Staffing Plan Types and How to Create an Effective Plan

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 28, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Changes in employees, either expected or not, can disrupt regular business practices and hinder productivity. A well-constructed employment plan can help to prepare for changes in team structure and hiring or promoting employees into new roles. Understanding the various types of staffing or hiring plans is vital for HR professionals when proactively preparing for changes to hiring within an organization. In this article, we explain what hiring plans are, provide outlines of each of the staffing plan types, and provide helpful steps for developing a plan of your own.

What is a staffing plan?

A staffing plan is a way of organizing a workforce to help ensure that there isn't a lack of employees. These plans have the goal of preventing a slowing of production or unexpected downtime due to changes to a business's employees, such as retirement or other reasons for employee turnover. Hiring plans can vary between companies, depending on the size of the business, the industry, or how much it expects to grow. Being prepared with a robust and future-proof plan for employees can enable those in HR to maintain the necessary number of employees in both short- and long-term timeframes.

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Staffing plan types

Different staffing plan types work to prepare human resources professionals for various employee turnover scenarios across a range of timeframes. Some forms of hiring plans focus on changes to a business's employees in the short term, while others focus on long-term employment goals. Similarly, these plans can also consider a variety of reasons employees may leave a company. Below are the four basic types of hiring plans:

Short-term hiring plans

Short-term hiring plans prepare for the immediate workforce requirements of the business. For instance, if you're an HR professional working for a chain of retailers and the holiday shopping season is coming soon, your short-term hiring plan may concern hiring enough employees to handle the rush. The plan can also consider that many of these additional team members may be seasonal, as it may not be necessary to have as many employees when the busy season is over.

You may plan to hire a temporary workforce of short-term contracted employees, typically provides sufficient employees when you need them, but has a set end-date for them to conclude their employment when you no longer need them. A short-term hiring plan can also consider the time it takes to find and hire these temporary employees. For example, when hiring for the busy season in December, you may want to initiate your search in November to give yourself enough time to hire the temporary workforce when you need them.

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Long-term hiring plans

Long-term hiring plans take a more proactive approach to a business' workforce requirements across a broader timeframe. These plans typically span a full year at a minimum, and involve various contingencies for a range of possibilities. If you're constructing a long-term hiring plan, it's helpful to consider turnover the company has experienced previously, maternity leave periods, retiring employees, or other leaves team members may want to take. You can also consider if there are any employees whom the business is likely to let go, or if the company may grow over the period for which you're planning.

With a detailed list of upcoming hiring requirements, you can create a plan to hire necessary talent to fill gaps, or arrange to promote existing employees into vacant roles. Hiring plans can also consider any downsizing or up-scaling the company may require throughout the year and arrange for severance packages or leave payouts. You may find it helpful to divide a year-long hiring plan into separate months to build a timeline for your hiring activity.

Employee succession planning

Succession planning is the process of preparing to replace important employees which leave the business either expectedly or not. Without a succession plan, a business may fall behind in productivity or even encounter a lack of leadership when a manager leaves their role. Having a succession plan in place is a proactive way to avoid delays in hiring a replacement for important team members.

Succession planning enables HR teams to understand the responsibilities and duties of team members in leadership roles comprehensively. With a clear idea of the requirements of a vacant or soon-to-be available role, you can train internal candidates in time to promote them as soon as necessary. It's common for employees leaving a position to provide a notice period before leaving, which also provides a timeframe in which to implement your succession plan and replace the team member.

Read more: Importance of Succession Planning (With Benefits and Tips)

Strategic hiringing models

Strategic hiring models combine long- and short-term succession planning. Considering the organization's business plan, this model makes sure that the company can achieve its goals with the required talent in place. HR professionals analyze their workforce levels to establish if they have too many team members or not enough. They also consider the skills a team or individuals possess to find out if the team currently has all the necessary experience and expertise to reach the business' goals. Strategic hiring models can also include training frameworks to establish plans for preparing new employees to take recently created positions.

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How to develop a hiring plan

Here are a few practical steps you can take to develop a hiring plan:

1. Outline the organization's business goals

The first step in creating your hiring plan is to evaluate the goals of the business to better understand how hiring can support them. For instance, if the organization is looking to increase revenue, then it's best for the number of team members employed to fit within the salary budgets the business plan outlines. If the business' plan is to expand to a new location, then an effective hiring plan may involve moving experienced team members to work in the new site or hiring new employees.

It can be beneficial to work closely with the business' leaders to establish the company's priorities and how hiring can support them. Once you're aligned with the goals of the organization, you can more easily justify decisions to hire, promote, or move employees. Consider whether the company is currently progressing toward its goals, or if changes in hiring may improve that progress.

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2. Evaluate the current staffing situation

Next, evaluate the current staffing environment at the company. This involves assessing whether there are sufficient leaders and team members in the right roles, and assessing whether there's potential to hire new employees. When reviewing the organization's employees, consider the following:

  • Employees who perform the best

  • Employees who need help to perform better

  • Distribution of employees

  • Team's competencies and skills

  • Number of team members in the company

  • How long some employees have already worked for the business

  • Potential leaders

  • Employees likely to decide to resign

3. Forecast future hiring needs

When forecasting the company's likely future hiring needs, consider some factors which influence hiring opportunities and decisions. These may be internal considerations to do with the business, or broader external factors influenced by society or the employment landscape. Factors to be aware of when forecasting include:

  • Changes in the economy

  • Current unemployment rate

  • Organization's goals

  • Business turnover rates

  • New or upcoming business investments

  • Key team members for particular projects

  • Cross-functional teams

  • New product launches

4. Perform a gap analysis

Once you've forecasted your future hiring requirements, you can consider gaps between the company's hiring needs and the current situation at the organization. In this step, you may assess whether the business requires any additional hires or if it may be over-staffed for the coming period. Similarly, you can consider whether the current employees have sufficient skills or experience for upcoming activities.

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5. Complete the hiring plan

After you've determined if there are staffing gaps to address, you can begin building your plan. Define whether your plan is long-term or short-term to establish its scope. Your hiring plan may include decisions to implement training programs chosen to close any skill gaps, or create succession plans.

It may also be wise to note any upcoming employee changes, such as contract periods ending or employees wanting to take maternity leave. Working with business leaders in creating the hiring plan can help inform the needs of the company and define any hiring limitations. They can also help to align the hiring plan with the company's mission, culture, and goals.

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