Time to Prepare Your 2020 Staffing Strategy

December 2019
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It’s hard to believe, I know, but the new year is almost here. If you haven’t done so already, this is a great time to start planning for your 2020 staffing. 

It’s a job-seekers market, with increasingly complex demands being placed on PR professionals. Having a smart and flexible staffing strategy will help you meet client and stakeholder needs sooner while allowing you to better understand your people — the lifeblood of any organization.

To get the ball rolling for your staffing strategy, collaborate closely with senior leadership, hiring managers, and leaders in human resources and recruitment/talent acquisition.

Create strategic goals.

Start by thinking about your organization’s major strategic goals for the coming year. Outline those objectives carefully. Does your current staff have the capacity and skills required to attain those goals? Where have you lost business or seen a decline in productivity? Are the right people in the right roles?

Think about different ways that staffing changes might better equip your organization to tackle those challenges, and new ones, in 2020. 

Review potential head-count additions and reductions, and the enhanced skills and experiences you will need most. Be prepared with comprehensive job descriptions and lists of requirements. Look at existing staff openings and potential departures. 

What competencies do your staffers have, and what do you need for the new year? Do you have upcoming promotions planned that may impact team structures and needs? If your company uses freelancers, take their skills into consideration, too. 

Having a clear picture of your team’s current standing, and where you want to be, will help you plan your staffing budget for 2020.

Dive deep into the market.

The availability of PR talent fluctuates wildly depending on demographic, years of experience, necessary skills, industry expertise and the job market. Add competing PR firms and other organizations with competitive salaries to the mix, and you have a challenge in front of you. Research these factors carefully and remember that financial considerations will affect your strategy.

Look back at the last year, and at your firm’s longer-term trends. Have your hiring needs and turnover ebbed and flowed at more or less the same time every year? Are you doing more work for clients in a particular sector now than in years past? Such insights will help you plan ahead for your workforce.  

Be open to changes.

When fleshing out your staffing strategy, the next step is to outline your existing staff, required additions, and timing for probable changes throughout the year. 

Present these insights in a way that is clear and easy to digest. Think about how internal training, technology enhancements, or reallocation of staffing resources might fill gaps in the interim. Speak with your talent-acquisition team about staffing challenges you might face, and see where the hiring process can be improved. 

In this era of increased transparency and demands for authenticity, positive employee experiences and sentiment will boost retention.

I mentioned the importance of having a staffing strategy that is smart and flexible. Schedule moments throughout the year to review your plan and see whether you’re on track. If you need to pivot, then do so. Maintain communication with other stakeholders, from your leadership to your recruiters, and make sure everyone is on the same page. 

Best wishes for your 2020 hiring initiatives! 

photo credit: shutterstock

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