Employees are the valuable assets that serve as one of the strongest pillars of a successful organization. But, in order to meet the organizational goals in a timely manner, it is imperative that businesses have the right people in the right positions with the right skills. This is where a staffing model can help.
A staffing model helps the HR department envision its future staffing needs and build a roadmap to fulfill them promptly. Businesses can use the staffing model to hire, maintain, and retain the talented workforce that they would need definitely or indefinitely for various projects.
So, read on to learn what a staffing model is, standard models that are popularly used by organizations, and tips that can help you create an effective staffing model for your business.
What Is a Staffing Model?
A staffing model is a collection of charts, reports, and graphs that help companies measure and analyze their current and future staffing needs. It’s designed to give hiring managers an insight into their recruitment needs in order to meet the company’s goals.
The staffing model (also referred to as staffing plan) helps ascertain –
- the skill gaps in teams and organization
- skills of existing resources
- current state of the workforce management
- staffing needs to meet business demand
- labor costs
- expenditure, whether its time and money
Simply put, the staffing model acts as a tool that gives visibility into current resource utilization and skills required down the road to meet the company’s goal.
A staffing model helps address the skill gaps by comparing the skills of the current resources and the skills they actually require to reach their goals.
Having a well-structured staffing plan helps organizations make informed decisions around the following:
- The roles and responsibilities they need to consider for recruitment
- What skills they must look for to fit in the role and meet the company’s goal
- What should be their expertise and experience level
Once the organization can determine what resources they need to fulfill which roles, they can devise a hiring plan, conduct a recruitment drive and even plan employee training if required.
Common Staffing Models
Before you start building a staffing model for your business, it’s essential to understand standard models that are popularly used by organizations. Each model has a unique way of hiring, managing, and retaining the employees in the organization.
1. Full-Time Employees
Full-time employees are the greatest assets of an organization since they work as permanent staff. They’re hired as part of in-house teams, which allows them to work in cohesion with other team members in order to achieve the company’s goal.
Best for: Employers who want to hire people with specific skills and knowledge that the organization will need indefinitely for current and future projects.
2. Consultants or Contractors
Consultants are people who possess in-depth knowledge on a particular subject and provide professional advice, opinions, or recommendations to companies who need it to complete any project successfully.
Companies may hire these third-party contractors or consultants to handle a specific area of work or domain.
These consultants usually sell their services and expertise to businesses for short-term projects without taking up the position as permanent employees. They’re held accountable for delivering expected outcomes within a timespan agreed upon while getting hired.
They could be paid either on an hourly or on a project basis (usually after the project when the expected outcome is completed). Hiring consultants has the added advantage that they don’t need to be paid on a consistent basis like full-time employees.
Best for: Employers who need candidates with expertise in a particular subject to achieve any short-term goal.
3. Staff Augmentation
This type of model is used to meet the temporary needs of a company. Here the company expands its in-house team by hiring temporary workers to meet its business demand or achieve any short-term goal.
The temporary workers work with the existing team on an ongoing project for a stipulated period or until the goal is achieved.
These temporary workers are referred to as augmented staff and are directly handled and compensated by the company.
The members of the augmented staff usually sign a contract mentioning the terms of their employment, the job role they’re responsible for, and the work they need to complete within the specified timeframe.
Best for: Staff augmentation mostly works well when the internal team lacks bandwidth or a particular skill that is required in the project. Mostly, companies hire augmented staff for a fixed period and don’t need them indefinitely.
Outsourcing or managed services work well when a company doesn’t have the capacity, skills, or bandwidth to handle some areas of their businesses.
In this model, companies delegate certain kinds of support tasks to the managed service providers to improve their service quality, reduce cost, and liberate in-house teams from these secondary tasks so they can focus on their core functions.
The outsourcing model allows companies to have a full-scale team of specialized workforce at a lower cost without the need to hire them as full-time employees.
Additionally, when a business avails the services of the managed service providers, it won’t need to deal with the outsourced employees directly.
Examples of managed business providers are digital marketing services, 24/7 IT support, IT consulting, etc.
The popular types of outsourcing strategies include:
Offshore outsourcing is when a company outsources its work to a third-party vendor located outside the country.
Mostly, these off-shore outsourcing companies provide services from low-cost regions. So, businesses that are in search of cheaper solutions choose this model as it allows them to reduce their operational costs and improve service quality.
Also known as domestic outsourcing, on-shore outsourcing is when the services are obtained from managed services located in the same country. Thus, on-shore outsourcing allows businesses and service providers to have an immediate face-to-face meeting whenever required.
