Download Initial Staffing Plan Free Excel Template

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Download free excel template for initial staffing plan for factories, warehouses and service industries. Staffing means to allocate human resources in various assembly lines, service areas and cost centers in any business entity. This staffing plan template can be helpful to do the same.

How to develop an effective staffing plan ?

Staffing plans are often used during budget cycles to help plan and allocate costs. However, staffing plans can be used any time there will be a major adjustment to a workforce.

Staffing plans can be one component of a strategic workforce plan. The differences between the two and how they intersect will be discussed at the end of this how-to guide.

Steps to follow while developing an effective staffing plan –

a. Evaluating Goals

The first step in developing a staffing plan is to evaluate the needed goals to achieve. By recognizing the targets employees will be working toward, human resource professionals can identify the amount and type of support needed to meet those expectations.

Questions to ask when evaluating goals include –

  • What are the organization’s major strategic and tactical goals for the upcoming year?
  • How will the HR function support those goals?
  • What goals do I need to set for my function to ensure I’m aligned with the company’s goals?
  • What support are other functions/departments expecting from my department this year?
  • What internal goals would this function like to achieve this year?

b. Identifying Influencers

In this step, HR professionals determine the factors that might affect the staffing plan. Influencers can be internal or external to the organization. They can be positive or negative and are defined as anything that might indirectly affect the plan but that the organization has little control over. By evaluating influencers on the staffing plan, HR professionals survey the landscape to identify and understand forces that will affect the talent supply. Examples of such influencers are a tight labor market, changing regulations and evolution of a function.

To complete this step, HR professionals should start with a brainstorming session to identify everything that might impact their workforce. Once they generate the list, they can then group like influencers.

Sources that provide labor market data include

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • State and municipal labor statistics.
  • State unemployment data.

Questions to help identify influencers include

  • What is the talent availability in our market?
  • What trends are affecting skill development? These could be social impacts such as managing social media requirements, learning new skills as part of process evolution or the need to learn new technology.
  • Will technology changes influence our labor supply or demand? These changes could be new technology that will require additional staffing or training time or technology that improves efficiencies, thereby eliminating jobs.
  • Will changes to regulations affect our workforce?
  • Do we have competitors that will affect the supply of labor? Perhaps competitors are growing their workforce, or they are laying off people, thereby growing the labor supply.
  • Will economic or financial factors affect our staffing plans? These may include anticipated changes to the local economy, tightening of financing available to the organization or an influx of venture capital funding.
  • Do we need to account for constraints or impacts from facilities or infrastructure? These include office size, location and commuting implications.
  • Are potential “game changers” affecting our industry? Called “disrupter companies,” examples include Uber and its impact on the taxi industry. Other game changers include technology improvements such as driverless cars that may affect the transportation industry.

c. Analyze the Current State of the Function

Questions to ask while analyzing the current state include

  • What systems should I review for data on the current state?
  • Who are my current staff members? What positions affect how we get things done (e.g., what responsibilities require an HR manager versus an HR administrator)?
  • What expertise do staff members bring to their role?
  • Do other employees outside of my function regularly influence achieving HR team goals (e.g., perhaps the employee in payroll who reports to the chief financial officer)? This question is especially relevant in matrixed organizations.
  • Do vendors, contractors or others outside my organization regularly contribute to achieving team goals?
  • What are the competencies my current staff have?
  • Do I have any employees who are flight risks or who have personal issues that may affect their longevity with the organization?

d. Envisioning Needs and Requirements

Questions to ask while envisioning needs include:

  • What expertise does the HR function need to accomplish our goals for next year?
  • How many people will we need to meet our goals, and where should they be located? Sources for this figure may include current span-of-control numbers, staff ratio recommendations, historical rule of thumb within the organization or statistical regression analysis.
  • Does staffing change throughout the year? What will it look like in six months? In 12 months?
  • What is the ideal mix of staff, contractors or outside expertise needed to meet our goals? Generally outside experts are costly specialists such as lawyers or consultants whom HR may want on only a very limited basis but whose input is critical to the success of the plan. Contractors should be hired to fill short-term needs.
  • What budget will we need to meet our goals?

e. Conducting a gap analysis

Questions to ask when doing a gap analysis include:

  • If I compare the end state to the current state, in what areas are we currently unable to support outlined goals?
  • Where will we need to adjust current staffing? Will factors such as current performance or mobility affect the current staffing?
  • Do we lack staff with the right expertise in functional areas?
  • Do we have geographical gaps in which we need to hire staff?
  • Will cross-functional collaboration be needed? If so, how can we strengthen that partnership?

f. Developing a Solution and Roadmap

Questions to ask while developing the solution plan include:

  • Given all the information above, how do I use it to achieve the goals outlined in Step 1?
  • At the end of the year, what should my staff composition consist of?
  • When and where will we need to adjust staffing levels to support organizational goals?
  • What level of expertise do I require in which roles?
  • How am I accommodating for the influencers identified in Step 2?
  • How am I addressing the gaps outlined in Step 5? Outside of hiring, would training or other methods help cover these gaps? Can we fill some of these gaps with technology?
  • Finally, how often do I need to revisit this plan to ensure it continues to meet organizational needs?


As detailed above in the headings, completing a staffing plan comprises six main steps:

  1. Evaluate goals: What does this function need to accomplish?
  2. Identify influencers: What factors might affect the staffing plan?
  3. Identify the current state: What is the starting point?
  4. Envision needs: What is really needed (end state)?
  5. Conduct a gap analysis: What differences exist between the current state and the end state?
  6. Develop a solution plan: What types of staff are needed? When and where?

Difference between staffing plan and workforce planning

As noted in the introduction, staffing plans may be one component of workforce planning. The table below provides a summary of the difference between staffing plans and workforce planning as defined by a study on strategic workforce planning conducted by The Conference Board in 2012.

Staffing Plans Workforce Planning
Operation/tactical focus Strategic focus (less detailed)
One-year outlook (generally) Three- to five-year outlook
Output is head count plan Output is directional numbers
Addresses one future-state scenario May address multiple future-state scenarios

Download and Use Initial Staffing Plan Template in Excel

To use this free Staffing plan format in excel, you should have Microsoft Office/ Microsoft Excel. You can only use this template if you have these applications in your system. or Use, Google Sheets. 

After installing Excel or Spreadsheet, download the zip file of this template, extract the template using WinRAR or 7Zip decompressing software.

Once extracted, you can open the file using Excel and start entering data or customizing the template.

Click the button below to Download Initial Staffing Plan Excel Template

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