Understanding Staffing: What it Means and Why it’s Important

By Henri Gisclard-Biondi
Published: 23/04/2021
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Staffing is one of the most important challenges faced by businesses across business sectors, from medical firms to consulting firms.

Managing to find the skills needed by a company quickly is a permanent challenge, as the job market is tense and competitive and missions require ever more diverse skillsets.

Keep reading to understand the process of staffing, as well as the different challenges and problems it entails for businesses. Learn more about how to gain a competitive advantage by digitalising your staffing process and using the right tools.

What is staffing?

The staffing process

Staffing means choosing someone whose skills and knowledge enable them to participate in or lead one or more activities in a project. In other words, it’s finding the right people for the right role on the team, at the right time.

The staffing process is at the heart of the activity of service-oriented organisations who are trusted to find the perfect profiles for the projects of their clients. This holds true especially for businesses such as:

  • Consulting firms,
  • Digital service providers,
  • Auditing firms,
  • Engineering firm,
  • Staffing agencies.

These rely on having access to a wide pool of talented professionals to fill demanding positions, either for their clients or to sustain their need for growth and change in a competitive, innovative market.

The types of staffing

Staffing can play a different role in your organisation and fulfil different recruitment needs. Hence why a staffing plan could be designed to reach different goals: there are 4 types of staffing objectives you might want to consider.

  • Short-term staffing: this strategy is designed to fill positions quickly to sustain peak activity times. This type of staffing is usually seen in seasonal businesses looking for additional employees when sales or the holiday season is approaching.
  • Long-term staffing: this type of plan focuses on being proactive and anticipating the needs of the company for the coming years. It accounts for future leaves and tries to predict the needs of the business in the future to prevent understaffing or overstaffing.
  • Strategic staffing: this usually involves creating a comprehensive plan to account for both short and long-term staffing needs. Based on data such as turnover rates, sales or the age of the current workforce, the company assesses the skills it will need over time to keep growing at a steady rate.
  • Succession: planning the succession of key managers within the company is crucial to guarantee the continuation of your activity. Training potential successors for key positions allow the business to keep going once managers retire, without significant disruptions.

Why is staffing important?

By its nature, staffing is essential to the health and success of all kinds of organisations. Filling vacancies at the right time, with the right candidate has many advantages for the company as a whole.

  • If the new hire has the right set of technical and soft skills, they can lead your projects to success and elevate the work of your company by providing the knowledge and expertise you needed.
  • Choosing the right person for the job also generates more employee engagement thanks to a successful onboarding process, and low turnover rates help maintain a healthy working atmosphere.
  • If vacancies are filled at the right time, your business can keep growing steadily, and employees don’t get overwhelmed with a number of new tasks they don’t have the skills or time to accomplish.
  • An accurate analysis of the needs of your business avoids wasting resources on irrelevant positions, losing contracts or postponing projects because your company does not have access to the relevant information or skills.

The challenges of staffing

When managing staffing, most companies are content with using Excel spreadsheets, writing down recruitment needs by hand and holding many lengthy meetings with other managers.

This method can cause problems and difficulties, which include:

  • Not having a global vision of the skills and knowledge available to the organisation,
  • Lacking agility and reactivity, which can lead to missing out on opportunities,
  • Subpar Return on Investment (ROI) or even losses incurred because of inaccurate project estimates,
  • High turnover rates due to an inability to match the right profile to the right job, leading to dissatisfaction and frustration for both the employee and the company,
  • Inaccurate or outdated KPIs and metrics, which produces flawed reports that can’t support decision-making,
  • Human errors, such as schedule conflicts, data deletion or miscalculations,
  • Lack of visibility in the coming weeks and months, with an inability to anticipate needs.

Using staffing tools to digitalise the process

Recruitment is a complex process unfolding in a highly competitive environment. Managers are compelled to take decisions quickly, sometimes without having access to the relevant information.

You could get in touch with a staffing agency to take care of the recruitment process externally. However, there are also advantages to hiring internally vs. recruiting externally.

Going digital can be of great help, and efficient recruiting software can go a long way. These solutions offer many advantageous features, which can help you:

  • Streamline the process with automation, including automated matchmaking using dozens of criteria and job posting on multiple websites,
  • Take better decisions thanks to smart HR dashboards, which allow you to track HR metrics in real-time,
  • Eliminate human errors with support for automated schedules and more,
  • Exploit your data and make it more reliable by providing a way to centralise and store it more securely,
  • Maximise returns and satisfaction by optimising your workflow both for your HR department and the applicants,
  • Manage the recruitment process remotely thanks to tools such as video job interviews.

Going further: what about employee satisfaction?

Whether you’re a staffing agency or a company looking for talents to contribute to the group, you’re surely aware of the challenges that come with the recruitment process. By equipping yourself with the best tools, you’ll gain a competitive edge and bag the best skills!

But don’t forget to look inward as well: promoting collaborators and listening to their professional aspirations is important, as they are your most precious resource.

This is why in the long run, internal promotions and training should play an essential role in your strategic staffing plan.

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