To see hiring success in 2020, small and mid-sized businesses must move from reactive recruitment to a proactive resourcing strategy. A major component of this is creating a strategic hiring plan. 

But before we get into the whats and hows, let’s start with the whys. Specifically, why you should focus on mastering hiring in 2020. 

Research from Boston Consulting Group shows that the best hiring organisations grow three times faster than the poorest – across all industries. Furthermore, by 2027, approximately 75% of today’s S&P 500 companies will disappear, according to Equiv. 

Simply put, great hires motivate future great hires to jump onboard, while bad hiring experiences negatively impact a company’s brand and reputation, as well as its bottom line. 

To win in the talent market, what do I need?

  1. A hiring plan 
  2. A proactive recruitment strategy 
  3. A professional and engaging candidate experience 
  4. Extremely collaborative and engaged hiring managers 
  5. A highly productive recruitment team with the right skills 

In this guide, we’ll be focusing on the first point: a strategic hiring plan. 

What is a strategic hiring plan?

Look at a strategic hiring plan and you’ll see a spreadsheet with accompanying financials and headcount (budget for each role and department). 

While this doesn’t sound super inspiring, it’s about much more than just numbers. Your strategic hiring plan is what you will use to shape your recruitment strategy. It will be the go-to tool to educate both leadership and hiring managers as to how – only by working together – they will reach company goals. 

In our experience, hiring plans are volatile and can swing either way by 30%. Yet this is still accurate enough to use in order to build a service delivery model and measure success. 

In the absence of an actual document, you have no platform from which to work, nor the ability to measure success or failure. 

Who should be involved in building a strategic hiring plan?

It’s best practice to take a three-pronged approach. 

Look at:

  • The top down plans: This tends to be created when a business’ leadership team compares business and financial goals against existing resources
  • The bottom up plans: Involve anyone who is responsible for people leadership and budget. Capture their perceived requirements, considering aspects including flight risk, maternity etc
  • HR lens: Take a deeper look into the skills gap and performance in the organisation

Gather all this information to discover the true, multi-level hiring needs of a business for a more robust outcome. 

How should I build a strategic hiring plan?

Now you’ve gathered all the information, it’s time to get started. Here’s our nine-step guide to building your strategic hiring plan. 

  1. Define your company goals for next year? If possible, build this out to account for the next three or five years
  2. Capture any strategic initiatives 
  3. Draft an organisational design which will allow you to reach those goals. In the absence of an organisational design, hiring plans are usually predicated by revenue and financial goals
  4. Conduct a skills/people gap analysis 
    • Identify skills you’ll need in the future
    • Assess skills your company already has
    • Compare current skills against desired skills and plan to fill the gaps
  5. Forecast: When will the roles need to be filled next year? (Q1,2,3,4)
  6. Use talent intelligence (DATA) to forecast the cost of these new skills/people
  7. Ensure you understand the funding cycle of these new roles
  8. Conduct hiring plan sessions: Include anyone who has people leadership and budget responsibility to get a pulse of their people plans
  9. Segment your roles ‘high source, high volume’ ‘low source, low volume’, and ‘low source, high volume’

Now you’ve created your strategic hiring plan, read on to learn more about shaping a proactive recruitment strategy. Check out our SME Leader’s Proactive Hiring Toolkit for all the resources you need to get going on your proactive strategy.

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