Human resource planning begins with determining workforce needs: the levels, positions and numbers of people the organization needs to carry out its mission and objectives. This type of planning generally occurs before the company opens its doors for business. Factors such as company growth, increased revenue, expansion into new markets and employee attrition also can require additional staff. When you're sitting at the table with executive leadership, it's wise to have a written proposal that justifies your request for additional manpower.

1. Start With the Essentials

Depending on the size of your organization and the complexity of your staffing plan, your request for additional staff proposal should have at least four basic sections:

  • Executive Summary
  • Needs Assessment
  • Methodology
  • Budget

Some proposals may require additional sections, such as Project Evaluation and Communication Strategy, but a human resources planning proposal may not need more than the basic four. The proposal requires input from your entire human resources team because staffing involves recruiting, employee training and development, and compensation.

2. Write an Executive Summary

State the purpose of your proposal and identify who provided input. Summarize the contents and provide information about how you intend to carry out the plan for additional staffing. Readers with access only to the executive summary should fully understand the underlying reasons for the request for additional staffing. Also make clear how you arrived at the conclusion that you need more employees and how the budget will cover the costs to recruit, train, onboard and pay them.


The ABC Company Human Resource Manager, [insert name], submits this proposal, dated [insert date] to justify the addition of five additional staff across two departments: Corporate Sales and Accounting. The HR team researched the company's needs, assessed the current labor market and estimated the overall cost for the additional employees. The details are set forth in this proposal approval by the ABC Company executive leadership team.

3. Describe Your Additional Manpower Proposal

Describe the reasons why the company needs additional staff and explain the methodology you used to determine how many staff are required to sustain the organization's operations. The needs assessment is likely to include a review of the company's current staffing plan and when it was implemented. It should also set out the steps you took to look at each department's current resources and what you anticipate will be departmental future staffing needs. For example, your needs assessment might include descriptions of average employee tenure, succession planning, employee training and development, and attrition and turnover.

4. Describe Your Methodology

This is the process used to conclude that the organization or department needs additional staff. For each one of the components of your needs assessment, describe the sources for your information and how you used that information. For example, averaging employee tenure is a simple calculation:

  1.  Review employee personnel files for hire dates
  2.  Calculate the number of years employed
  3.  Total the years worked
  4.  Divide the total by the number of employees 

For some departments, you might want to examine individual employee tenure to estimate attrition numbers. The methodology should also include the availability of workers, because there's no sense in petitioning for additional staff if the labor market is such that you don't stand a chance in attracting qualified applicants. Labor market availability determines whether you have access to human resources, such as nearby schools that produce graduates or a general labor market within commuting range. You might also include in this methodology what could happen if the company is unable to hire qualified additional staff. For example, increased overtime for current employees, loss of productivity or sales, or low employee morale because the current workforce is carrying the burden of excessive workloads could result.

5. Propose a Budget

The budget for additional staff is more than just what employees earn. Compensation for each employee includes annual wages or salaries, plus the cost of benefits. As of December 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the cost for private sector employee compensation was 31.7 percent of wages. For example, the cost to employ someone who earns $50,000 a year is approximately $15,850, making the total cost for that employee $65,850 year. Benefits include paid time off, insurance and retirement savings contributions. There are also costs to recruit, train and onboard employees, which depend on the time and wages of human resources team members engaged in the hiring process. Many organizations base hiring decisions on cost, so your proposal's budget section should describe the costs and the basis for your projections.

6. Sum It All Up

The conclusion of your proposal for additional staff should indicate the timeline, based on when you receive approval, because you can't usually pinpoint the exact date when you can actually bring people on board. Contingencies, such as background checks and candidates who need additional time for providing notice to current employers may cause delays. Don't rush the time frame within which you can bring on additional staff.