A hiring plan provides your company with a path forward to reach its goals through its staff. It’s designed to answer questions such as, ‘How do we realize our vision and whom do we need to help us get there?’ Without such a plan, a company may make hires that don’t fit into the overall goals of the company.

“People are a company’s No. 1 asset,” says Jarrod Daniel, CEO of The Daniel Group. “You have to make sure that asset can help your company achieve its goals.”

He says that once a company has set its vision, it should create a hiring plan that outlines who should fill each of the roles that are necessary to succeed. But it is a perpetually evolving task.

“You have to continuously examine your hiring plan and the staff that you currently have in place to determine what can be improved,” Daniel says.

Smart Business spoke with Daniel about comprehensive hiring plans and how they can help a company realize its potential.

What are the elements of a comprehensive hiring plan?

There are quantitative and qualitative elements to your hiring plan, but it starts with knowing what your vision is as a company. You want to bring in the right people and align them with a plan that lays out what you want to achieve as a company, which is your overall vision.

A good hiring plan involves onboarding, sourcing people to determine the right qualifications and setting their career paths within the company. Part of onboarding occurs during the interview by letting people know what is expected from them to help the company reach its ultimate goals. If they know the expectations up front, they can always be working toward that, regardless of the time it might take to get there. Having a career plan for individuals that incorporates what they can potentially do for your business down the line is an important element of hiring.

Otherwise, you have to balance a person’s technical skills with their ability to fit within your company culture. It doesn’t do much good to hire a smart, technically sound individual if that person can’t gel with your company’s culture.

How often should a company revisit and adjust its hiring plan?

You should adjust your hiring plan every single time you want to hire somebody. Things change within your hiring plan, so it has to be flexible. There are many divisions within a company, each with different strengths that help meet the company’s overall goals. Further, each department has a distinct hiring plan, as does each position. It is important to continuously adjust the short-term goals of your plan to stay on track with your long-term goals.

In addition, every time you hire someone, you will also need to plan out your expectations for his or her development in that position. If you continue to have to hire to fill that position, you need to review your plan and your past hires to determine what is going wrong.

How far into the future should the plan project?

That depends on the size of the company and the type of position to be filled, but generally, any time you plan for growth, you have to have a strategy. Say a large company has hiring needs that are project based, in which case, its plan might look four months ahead to determine the manpower necessary to complete a job.

However, if it is a cultural hiring plan — a company looking to hire a new vice president or CEO — it could take a few years because, as you go up the hiring triangle to a position that requires more specific skills and experience, it will takes longer to find a qualified candidate.

A company might also be in a position where it needs to hire to the gap, which refers to the difference in age you have between the people in management — say they’re in their 50s — and the next in line who can do the job, who we’ll say are in their 20s. That’s a significant age gap, so it’s important to make a plan to hire to fill it, say with someone in his or her late 30s.

Who determines the course and goals of the hiring plan?

Management and ownership usually collaborate on the hiring plan. Ownership will determine the plan when a company is just getting started, then management will take over this duty once its members are clear on the company’s vision and can align a hiring plan to meet company goals.

Management and human resources should have a forecast for hiring for a period covering three months, six months and one year. In that forecast, they need to have a hiring plan in place so when the time comes to bring someone onboard, it can happen quickly.

Companies should be working on their hiring plan on a daily basis because things could be going great while you are fully staffed, but anything can happen tomorrow to change that.

How can a staffing firm help a company with its hiring plan?

A staffing agency can serve as a third party that can consult with a company without the bias that might exist from within a business. It can go in and look at the situation from a counseling standpoint to give an objective perspective of the culture and the technological skillsets of the staff and offer clarity.

Staffing firms have seen many hiring plans, and this broader perspective and experience can be applied to companies that are just forming their plans by compiling best practices into a custom strategy.

Jarrod Daniel is CEO of The Daniel Group. Reach him at (713) 932-9313 or jarroddaniel@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston