What a resourcing plan is & how to create one

What a resourcing plan is & how to create one

April 11, 2019
A resourcing plan, sometimes known as a workforce or demand plan, consists of data captured from the business that shows known recruitment demand for the next 12-18 months.

(5 minute read)

What is a resourcing plan?

A resourcing plan, sometimes known as a workforce or demand plan, consists of data captured from the business that shows known recruitment demand for the next 12-18 months.

Why do you need a resourcing plan?

There is a misconception in business. You cannot plan or forecast recruitment because businesses and people are unpredictable. So, the default data plan we base our resourcing on is last years figures… This is a dichotomy. If businesses and people are unpredictable, how can last years numbers reflect this year?

If you are reading this, odds are you’ve been set the task of figuring out how to plan your businesses resourcing needs. I was set the same task of improving (creating) my company’s recruitment planning capabilities.

We were a typical recruitment department – fantastic at what we did, but bombarded with last minute roles to fill. This resulted in us filling roles late (quickly, but after the position went live). In short, we were looking bad while doing a phenomenal job. Same old recruitment story.

So I set out to create a resourcing plan. I wasn’t interested in finger-in-the-air predictions. You know, the airy fairy ones based on market trends crossed with last years hiring activity. THAT is impossible. For now, anyway.

I wanted, and we needed, to know for sure what we would be hiring 12 months down the line. We needed to stop the reactive requisitions that took 75% of our brainpower. Get on the front foot and show the business what we were made of!

I did some digging. It became obvious that hiring managers knew about most requisitions that came in, months before they raised them. 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. “Hey x, I forgot to mention but Suzy is going on Mat leave in a few weeks. We need a replacement ASAP!”

It made sense to take the reins on capturing their demand. Otherwise we would be stuck in the vicious and stressful cycle of waiting for hiring managers to land reqs on us last minute.

What to capture? 

Before you go full steam ahead, you need to work out what you need to capture and who from. 

For starters, we focused on a 12-18 month period. Long enough that we could get a handle on what we would be recruiting. Letting us make strategic decisions on tech and team size/skill-set etc. Short enough time to remain accurate and reliable. 

Next, who do we ask? Since hiring managers were the ones landing last minute reqs on us, they were the obvious choice. Plus, they were the ones on the ground, closest to their team who would know the ins and outs of their recruitment demand.

Finally, what questions did we ask? What type of demand could we capture? To figure this out, we looked at the top reasons we needed to recruit. What reasons caused hiring managers to land last minute requisitions on our recruiters? Throwing everyone off balance.

We compiled a list:

  • Growth roles.
  • Parental leave.
  • Retirement.
  • Flight risk.
  • Resignations.
  • Internal moves.
  • Performance management.
  • Project based roles.

We would capturing this demand plan at monthly intervals. Following our usual approval routes would provide us granular and reliable data to work from. Putting us light-years ahead of where we had been. 

But we decided to capture more information to support the data in our plan.

Target start date was an obvious one. When do you need this role by? We could then plot our demand peaks and troughs throughout the year. Propelling us into proactive mode. This information proved to be priceless. Ahead of time we could see if we had enough recruiters to cope with the demand we’d be facing. Split the workload or hire new ones. This also had a massive impact on our recruitment marketing. Our ability to warm up passive candidates revitalised.

Capturing the level of the roles we would be recruiting would allow us to group the candidate types we would be attracting over the year. We’d use this information to determine what attraction channel’s we would need. Identify skills gaps and plug them ahead of time. 

Getting Hiring Managers On-board

What no one tells you before you get into recruitment is, you are at the mercy of hiring managers. If candidates are your customers, hiring managers are your clients. Getting proactive in planning our resourcing would need their participation. 

To do this, we didn’t say, “Hey, you guys are killing us with these last minute requisitions. We’re over-worked and stressed out. Could you help us with this new initiative to make our lives better?”

Instead, we educated them. Told them how them providing us with their recruitment needs would benefit them! We sent out an email to every manager in the business, not only the ones we were friends with. The email looked something like this:

“Hi x,

Our goal as a business is to stop recruiting reactively wherever possible. The only way to do this is for you to tell us what you need to hire for your team over the next 3,6,9,12+ months. Armed with this information we’ll be able to:

  • Provide better quality talent when you actually need it.
  • Reduce the cost for recruiting. For example, relying less on expensive external recruitment agencies.
  • Hire talent you need sooner so that your team isn’t stretched as a result of late vacancies.

Delivering these benefits and more, is easy. All you need to do is complete a short 5/10 minute survey each month outlining your recruitment demand. Don’t worry about getting every role right. They will still follow our usual approval routes.

Kind regards,
Danny Hodgson”

With this sent out, our hiring managers primed and ready to get proactive. Short, simple and effective. This also had the added bonus of answering any, “Well I didn’t know anything about this survey!” Objections. Yes you did. Check your inbox.

How I did (and you can) capture recruitment demand

I started off sending out Excel spreadsheets. With columns for hiring managers to fill in their known recruitment demand. The aim was to keep the plan as simple as possible. Stick to the things we outlined hiring managers on the ground would know.

The first run was… messy.

Yet, the ones that did complete them provided phenomenal data. That’s where we started. Those hiring managers got the best service. Their “Time to hire” was down to zero days. A manager needs a team member on Monday and they were ready the Friday before. Positive feedback was flying in from candidates and hiring managers alike. What had happened to recruitment!? Well, now we knew what was coming, we could do our jobs to the highest standard!

Hiring managers changed columns and formulae. Didn’t answer certain questions. Changed questions. Deleted whole sections for reasons known only to themselves. Some of course didn’t bother filling it out at all. 

Not only this, we were now armed with responses to hiring managers that didn’t complete the survey.

“Why is this role late Danny?” Well John, you didn’t tell us you needed the role in the survey we sent out 2 months ago. Instead you landed it on my recruiters desk 10 days ago. This role takes 40 days to recruit unfortunately so that is why it’s still live.


The next round of surveys went out. Compliance rose. More and more hiring managers received this amazing service. We were getting roles 100, 150, 200 days ahead of time. Something that seemed impossible only a few months before. When we were heads down firefighting every day. 

Hiring manager productivity also rose. This came from having better candidates when they needed them. Keeping their team at capacity increased their revenue output.

The problem with Excel is the onus is on you to chase hiring mangers to fill the surveys out. Then spend time collating the data you get. Not to mention the time it takes to create the survey in the first place. When you have a lot of hiring managers, this takes hours. To get 100% compliance, you need a much slicker and modern process. Yet, it’s still better than not doing anything. 

To Sum Up

A resourcing plan will show you 12-18+ months known hiring demand. You need to capture this data to escape the hamster wheel of reactivity that comes from the last minute recruiting model. 

Educated hiring managers not only know this information, but they want to provide it. They see the results and it clicks in their heads. After running a resourcing planning process like this for a few months it becomes second nature to hiring managers. 

Excel will only get you so far, but it is head and shoulders above what you are doing now – and what your competitors are doing! 
If any of you have any comments, improvements or criticisms feel free to drop them in the comments box below!

The next level

Without getting salesy, if you’re anything like me you’ll want automation and 100% compliance!

This is where Foresight was born. 

Click the link below to check out how we run this whole process for you.

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