In near-shore outsourcing, the company hires services from neighboring countries. Employers prefer near-shore outsourcing because of the fact that there are minimal time zone differences and short travel distances. They may also share similar work culture and language.
In this type of outsourcing, the managed service providers send a team of trained professionals who work from the office of the clients for a fixed duration. Though the concept of on-site may seem the opposite of outsourcing, this model allows the outsourced team to understand the businesses’ requirements better by working with the client under the same roof.
Multisource is when a business outsources its work to multiple service providers, who can be located at different locations. This type of outsourcing solution is used by large companies that look for the best service quality for different areas of their business.
Best for: Employers who need a full-scale team to manage certain business operations at a lower cost.
Hybrid models can be considered as a mix of all the models mentioned above. In the hybrid model, a contractor or consultant is hired to work on any project, who transitions into augmented staff, followed by becoming a permanent, internal staff of that company.
Best for: Employers who first want to hire candidates for the short term to seek their services but have plans to transition them as permanent, internal employees over time.
How to Build an Effective Staffing Model
Here are a few tips that can help you create an effective staffing model for your organization.
Assess the Organizational Goals
To understand your staffing needs, you need to ascertain the strategic goals of your organization in the first place. It is crucial that your staffing goals resonate with the organization’s goals.
To have better clarity on the alignment of two goals, you can analyze different parameters, such as what you intend to achieve in the upcoming year and whether you look forward to starting a new business or reorganizing the existing business with new strategies. This analysis will help you set the cornerstone of your staffing model.
Understand the Labor Market
Before you embark on developing your staffing model, research the current situation of the labor market as a first step. Your current recruitment goals and staffing models will most likely fluctuate depending on the labor market situation.
For instance, you need to hire a social media manager for your company, but the labor market is tight, and you find it difficult to recruit a full-time employee for that specific role.
As a solution, you can hire a contractor or augmented staff for the time being until the market reaches equilibrium. In this scenario, hiring a full-time employee can be costlier than onboarding a temporary worker for a short period.
Similarly, you can onboard some seasonal workers to support your full-time team during the busy period or peak hours of the day.
Evaluate Your Current Staff
Assessing the skills and knowledge of your existing resources can help you get a big picture of your current staffing needs.
Try to analyze your current staffing model by gathering the data of your existing resources working in the organization, such as their skills and experience, roles and responsibilities, individual competencies, and the projects in which they’re working.
Extract data on human resources from all the undergoing projects – team members’ skill sets, their roles and responsibilities, their performances, and the workload they’re handling. Equipped with this analysis, you can have visibility into the team’s skill gaps.
Tip: Make sure to identify the variables that impact the functioning and workflow of the project. These key points will help you figure out where the skills gap is and what type of staffing model can better fulfill the requirement.
Understand Your Needs and Hire Accordingly
Before you develop a staffing plan for your company, you need to assess –
- For which role do you need resources?
- What skills should they have?
- Do you need them for the short-term or long-term?
- Will the absence of this role significantly impact the functioning of the business?
For instance, if you want to hire a graphic designer for any project, start evaluating the following points-
- Do you need this skill set for a long-term or short-term project?
- Is this role needed only for the current project, or will it be needed indefinitely for multiple projects?
- Will your business be served better by hiring a consultant with specific expertise?
These questions will give you a clear understanding of whom you need to hire and for what duration.
Suppose you observe that some of your team members have additional skills that can be utilized instead of hiring for a new role. In that case, you can train your internal resources to get that job done.
On the other hand, if you need a resource whose skills and work will be required indefinitely for multiple projects and there’s no one in the company to match that requirement, you can hire a full-time employee.
Choose Staffing Pattern
Organizations have different modes and structures to fulfill their staffing needs. Employers can use various methods to understand the staffing needs of their organization.
Rule of Thumb
This method emphasizes on analyzing existing staffing models to predict future staffing needs. For instance, suppose a company usually assigns one supervisor to handle a team of five people. So, if this company hires five new people in any department, then they’ll need to onboard one supervisor also to manage them.
Statistical Regression Analysis
This method uses the previous labor needs as a reference to estimate future staffing requirements. It considers seasonal trends and historical data to provide on-point and up-to-date estimates.
This method calls for taking expert opinions from a group of high-level managers to determine the company’s staffing needs. They put forth their views anonymously and then conduct a vote to finalize the staffing decision.
