What Does the Word "Staffing" Mean?

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Staffing refers to the process of recruiting, hiring, orientating, retaining and firing employees. Staffing is a human resources term, and inside staffing is conducted within a company by the human resources team. Companies can outsource some or all of their staffing needs. In many cases, employers turn to staffing agencies to fill vacant spots on a temporary, long term or permanent basis. A staffing agency typically charges a fee to the company based on how much of the staffing duties the agency handles.

Evaluating Needs

An HR person in charge of staffing must evaluate the needs of the company as a whole, as well as individual departments. Understaffing and overstaffing both hurt the bottom line. The key is to find a balance where a department's productivity is not hampered when one person calls in sick but is simultaneously not overstuffed with personnel. Feedback from employees and managers can help staffers figure out the correct headcount for each department.


When staffing a company, a lot goes into the recruitment process. Each company is unique, but the recruitment process usually begins with a posted ad. HR evaluates resumes, and some of those are eventually sent to the hiring manager. At that point, applicants are contacted for interviews. After completing background and reference checks, companies then either make an offer to the candidate or pass on him.


After the appropriate candidate is hired, the HR staffing person must now start a personnel file and provide a new employee orientation. A comprehensive orientation includes an introduction to other employees, a guided tour of the facilities, setting up training sessions and reviewing company policies.


Part of staffing requires retention methods to keep the best employees. According to Jack J. Phillips and Adele O. Connell, authors of "Managing Employee Retention," rewards and recognition should be part of a company's culture to retain employees. Part of staffing means being responsible for implementing rewards and recognition. If a job requires an extensive training period, a high turnover rate is costly to the employer.


Sometimes letting go of employees is necessary. One of the most important things staffing personnel need to do when firing employees is keeping a paper trail of all communication with the employee. Firing an employee when it's not part of a layoff is usually the last resort. In his "Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision," Carter McNamara advises having written policies of acceptable behavior and duties, and writing warnings to employees if unacceptable behavior is exhibited. McNamara also advises taking a day or two to think it over, and then, if firing is the only rational conclusion, doing it both in writing and in person.

About the Author

Eve Lopez has 10 years of editorial experience at a variety of companies, including Amazon.com, "The Seattle Times" and Business.com. She loves to travel and often writes about her travel experiences. Lopez earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from California State University and has been certified in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

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