1. Home
  2. Insights

The Ultimate Guide to Developing a Staffing Plan

How to Write a Staffing Plan

It’s one thing to run a company, or branch of a company, and handle the business operations. It's a whole different matter to develop a staffing plan to make sure that there are adequate feet on the ground to handle the business operations. Predicting how much manpower you’ll need can be tricky — there are a lot of moving parts, including predicting the volume of labor, how much each person can handle, and what positions are needed. 

Developing a staffing plan can be complicated and seem daunting. But with some research and preparation you can find the guidance you need and learn how to write a staffing plan for your business.

What is a Staffing Plan?

A staffing plan is essentially what the name says — it’s a strategic plan a company uses to map out its staffing and labor needs. It’s part of a practice called “workforce planning”, and as Forbes describes, it can be used to ensure a company can meet their goals with their current workforce. It helps break down what employees/skills a company needs for a particular project or window of time, how many of those employees it’ll need, and establishes hiring goals. It may also consider variables like employee turnover, fluctuations in volume or demand, and so on.

A staffing plan is important because it can make or break productivity. Recruiters and staffers will use the staffing plan as a reference — they’ll increase interviews and hirings for a specific position depending on the company’s anticipated needs. It also influences the kind of talent they’ll search for in the process.

What is the Importance of Staffing Plans?

According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) staffing plans can influence a company’s workforce, in both quantity and quality. This will either make or break a company’s ability to meet its volume or project goals, so it’s important to have and must be done correctly.

For example, if a company is looking to launch a new product line, it might want to draw up a staffing plan to see if its current workforce can handle it. The staffing plan may show that the engineering and research talent is sufficient to meet goals, but more personnel are needed to handle production and logistics. Recruiters can apply that information and bring in the needed talent so the project goes smoothly. 

How to Calculate Staffing Needs

There are multiple factors to consider when planning for staffing needs. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to calculate and plan for future staffing needs, although you can always have an outsourced opinion if you feel that’s appropriate.

1. Rule of Thumb

This is simply an extension of your company’s management structure. For example, if you have five employees with one manager, then simply keep that ratio in mind when making new hires.

2. Workload Calculations

This is a more technical way of computing staff needs. You’ll take the number of tasks an employee has during business hours and multiply it by the time it takes to complete their duties. For instance, if employees typically handle 10 shipments per day, and each shipment takes about 30 minutes, that’s 300 minutes (5 hours) of work each day. If you anticipate volume picking up to 15 or 20 shipments per day, you’ll use the same calculation to determine how many more employees you’ll need to bring aboard. 

What Are the Internal and External Factors Affecting Staffing That You Need to Consider?

While the ratios and statistics for calculating staffing needs are pretty good, there are some other variables that might affect staffing and are worth consideration when you’re developing a staffing plan. 

1. Short and Long-term Business Goals

Never lose sight of the end goal — after all, that’s why you’re writing and developing a staffing plan in the first place. Have a clear goal to lead to. But take a few things into consideration — what will happen if the goal is not met? Is there potential for the company goals or priorities to change? Because if the goal changes, so could the staffing plan.

2. Temporary vs Permanent Employees

This can depend on your budget, volume, and other factors. But remember that bringing aboard temporary or permanent employees can affect your future staffing plans. If you bring aboard several temporary employees, you may let them go and must draw up a very different staffing plan in the future, versus keeping them on board. 

3. Your HR Department

Remember that your human resources and recruiting department is the business end of the staffing plan. They’re the ones that’ll be interviewing and hiring based on the staffing plan. If they can’t handle what the staffing plan requires, the plan isn’t going to help. Make sure HR can handle it or consider enlisting the help of a staffing or recruiting agency.

How to Develop a Staffing Plan for Your Organization

1. Determine Your Goals

We’ve mentioned the importance of goals several times, and that’s no mistake. Goals form the basis of the staffing plan, so make sure you have them clearly defined before any further planning.

2. Take Inventory of Current Staff

To develop a staffing plan, you’ll need to know what you currently have. How many employees relevant to the project or goals do you have? And what’s their productivity or output? These starting numbers will help you figure out what other resources or staffing you’ll need to meet your goals. 

In addition to taking inventory, consider the patterns with your staff. Are some of your employees nearing retirement? Are they temporary? Are they new? These qualities all influence their availability for the company’s goals. 

3. Identify Projected Needs

Apply the staffing ratios and see if you come up short with your current available workforce. And take into consideration the skills gap — it doesn’t matter how many hours of work your team can put in if they don’t have the proper skills for the task. If there’s a skills deficiency, does it make sense for existing employees to be trained on the new skill? Or should you simply outsource or hire someone?

4. Create a Plan for Hiring, Onboarding, and Training

Now that you know what your company needs to achieve its goals, you can work on bringing the appropriate talent in. Have either your human resources department or a staffing agency start searching for the employees you need. Make sure there is an efficient way to onboard and train them in a timely manner so they can start contributing to your company right out of the gate. 

5. Update and Edit

Life happens, and not everything goes according to plan. Maybe your new hire didn’t work as well as expected, or you ran into external obstacles that prevented you from reaching a goal. Whatever the issue may be, go back to your staffing plan and keep updating it. Maybe you’ll need to make new hires or focus on another skill set to bring in. Just go through the process again so you have a clear plan. 

Interested in learning more about how to create a staffing plan? Contact us today and let us know about your current workforce challenges.