Have a Precise Job Description
A clear and concise description can help you attract the right candidates for the job role you’re hiring for. Conversely, having a vague job description without clear details will discourage employees from applying.
Here’s how to create the perfect job description:
- Craft a specific job description for the position you’re recruiting. It should have all the relevant details, such as ideal skills, responsibilities, requirements, experience, and other miscellaneous qualifications.
- Once you have listed all the skills and knowledge you’re looking for in your ideal candidate, discern those skills that would be ‘great to have’ but aren’t crucial.
- Also, try to ascertain those skills that someone could learn during the job after onboarding.
- After going through this analysis, finalize the criteria to fit the role you’re recruiting for.
- As a final step, check whether the job description matches what you’re looking for and contains all the details necessary for any job seeker.
Make sure that you’re not over-expecting from the candidates, as sometimes, we’re so hung up on what our ideal candidate should look like that we end up creating a job description that’s difficult for any job seeker to match.
Tip: Keep your job description and post simple yet informative, explaining why working in your company is going to be beneficial. Don’t forget to include a link to the company’s online portals for candidates who need more details about your company.
Manage Succession and Retention of Employees
It’s imperative to have a structured plan to retain your skilled employees who may look forward to seeking better opportunities in other companies. Companies with better employee retention and succession planning strategy stand a chance to have more loyal and talented employees.
When an employer has proper succession planning and retirement plans, it gives their employees a sense of growth, security, and a better future in the company.
Employers can engage their employees in several ways, such as-
- Having a scheme for perks, incentives, and benefits
- Having retirement and bonus plans
- Upskilling employees with training and certification programs
- Having a recognition and rewards system,
- Leveraging flexible work schedules and time off in lieu policy for better work-life balance
- Conducting mentorship programs
Tip: Employers can also engage employees by supporting them with the required technologies to automate tasks that are monotonous, repetitive, low priority or aren’t adding much value to their work, such as scheduling social media posts, making data entries, sending reminder emails, or filling up timesheets.
Pay Heed to Workplace Culture
It’s the organization’s responsibility to periodically check employee satisfaction and engagement to improve employee morale.
Employers must keep a tab on the workplace environment, organizational culture, and employee well-being from time to time. Prioritizing the employees’ well-being and satisfaction can make it more likely to keep them engaged and loyal.
Employers can implement an open door policy, employee recognition program, and team-building activities to foster a positive work culture and group cohesion. Such policies and programs increase mutual trust between employees and employers, encourage open lines of communication, and make the workplace healthier.
Employers can also introduce flexible or alternative work schedules like 4/10 or 9/80 to improve employees’ morale and their work-life balance. After all, a positive work culture is the key to keeping employees more invested in the company.
Tip: To examine and improve employee satisfaction and engagement, employers and HR can also conduct a survey where employees can anonymously provide feedback.
Develop a Well-Structured Strategy for Recruitment
When you have to recruit the right candidate while keeping your staffing model in mind, it’s imperative that you shortlist only relevant profiles and finalize the candidate after a thorough assessment.
That’s why it’s necessary that you develop a sophisticated recruitment strategy through which you can thoroughly assess the candidate’s skills.
Here’s what a well-developed hiring strategy may look like:
- Telephonic interview to get the basic background of a person
- Face-to-face interviews to understand their work experience and skills
- Technical round (depending on the role for which hiring is being done) to assess their knowledge and proficiency levels
- Identifying and selecting the candidates that show a good mix of skills and qualities and match the company’s culture and needs
- Building a step-by-step onboarding process
Note: Online assessments have emerged as a handy tool for HR to find the right talent for any job role. They can make use of pre-employment assessments, specific to a job role to better understand if the candidate can do what a job requires.
Once you conduct multiple rounds of interviews and find a suitable candidate for your role, make sure to apprise them of the compensation structure, work hours, and other benefits you provide in your company.
You can also consider rehiring a former employee, contacting past applicants, or encouraging internal hiring. Moreover, It’s a good practice to have employee referral programs in which you find suitable candidates with the help of your existing resources.
Types of Staffing Strategies
Based on the staffing model introduced by Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld and Maury A. Peiperl, companies use any of the four staffing strategies to fulfill their staffing needs
Here, companies hire talented but inexperienced candidates and give them in-house training after onboarding. The best example of this strategy is campus recruitment, in which companies recruit freshers directly from the colleges and upskill them with necessary training programs.
The club strategy prioritizes promoting loyal and senior employees in the organization. New hiring is conducted mostly to fill ground-level positions. This strategy focuses on social conformity over specific skill sets and is known to have the highest employee retention rate.
