Use a Staffing Strategy to Guide Staffing Decisions

Sunday, December 14, 2014, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Projects acquire resources within the context of a company’s staffing approach. But have you ever thought about how an organization makes staffing decisions?

Some companies tend to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. These companies make staffing decisions based on what makes sense for their particular situation or for a particular team.

Use a Staffing Strategy to Guide Staffing Decisions

If everyone makes staff-related decisions based on their individual needs, you typically end up being inefficient from an organization perspective.

What you really need is for the senior managers in your organization to develop a Staffing Strategy to provide a framework for dealing with the current staff and new staffing decisions.

Your Staffing Strategy provides overall guidance on how you acquire and manage staff at a macro (high) level.

The strategy must reflect current realities, but also set the direction for where you want to be in three to five years.

The parts to a viable Staffing Strategy include:

  • Alignment to Organization Goals and Strategy

    The Staffing Strategy does not exist in isolation. It is one part of what is required to achieve your organizational goals and strategies and to fulfill your organization mission.

    For instance, if you have an organizational strategy to outsource non-essential job functions, your Staffing Strategy must reflect this as well.

  • Filling Openings

    Describe how you would like to fill staff openings. For example, you could require that all openings be posted internally before a manager looks for outside candidates.

    If your preference is to fill openings internally, there should be much more mobility in terms of employee transfers.

  • Staff Balance

    Provide guidance as to whether employees or contractors should fill openings.

    The question is twofold. First, what is the organization’s preference in terms of the percentage of contractors versus employees?

    Second, provide high-level guidance as to what an individual manager should consider when an opening exists.

  • Diversity Goals

    Discuss your portfolio’s position on diversity. This could be in terms of mandates to the managers, or just guidance.

    For instance, discuss how important it is that your workforce contains diversity in terms of men and women, and also in terms of race and culture.

    This diversity policy may, in turn, affect how you identify candidates and how the hiring process works.

  • Retention

    Describe your overall retention strategy. This includes the level of turnover you are willing to accept and the lengths that you will go to retain staff.

    For instance, will you consider counteroffers for your best performers if they decide to leave?

  • Employee Development

    Discuss your overall philosophy for developing staff. This includes growth in professional, business and technical skills.

    Every employee cannot know everything, but this section provides guidance to managers about the emphasis on employee development, how proactive the managers should be, and the responsibility of each employee in their personal development program.

  • Work Environment

    Describe any aspects of the overall work environment that you feel are important from a staffing perspective.

    Again, you are giving guidance here. You are not describing policies in detail.

    For instance, you could discuss your organization’s policy for discrimination and intimidation (none!), your philosophy for how people should be treated, how conflict should be resolved, how managers and employees communicate, etc.

Each year the Staffing Strategy is driven down to a Staffing Plan. The Staffing Plan provides specific guidance on open positions, the number of employees and contractors, the training budget, specific retention initiatives, etc.

Your organization will be much more effective and efficient if all of these staffing decisions are based on the guidance of an overall Staffing Strategy that ensures everyone is moving in the same direction.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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