Staffing Success: Hiring for Your Immediate and Future Needs

by | Nov 18, 2023

Staffing success starts with why. Why are you hiring? What problems will your hire solve? How will this hire help your business ahead? 

Staffing isn’t a perfect science. Companies make short-sided staffing decisions and overhiring staffing mistakes every day. We don’t always see the forest through the trees, but looking at how to staff for immediate and future needs can help us make smarter staffing decisions.

To learn how to balance immediate and future hiring considerations, you can ask yourself questions like:

  • When have you hired for immediate needs vs. future goals, and has that worked out for you?
  • When have you felt too late in your hiring – maybe that looked like attrition due to team burnout, or a GTM strategy that lagged because the talent and impact weren’t in place to meet your moment. 
  • Which hires have grown with your company, and which hires did your company outgrow?
  • Do you have the right hires in place for where you want your company to go? If not, what’s missing?

You may not have concrete answers to these questions, but pursuing the answers will put you ahead. Staffing success comes from immediate and future needs being considered at all times – from recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and workforce development – it’s an ongoing practice of enormous importance. Practice makes progress, never perfection. Leaders who can anticipate workforce needs and advance their current teams will undoubtedly deliver better business results.

If you fear your staffing plans aren’t moving you toward your long-term vision, here’s some advice to keep in mind.  

How to Set A Staffing Blueprint 

First, ensure staffing is the answer. Sometimes, we throw people at problems when, really, process or product optimization investments would have been better. When you hire people, you aren’t experimenting – do your best to ensure you are right-sizing your hires for immediate and future needs. 

First and foremost, you need to understand your workforce and how they power your business. To start, you can focus on getting these 10 things in place:

  1. An organizational chart of your workforce
  2. A list or visual showing current talent gaps – include talent gaps that address immediate and future needs
  3. A job description template that fully outlines the role responsibilities and requirements; steer away from qualifications 
  4. A dedicated recruiting agency for critical, hard-to-fill positions
  5. An employee referral program for new hires
  6. Compensation insights and pay scales for your current leveling system
  7. Clear vision, mission, and values that are shown in company action
  8. Leadership consensus on staffing plans and philosophies
  9. A company-wide approach to Employee Performance Management 
  10. Adoption of evaluating workforce in a 9-Box Grid for a better grasp of employee performance and potential, further informing staffing strategies ahead. 

“1-10 will give you a headstart in operating a best-in-class workforce. There’s software and tools to make 1-10 work companywide with greater ease and insights. But if you are just starting to create or overhaul your staffing and workforce planning, don’t start with a tool. Start with paper notepads, Google Sheets, and whiteboards. It’s the approach that matters – keep it simple, ensure stakeholder alignment and adoption – and make whatever you do easy enough to stick. After you are clear on how you want to approach staffing, people and performance management, then absolutely look for software and tools to help.” – Cassie Rosengren, CEO

How to Determine if Staffing is the Answer

Staffing the right people at the right time is one of the leading indicators of a successful business. The pre-requisite to successful staffing is knowing that staffing is the solution to begin with! Here are some things to consider:

  1. Internal Candidates?
    Is there an existing employee showing interest or high potential to take this position on? Internal mobility leads to higher retention, faster ramp-up, and better employee engagement.
  2. Referrals?
    Harness employee referrals to unlock direct access to talent (talent you may not be able to find otherwise)
  3. Optimize In-House Recruiters?
    In-house recruiters face impossibilities – unrealistic requisition load, ever-changing role requirements, and internal processes bog them down. They can be slower to deliver and stuck in reactive duties. Look at what’s stuck – for example, if the pipeline is strong but interview processes are 6 weeks long, the issue is efficiency, not talent quality. Digital Knack loves working in-hand with internal teams to divide and conquer on hiring goals – it’s about investing smart on who does what. 
  4. Outside Experts?
    Identify which functions are best outsourced and choose partners wisely. Find a recruiting agency that’s acutely aligned for your company — both in expertise and style. Turn them on cyclicly and you’ll gain a trusted talent partner on-demand – they’ll bring a current pulse on the talent market and a keen ability to deliver your niche and critical talent with speed and precision. Recruiting agencies aren’t the only outsource opportunity — think about digital performance marketing, website management, and public relations too. 
  5. Is It People, Afterall?
    Sometimes, we add more people when in fact, what’s really needed are process improvements, people development opportunities, and improved tools for faster, better work. 

By deploying a mix of resourcing strategies, you’ll be better prepared to fill gaps as needs arise. When it comes to the staffing strategies you choose, you need some steadfast standards. 

Get Clear on What to Hire For 

Think about hiring requirements on a continuum. You have the competencies you need and the definition of what “good” looks like in terms of competency standards, output and results. Furthermore, you have previous experience, proof of impact and potential in every hire you meet. Prepare to vet your talent against your company goals, culture and impact expectations. 

“For roles where immediate impact is needed, hire for both proven experience and proof of potential. It’s not an either/or. Look beyond titles and companies. You are also hiring for the track record of one’s character, growth mindset, and motivations. It can feel complicated, but when you know what matters most for the role and your company, it’s clear.” – Cassie Rosengren, CEO 

Do You Need Help With Hiring? 

Filling a role for the here-and-now can be challenging enough. When you stir in the complexity of trying to meet future goals, while solving for immediate needs, it can start to feel insurmountable. The good news? A staffing strategy truly can help, especially when guided and supported by a team of experts. 
If you need help hiring, learn more about staff planning and how an agency like Digital Knack can help you make confident additions to your team that shine now and down the road.


Written by Cassie Rosengren, Co-Founder and Managing Partner