A dedicated staffing strategy is crucial for any business wanting to understand its people.
Your people are your company’s biggest asset, and can give your business a competitive edge, helping the organization grow its bottom line. But looking after those people requires a people-focused approach.
Staffing strategies are often confused with recruitment strategies, but they are not the same thing. Recruiting is a single step in the employment journey, it involves seeking and encouraging prospective candidates to apply for roles. Staffing is an ongoing process; it does involve the initial recruitment step, but it goes way beyond that to include how you manage and retain a competent and satisfied workforce, fit for purpose, in the right roles at the right time to meet the company’s goals.
Today, it’s also going one step further: it’s not simply filling positions, but looking at your workforce as a whole to gain insight and design great workforce experiences for your people, so that you attract and retain the best. In this way, staffing strategies are ways to look at where your high-performers are, and how you hold onto them, and considers things like how you provide them with meaningful work. Here are our seven steps to building an effective staffing, or people, strategy in this way.
Determine your business goals
The best starting point for a staffing is your organization’s business plan, which should contain both short-term and long-term goals for the company.
Whether it’s to increase turnover, expand into new sectors, launch new products or grow through acquisition, these goals are all inherently driven by your people, and so your strategy needs to be fully aligned with the company’s objectives.
Establish your current people landscape
Now you know what your organization’s objectives are, you need a complete picture of your current workforce.
Having an accurate view of your people starts with a single source of truth. If your people data is held in disparate systems and on spreadsheets, this must all be consolidated into one system to give you maximum insight into your people. From here, you can build reports and actionable insights about your people, such as having accurate headcount reports, establishing skills gaps, and identifying high potential candidates for leadership roles as part of succession planning.
It’s not just about accessing and tracking people analytics, also identifying and predicting trends to ensure you gain actionable insight into your workforce. This is an approach to understanding people in your company, their behavior and performance, so that an organization can gain actionable insights and make better decisions about their workforce.
At this initial stage, it means having the tools and data to know what is happening across the collective workforce.
Analyze people patterns
There’s always a natural ebb and flow of staffing levels throughout any organization; staying one step ahead of potential movements can ensure there are no surprises.
At the most basic level, having a clear view of leaver dates and information will help you recruit and backfill these positions well in advance, minimizing the risk of losing knowledge when someone leaves without completing a handover.
Taking this a step further, you can analyze your workforce to identify potential movements well in advance. A modern HR will tell you the number of employees nearing retirement age; forthcoming maternity and paternity leaves; upcoming promotions that will require a succession plan, or identify individuals who are approaching the company’s average service length.
By leveraging such reports, and analyzing these patterns, this allows you to plan ahead to address potential gaps and plan accordingly.
Identify staffing and people needs
For a successful staffing you first need to understand the skills, experience and resources required to achieve your business goals. To maximize the efficiency of the recruitment process, you also need to consider the timeline of activities required to fulfil each role, and plan accordingly.
You’ll need to analyze further data to establish this. For example, what roles do you need? How long does it typically take to recruit them? How many candidates do you need to contact to realistically find the right one? What’s the time frame for induction and ramping up to full productivity? Your existing workforce data will provide useful insights that you can use as a benchmark.
Create a future staffing projection
With the current workforce picture complete, it’s a good idea to build a long-term staffing plan for the next five to 10 years.
This needs to be done alongside the business owners. They will need to share the long-term vision for the company so you can factor in if there’s going to be a company restructure or any future acquisitions that will bring new or different staffing needs to the business.