Staffing plays an important role in the success or even survival of a business. Factors ranging from the market position of the business to the internal culture of the business also influence the approach taken to staffing strategies. Businesses can employ one of four types of strategic staffing approaches to meet their needs.

Academy Staffing

The academy staffing strategy takes a developmental approach to staffing. Businesses using this model tend to recruit directly out of college programs and provide significant levels of specialized in-house training. Employees in these organizations often stay with the business throughout their entire career, advancing through the ranks over time as they master a number of distinct skill sets. Smaller or medium-sized businesses might follow this model or a version of it by offering mentorships to talented employees with the hope of moving those employees into positions with more responsibility over time.

Club Staffing

The club staffing strategy focuses more on social conformity than specific skill sets. In essence, the ability of employees to recognize the internal social and political structures, as well as work with them, can determine how far and fast they promote within the organization. Management training in such as strategy aims for general knowledge and principles. This gives managers more versatility, but somewhat limits their understanding of the work performed by subordinates who have specialized knowledge. Club staffing approaches tend to yield high levels of employee retention.

Fortress Staffing

Troubled businesses often fall back on a fortress staffing strategy that aims to protect the business by hanging on to the most important employees. Businesses employing this approach tend to do minimal recruitment with frequent downsizing, making job security problematic. Those with a talent for turning a business around or providing critical skill sets for an industry can still find employment at businesses with fortress staffing.

Baseball Team Staffing

The baseball team staffing strategy relies on innovation and individual performance, but requires the business to maintain the finances to offer big rewards for performance. Businesses using this model recruit on a regular basis and look for high-performing individuals for positions at any level of the business. This approach leads to low retention and low levels of loyalty beyond the current contract, as high-performing employees receive lucrative offers from other businesses.


Few businesses fit neatly into a single strategic staffing approach. For example, a struggling business might adopt fortress staffing as its primary approach, while using a selective baseball team staffing approach to draw in talented, shorter-term contractors to bolster performance. Alternately, a firm with deeply-entrenched club staffing approach might offer a more academy-style approach for exceptional employees in order to retain them over the long haul.