According to a study by SHRM, the annual employee turnover rate is about 19% in the US. At an average cost of $4,129 for each new hire, filling open positions can be an expensive task.
It’s essential to create a well-organized process for planning your headcount growth each year so your team can find the right candidates in a timely and cost-effective manner. This process needs to be more than just a quick plan to fill open spots. Your team’s headcount plan requires careful thought about budgeting, as well as your recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes, to prevent an excess of turnover or an increase in expenses.
Here are the most first steps to take to create your headcount growth plan:
1. Evaluate your current metrics
To begin planning for team growth, consider taking an objective look at your current metrics around headcount, growth, attrition, and tenure. For example, starting with headcount and growth, you should first sync with other leaders to understand the goals for the upcoming quarter or calendar year. Understanding where teams are headed within the organization can help your team ballpark the headcount needed to support that growth.
Next, begin to dive into your metrics around attrition and tenure. If you have a steady attrition rate, you can use that to project the number of employees who will need to be replaced at the end of the period. Otherwise, you can look at your previous employees’ average tenure in combination with the average tenure of current employees. This will give you another approximation of your attrition rate.
2. Consider your goals
The second step would be to consider team goals over the next 5 years. While it’s most important to think about what you’ll need over the following calendar year, having a general idea of future projections will give you an idea of what needs to happen between now and then.
The number of employees you hope to add in the next year is your growth goal. Once you know the growth needed for the following hiring period, take the time to work closely with the hiring managers of each position to understand the roles specific needs and requirements. Ask yourself:
If teams need candidates with more experience for a role, will it take longer to recruit and hire them? If hiring managers require highly technical roles to fill, how will that impact your time to fill?
Thinking through the logistics of each role will ensure that you have a clear vision and can find the right candidates for each position.
3. Plan your strategies
Once you have a good idea of your team’s needs, you can begin creating plans to achieve your growth goals. Having a plan in place will help you keep the process organized and on track.
While your company may have a general recruiting strategy in place, you’ll likely need to adapt it to fit your growth goal, especially if your goal requires you to aggressively recruit in order to find enough people to fill open positions. When planning your recruiting practices, consider the software and services you might need in order to achieve your growth goals. Having a robust ATS, streamlined sourcing solutions, and candidate assessment tools, are a good place to start. If your recruiting team doesn’t have the bandwidth to meet your goals, looking for strategic agency partners early will help set you up for success.
When making hiring decisions, have a plan for what criteria candidates will need to meet to fill each role. Otherwise, you may end up with hires that have too little experience for the goals you’re aiming to meet. Or, you may splurge on over-qualified hires that wind up overly bored and frustrated in their positions. You should make a list of technical requirements of the role and consider what your ideal candidate really looks like. Are they a more experienced candidate? Or are they a recent college grad? Do they need to live locally or can this position be done remotely?
It’s also important to set a budget for each role, depending on what level of expertise you’re looking for from candidates. You don’t want to spend too much to meet the demands of a couple of candidates and leave your team with a much smaller amount for the other roles you need to fill.
Along with your recruiting and hiring plans, you need to additionally plan and set strategies around new hire training, development, and success. According to Gallup, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their employers did a great job with onboarding. For every person hired, you need to provide appropriate onboarding, otherwise, you're likely to see higher rates of disengagement and employee turnover.
When planning for your team, you should consider how you’ll set new hires up for success. Asking current employees about their views of the current onboarding process may be a good way to gauge its effectiveness. Think about what documentation, videos, ERGs, or other resources you could add to help people get started.
When you’ve finished strategizing for your headcount growth, you can get started putting your plan into action. By taking the time upfront to plan a strategic process around headcount growth, you can ensure every team will meet their growth goals.