How to Set Achievable Staff Growth Goals

July 09, 2019 Pete Newsome Pete Newsome

If you’re interested in how to grow your business, it often starts with growing your staff! Creating strategic staff growth goals that align with your future business objectives is essential for you to achieve them.

But, strategic workforce planning is easier said than done, and many companies have a difficult time setting, and then achieving, their recruitment goals and objectives. That’s why the professional recruiters at 4 Corner Resources have compiled this guide on how to set achievable staff growth goals. Let’s get started!

Consider Your Overall Business Growth Goals

The key to strategic workforce planning is aligning your recruitment goals and objectives with those of the organization as a whole. A misalignment will make it incredibly difficult to achieve your business growth goals in a predictable and timely manner. Why? Your people are the core of your organization. Without enough staff members who possess the right depth and breadth of skills and experience, it’s hard enough to complete current workload and processes — much less work towards future ones.

For example, let’s say your number one business goal is to expand your product offerings into a new territory. If you want to bring your products into a new market, you’ll need additional production staff, salespeople, and customer service specialists. Without them, your product expansion likely won’t go very smoothly because you won’t have enough manpower to handle that increased volume. 

Perform a Current Workforce Audit 

You can’t determine how to grow with your business without having a clear picture of where it currently stands. Similarly, you can’t set achievable staff growth goals if you don’t know where that growth is needed. That’s why it’s necessary to assess the current state of your staff before determining where it needs to be. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Are there departments struggling to complete their workload due to understaffing? You probably need to make new hires there.

  • Is a certain team overstaffed? Perhaps you could rearrange team structures to more equally distribute the workload.

  • Are there unfilled management roles or other high-level positions? Consider if there are current employees who could be promoted from within, or if you need to make those hires externally.

It’s important to answer these questions so you can form a hiring strategy that makes it possible to achieve the overall business growth goals you are considering. 

To see how, let’s go back to our previous expansion example. If you conclude in your workforce audit that your current production team is overstaffed, you might consider moving some of those employees to the team handling production for your new territory. On the other hand, if you find you’re already understaffed when it comes to salespeople, you’ll know that you definitely need to make new hires in that area before you can successfully expand.

Outline S.M.A.R.T. Recruitment Goals and Objectives to Match

Now that you’ve determined where your workforce currently stands and where you want it to go, it’s time to actually create the hiring goals that will help you close any gaps between the two. Setting goals can be an overwhelming process — you don’t want to set an impossible objective and be disappointed when you can’t meet it, but you don’t want to aim too low and remain stagnant, either.

Therefore, we recommend using the S.M.A.R.T. method when setting your recruitment goals and objectives. This memorable acronym and widely-used strategy outlines goal-setting criteria meant to help improve the chances of actually accomplishing any given business objective. It states you should make goals that are:

Specific

Don’t set arbitrary, generic goals — be specific about what you want to accomplish. For example, a goal to improve your customer service isn’t specific. However, the goal to, “Hire three customer service specialists with XYZ skills in order to boost capacity when it comes to handling customer service inquiries” is specific.


Measurable

You need to identify the metrics you will use to determine if you’re meeting or falling short of your goal. This makes achieving a goal more tangible because it provides a concrete way to measure progress. For example, it’d be incredibly difficult to measure how you’ve improved your customer experience — that could mean anything. However, a goal of, “Increasing the average response score on our annual customer service survey from 7 to 9” is a measurable metric.

Achievable

Your recruitment goals and objectives are meant to inspire and motivate your team to bring in successful new employees who are aligned with your business goals and can help you achieve them. But, if your hiring goals are so far-fetched that you’ll never be able to meet them, that inspiration can quickly turn into discouragement. For example, if you currently have a 30 person staff, a goal of hiring 100 new employees in the next six months may not be realistic — and likely isn’t aligned with your capacity needs and budget, either.

Relevant

This means creating staff growth goals that actually fit into your broader business goals. For example, if one of your objectives is to scale back the production of an item that isn’t performing well on the market, it wouldn't make sense to have a goal of hiring additional production staff. Instead, you may want to hire additional customer service representatives to handle customer feedback or a higher volume of return requests, or research and development specialists to start brainstorming a new product to replace it.

Timely

Providing a target date for achieving your goals is important because it keeps everyone on track and creates a sense of urgency, but can do more harm than good if it isn’t realistic. For example, people will probably forget about a 10-year goal, but if you expect a huge goal to be met tomorrow, it will create an overwhelming sense of panic amongst your current staff. We recommend setting check-ins along the way to benchmark success — for a six-month goal, you may want to evaluate where you are at two and four months before a final evaluation at six months. 

Evaluate and Adjust When Needed 

By using the S.M.A.R.T. goals method, it becomes easier to conduct strategic workforce planning and set hiring goals that are actually possible. But keep in mind that if there is one constant in the business world, it’s change! Due to changes in the economy, your industry, and your organization, your recruitment goals and objectives may end up needing to be adjusted along the way or changed altogether.

Therefore, keep in mind that a solid staff growth plan is all about being proactive. If you aren’t prepared for change, it’s easy to fall back on a reactive approach if something is switched up in the middle of your plan — which is often based on emotion and not what is best for your business. So, it’s important to continuously evaluate the state of your competitors, technology in your industry, and your own business operations to confirm that the goals you’re currently working towards are still the right ones. If they aren’t, don’t fret — simply go back to step one, reconsider those business goals, and align your updated hiring strategy to fit with any changes. 

Set Effective Staff Growth Goals With the Help of a Professional Staffing Agency

Even with these tips, it can be a challenge to create an effective recruitment strategy and staff growth plan on your own. The good news? You don’t have to do alone! One of the major benefits of partnering with a professional staffing agency or headhunter is that they have in-depth experience and expertise — which can you leverage to guide you through forming recruitment goals and objectives.

If you’re not quite sure what kind of hires you should be making, how many employees you need to add to your team to fill capacity gaps, or what kinds of skills and personality traits you should be looking for in a particular role, a professional staffing agency can help you uncover the answers.

At 4 Corner Resources, our skilled professional recruiters are passionate about helping you form strategic recruiting goals — then enabling you to effectively meet them by placing the best possible candidates in your open positions.

Do you need assistance forming your next set of staff growth goals? Do you already have a hiring strategy in place, but are having trouble finding qualified candidates to achieve it? Either way, we’re here to help — reach out to our professional recruiters today!

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