Developing Staffing Plans

Staffing plans help employers analyze and respond to staffing gaps.

Many factors drive the loss of staff, including changing labor markets, wage inflation due to competition for key skills, lack of employee engagement, and retirement. The model below outlines how employers can evaluate and respond to such losses.

Step 1: Demand Forecast

Identify how many staff are needed to meet deliverables, outputs, and performance measures. The most accurate forecasts are one to three years into the future. Consider:

  1. Staffing Level: How many positions will be needed in ‘core’ job areas?
  2. Regular Turnover: What is the projected turnover rate due to competition?
  3. Retirement Turnover: What is the projected turnover rate due to anticipated retirements?
  4. Knowledge and Skill Loss: What percentage of staff’s knowledge and skills will become outdated without any training or development?

Step 2: Supply Forecast

Identify what and how many staff will be available to meet staffing needs. Consider:

  1. Internal Availability: How many employees will be promotable within the target timeframe?
  2. External Availability: How many people are doing similar work in the target recruitment area? How many people are regularly hired away from other employers?.
  3. Future Labor Supply: How many people will be entering the qualified labor pool from schools and training programs in the target recruitment area?
  4. Current Training and Development: What percentage of core knowledge and skill loss is presently being mitigated by training and development efforts?

Step 3: Gap Analysis

Subtract the projected supply from the projected demand. A negative result indicates the need for a new strategy.

Click here to view a gap analysis example (PDF file).

Step 4: Strategy Identification

There are Demand-side and Supply-side staffing strategies. Consider a combination of strategies when addressing staffing gaps.

Demand-side Strategies

Demand-side strategies reduce the number of positions that need to be filled. They include:

  • Retention: Reduce turnover through retention incentives and employee engagement strategies.
  • Reorganization: Reduce the number of management positions by expanding supervisory span of control.
  • Work Process Redesign: Reduce staffing needs by streamlining workflows and methods.
  • Employee Performance Management: Reduce staffing needs by improving individual productivity.

Supply-side Strategies

Supply-side strategies help fill the remaining staffing gap once demand-side strategies have reduced the number of positions that must be filled. They include:

  • Recruitment: Expand applicant pools through enhanced marketing (e.g., broadening the target recruitment area, increasing advertising venues, and improved branding strategy).
  • Modified Qualifications: Expand applicant pools by considering a broader range of experience and education.
  • Workforce Development: Grow future applicant pools by supporting schools and apprenticeship programs.
  • Training and Development: Keep current staff up-to-date in their knowledge and skills through on-the-job and other training and development programs.
  • Succession Planning: Grow new internal applicant pools through training and development programs.