Effective Manpower Planning gives the company a clear idea of what its talent needs actually are and what they will be in the future.

A strategic paper on how defining staffing can help managers guide their staffing activities towards appropriate realistic business objectives


Under condition of rapid change, it is very important for a company to continually pursue opportunities for improvement in staffing activities, rather than perpetuating past practices. Break-through efforts are needed for innovative thinking about staffing and staffing utilization, improvement in staff costs, efficient usage of staff talents and mix for it helps the management to ensure that the talent will be in place to meet the organization needs now, in the next year and beyond.

Staffing issues

Forecasting and related analysis of staffing needs involve the process of analysis and questioning. They guides management to think about future staffing needs and how they will and should be met. Fundamental questions address the future numbers, levels and organizational deployment of talent :

  1. What will be our needs resulting from expansion, contraction or business changes ?
  2. What staff will we have available during the future planning period after attrition, promotion, etc ?
  3. How may we adjust or influence movement within the organization to help us meet our needs (transfers, promotions, redeployment) ?
  4. What will be our recruitment needs be next year ? After that ?
Improving Staff Utilization

The direction where it may leads to staff costs, staffing levels and mix, and effective utilization of employee talent is vital. Note that the number of people on the payroll does not reflect the capabilities available and applied to achieving the business objectives. To examine talent utilization it is necessary to focus on the work activities, not the people. To reduce staffing requirements work activities need to be realigned, reduced, eliminated, streamlined. Some of the question for exploring are:

  1. How many work be streamlined or simplified ?
  2. How many work be restructured or reassigned to provide more effective talent usage ?
  3. What activities be eliminated, consolidated, automated or outsourced ?
  4. What work can be performed at lower cost by others ?
  5. How may skills be applied more effectively?
  6. What skills needed be added or emphasized to improve utilization?
Talent utilization

Projecting the future availability of talent requires examination of the flows of employees, within an organization over specific periods of time. It is fundamental for companies to forecast changes in their talent supply losses resulting from turnover and availability changes due to transfers and promotions. Yet few managers take time to do this analysis and use the results in projecting future staffing needs because they lack the ready tools, information database or even staff support.

Just-in-Time talent

The ideal result of a good staffing management is just-in-time talent , a term used in the quality management process. It suggest that we should have the people we need just when we need them. When business performance calls for managers and employees to accelerate speed, lower costs, raise quality, and improve customer service, having the right talent is essential. Many managers honestly plan for a lean, mean organization and then find it chronically understaffed. Performance, morale and credibility of planning all suffer.
Managers must ensure that staffing actions shall fit the company needs and employee best interests, for employees too are factly pursueing career opportunities as they develop.


Defining an organization future staffing needs and plans is at the heart of human resource planning and, if aligned with people-related business issues, is of strategic importance. The logic of forecasting and planning for staffing supply and demand is simple: estimate future staffing requirements, estimate future staffing availability, compare and define nets.
In organization with high stability, little change in works demand and little movement of people, the process is indeed simple. However in today’s flexible organizations, the factors driving future staffing needs and supply are variables. The process of defining future needs then , is one of a developing scenarios based on different assumptions about changes. Managers may then select among these alternatives as a basis for action
In a process of continual improvement, workload is always subject to review : can work be eliminated, reduced in scope, automated, delegated or combined with other work ? Streamlining of jobs, flattening and restructuring of organizations, and rapid changes in work requirements make the demand for staffing a moving target.
As organizations become more flexible with changes occurring rapidly, managers are often tempted not to plan for staffing at all, but rather to act situationally. To align the management of human resources with strategy this temptation must be resisted. When condition change rapidly, careful analysis and planning of future staffing are all the more important as a guide to strategic staffing. , the right number and the right kind of people, at the right time, at the right place, doing things which result in both the organization and the individual receiving maximum long-run benefit.


1. James W Walker, Human Resource Strategy, 1992 McGrawHill Inc. NY.
2. Peter F Drucker, Managing In Turbulent Times, Harper & Row 1985, NY

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