to step into those roles
  • Strategic staffing: This approach involves a combination of short-term, long-term and succession planning


What is a staffing analysis?

A staffing analysis is a process of identifying trends among your employees, such as employee turnover, job satisfaction among employees, the levels of staffing needed to manage a workload and the qualifications and experience of employees who are attracted to the company.


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