As a small business owner or startup founder, you may have a hard time figuring out your staffing needs. Being short staffed can keep your business from growing and make it difficult to handle the workload. Having too many employees, on the other hand, can drive up your costs and become a financial burden.


Develop a strategic staffing plan that reflects your company's current and future needs. Define the skills needed for each role, assess existing staffing resources and then try to fill the gaps.

Develop a Staffing Plan

The first thing you need to do is to develop a staffing plan. Think of it as a map that outlines the exact number of positions and roles within your organization as well as the skills and qualifications required for each role. This document should cover your current and future staffing needs in accordance with your budget and goals. A small business staffing plan may include the following:

  • The number and types of employees needed to run the business efficiently.
  • Existing staffing resources.
  • Staffing projections.
  • Gaps in your workforce.
  • Staffing options (such as permanent vs. temporary employees).

There are various ways to create a staffing plan. For example, you may include your short- and long-term goals, the tasks needed to achieve those goals and who will be responsible for each task. Even if you're fully staffed, your employees may lack certain skills needed for upcoming projects. Therefore, it's important to look at the big picture and develop staffing projections for the next few months or years.

Assess existing staffing resources and seek ways to maximize them. Use staffing forecasting methods to predict your company's future needs and identify any gaps when hiring new employees. A brick-and-mortar store, for example, can determine future staffing requirements based on the sales volume per employee over the past few years. Check each department in your organization and try to figure out where gaps exist.

Determine Staffing Needs

As you see, there are several factors you need to consider when creating a staffing plan. Look at your business plan and existing HR resources. Create a current skills inventory and talk to your staff members about what other skills and abilities they may have. Check past performance reviews as well.

Next, evaluate your options. Will your company need to hire more people? Is there any way to improve employees' productivity or help them develop the skills they already have? Do you need new employees in-house or on a project/contract basis?

Check your regular turnover and retirement turnover rates. For example, if you know that several key employees will retire over the next two years, plan your staffing needs and budget accordingly. Consider hiring and training interns to cut costs. By the time your current employees will retire, interns will have acquired the skills and experience needed to replace them.

The Importance of Strategic Staffing

Your employees are your greatest asset. A strategic staffing plan can increase your chances of finding the right people for the job and reduce your hiring costs. Additionally, it can make your business more productive and maintain harmony in the organization. Both under- and over-staffing can result in workplace conflicts, diminished productivity and revenue loss.

With a staffing plan in place, you'll have a better understanding of your company's current and future needs. At the same time, you'll be able to make better hiring decisions and reduce your turnover rates. Furthermore, you can use a staffing plan to determine whether you need to bring in full-time, part-time or temporary workers. Update this plan as your needs change.

A strategic approach to hiring also ensures that your business complies with equal employment opportunities (EEO) regulations. These laws apply to companies with at least 15 employees. Organizational diversity isn't just a legal requirement. It can also improve your company's reputation, increase employee engagement and grow your talent pool.