This strategy focuses on recruiting the best candidates by offering them lucrative pay and extra benefits. Businesses using this strategy look for high-performing individuals to fill in the position, despite the fact that they may have a background of job hopping or may have a history of not being loyal to past companies.
This strategy has a low retention rate and low level of loyalty, as the focus is on hiring high-performing individuals and not on retaining loyal employees.
This defensive strategy focuses on maintaining and retaining important employees who perform essential job duties. Minimal recruitment is conducted as part of this strategy, with frequent downsizing of the teams.
Mostly, companies that are struggling to stay in business tend to use this strategy.
What to Remember During the Development of a Staffing Model
- Think about the company’s goal first and how you’ll achieve it. Accordingly, plan the appropriate staffing model that aligns well with your organization’s needs.
- Analyze your current staffing model’s flaws, and try to ascertain how it can be improved by using specific staffing models for different job roles.
- If required, consider changing how you recruit new employees to satisfy business needs better.
- Strategize the interview rounds in order to assess candidates’ skills and knowledge deeply.
- Prioritize employee retention by having a strategy for retirement plans and succession plans and providing extra benefits.
- You can use different methods to estimate the staffing needs for your business, such as a general rule of thumb, the Delphi technique, or statistical regression analysis.
- Develop a step by step onboarding and orientation programs for new hires. Doing this will simplify the staffing process – from the screening step to the onboarding.
- You must craft accurate job descriptions that specify job duties, experience and skills required. A clear job description increases the chances of finding a candidate with the desirable skill sets.
- Update your staffing plans as the organizational goal changes. Tactics like leveraging efficient recruitment software, streamlining the hiring process, and conducting training programs can pay off in the long run.
- Analyze your current workforce – what skills they have, what roles and responsibilities they handle, and their experience and expertise level. Once you evaluate each employee’s skills in the teams, you can find the skill gaps easily. Accordingly, you can conduct the employee training program for existing resources or recruit a new candidate for the role required to meet the company’s goals.
- Assess any challenges that you’ve faced in the past related to recruitment, training or retention before finalizing a plan.
An effective staffing model is all about determining your staffing needs, ascertaining the skills and knowledge that are required to meet business goals, and utilizing the resources to their full potential.
You can consider it a predictive tool that makes it easy to:
- forecast your business needs and
- map out the strategy to meet those requirements.
Employers can choose to have a mix of all models to cater to their needs; that is, they can hire full-time employees for roles and skills required for the long haul. On the other hand, they can hire augmented staff or consultants for roles and skills required for the short term.
Why Your Company Needs a Staffing Model
In the post-covid era, many organizations have made significant changes in the hiring paradigm because they couldn’t hire the right candidates who can meet their business demands. As a result, these inappropriate recruitments led to layoffs.
“According to a report from The University of Chicago, post-pandemic layoffs have risen to 12.8%, while new hiring remains at 3.8%. Simply put, there are about three new hires over every ten layoffs.”
The major reason behind such low recruitment and increased layoffs is that when companies started mass recruitment to expand their teams’ size, they didn’t onboard employees with the right skills and knowledge that would have been relevant to help them achieve their business goals.
All of this could have been avoided by using a staffing model that reveals the number of employees your business would need and the skills those employees should have to help you reach the organizational goals and objectives.
The staffing model involves a well-defined procedure for the recruitment and selection process that helps onboard competent staff for different job roles. Having an effective staffing plan ensures optimum use of resources while avoiding overstaffing.
Thus, a staffing plan enhances organizational performance by hiring the right person for the right job at the right time.
With a staffing model in place, HR can:
- ascertain skills gaps in the teams and can make informed decisions on conducting internal & external recruitment drives, and training programs.
- proactively hire the right mix of skills and cultural fit to meet current and future business needs.
- formulate the strategy to encourage employee engagement and retention.
- forecast labor costs in terms of both time and money to plan their financials and budget accordingly.
- understand the current resource utilization and take measures to improve it.
Building an effective staffing model demands time and patience. First, it requires assessing the skills gap in the teams, understanding the labor market situation and vetting the internal needs according to the budget and time.
Then, companies can formulate the best staffing model that caters to their needs. There are several staffing models that a company can go for, including full-time employees, staff augmentation, consultants, and outsourcing. There’s no one-size-fits-all model that a company can opt for; instead, they can use the model that aligns well with their requirements. In addition, they can also try a mix of models to fulfill the staffing needs within a set budget.