The coronavirus will have a sustained impact on the businesses. The public health measures that sent millions of American workers home are expected to change the nature of work long-term.

Many companies resisted the remote work trend with less than half (43%) of employees at home part time in 2017. The global pandemic forced most companies to experiment with work-from-home.

Businesses have invested in technologies and support systems to maintain operations in a remote work environment. Leaders are honing their abilities to manage teams that are out of sight.

Businesses dedicated resources to adapt to a remote workforce. Many employees will return to the office, but an increased number may remain remote past the pandemic’s resolution.

Businesses should build a staffing model effective for this new workforce landscape.

1. Determine Your Long-Term Goals

Businesses should determine their long-term goals to create an effective staffing model.

It’s likely that you have a foundational model composed of employees whose absences would impact the standard operations of your business. This base-line level of staff ensures the sustained operations of your business.

From a standard staffing model, you can develop a more robust model according to your goals. Identify where you want to go to predict the needs of your organization and plan to allocate the appropriate resources.

Assess your business’s goals, mission statement, and strategic plan to find the high-growth areas in your business and potential gaps in talent.

You should consider plans for growth into new markets or expansions in services and products. To achieve this growth, it’s likely you will require additional resources or skills.

Identify the essential skills and roles required to support the company long-term. Consider whether or not these resources or skills require a permanent or temporary increase in staffing levels.

Those essential roles will be the positions filled with permanent employees whereas other responsibilities may be better for contingent staffing. Roles may be better fulfilled by part-time employees such as outsourced workers.

Businesses should determine their strategic goals to guide the implementation of a productive staffing model.

2. Assess Your Workforce to Understand Your Needs

Businesses should analyze existing roles to make talent gaps apparent.

Evaluate the size and skills of your current staff through workforce or job analyses. Collect, assess, and interpret the data regarding the specific responsibilities of roles. If your staff data is hosted in separate systems, centralize the information to enable maximum insight.

This process will help you to evaluate current roles to guide your staffing decisions. It will reveal the duties and responsibilities associated with a role to guide your recruitment, selection, and placement of employees.

This process will reveal any gaps within your business by helping to identify what roles you have and don’t have. By evaluating what roles you don’t have, you can determine if essential needs exist that are not met with your current staffing models. From there, you can assess if the gaps can be filled by employee transfers or external recruitment efforts.

It’s also important to consider planned absences and anticipate unplanned leaves. Devise a plan that accounts for terminations, retirements, and medical leaves. Identify employees who are eligible for retirement or leaves and assess their role within the organization. If that role is essential to your business, plan for either training in house or hiring from the outside.

Businesses should evaluate their current resources to locate talent gaps that guide the development of a holistic staffing model.

3. Analyze Patterns in Personnel

Businesses should examine the flow of staff within their organizations to remain proactive with personnel changes.

Businesses generally experience an ebb and flow of staffing levels. For example, employees remain with an organization for about five years (4.6 years) on average.

Track the flow of workers through your business to identify patterns. This knowledge will help you to create a staffing plan that remains one step ahead of changes in resources.

Review the number of employees nearing retirement age, potential maternity or paternity leaves, upcoming promotions that demand a succession plan, and identify individuals nearing your organization’s average service length.

A clear understanding of leaving dates will help you to establish a candidate pipeline to mitigate the risk of losing internal knowledge in the case of an abrupt change. Match your succession plan with a recruitment team to ensure that your plan’s enacted effectively.

Create a staffing plan that is understandable across the organization to ensure alignment. A succession plan should include plans for succession as different employees advance as well as the departments that will become crucial to the future success of the company or grow in size.

Based on this pattern, you can assess your workforce to identify transitions in advance.

Businesses should analyze patterns in their workforces to establish a staffing model that anticipates changes in staffing levels.

4. Review Your Staffing Model Periodically

Businesses should assess their staffing models frequently to ensure that your organization’s needs are met through periods of change.

A business’s needs change quickly, which means a yearly review of your staffing model is likely insufficient. Establish regular reviews of your strategic plans to prepare swift responses to abrupt changes in the market such as the economic downturn in March as a result of the novel coronavirus.

It’s important to include staffing in your reviews to remain flexible. This will help you to adapt to changes in role or resource requirements more quickly. For example, if your largest client transitions to a competitor, you will need to accommodate the impact on operating margins.

Businesses should assess their operations frequently to ensure their staffing model satisfies their current functional needs.

Develop a Staffing Model to Fit Your Business’s Needs

Businesses should implement staffing models that satisfy their unique objectives.

A thorough understanding of your strategic goals will support alignment with your staffing model.

An assessment of your current staffing landscape will help you to anticipate your future staffing needs. It will ensure that you build a staffing model that includes employees who possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to support your business’s needs.

Businesses keep track of their employees’ evolution within the organization to create a proactive staffing model that mitigates the negative impact of resource deficits.

It’s important to evaluate your staffing model regularly for it to remain effective. Frequent reviews of roles and resources will ensure that you remain responsive to internal and external conditions.

Kate Russell is an Editorial Associate for Clutch — an Inc. 1000 private company that helps decision-makers determine the best B2B service providers to solve business challenges. She is also an HR research and content lead.

Staffing stock photo by iQoncept/Shutterstock