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What is staffing management?

Staffing management is the practice of aligning participant workers with work shifts and service contracts to ensure your employment social enterprise can reliably deliver work it has committed to. 

Why is it important?

Staffing management is useful for all employment social enterprises, but it is especially important for those whose primary market offerings are service-focused (e.g., landscaping, facilities management, etc.) since those organizations depend on consistent staffing. Staffing management helps employment social enterprises to:

  • Ensure there is proper coverage for shifts: This includes accounting for scheduling logistics (e.g., distance of a worksite from your organization’s facilities), staffing team members with the appropriate skill sets for the job, and ensuring on-site management or supervisory staff is present. For service-focused organizations, ensuring proper shift coverage supports high-quality and consistent service delivery to customers. 
  • Reinforce team members’ development of skills and competencies: An employment social enterprise’s core mission is to develop its team members’ skills and competencies – this includes reinforcing habits related to accountability. To encourage accountability, the organization must first equip team members with the details they need to show up to work prepared – at the right time, at the correct location, and with the appropriate attire / uniform. Doing so builds confidence and puts team members on the path to increased skills and competencies.  
  • Build and grow a trust-based organization through communication and expectation-setting: A thriving employment social enterprise is founded on high levels of trust among all team members, staff, and management. Good staffing management provides a path to establishing and building mutual trust through communications that are clear and expectations that are both clear and achievable. 

Self-assessment checklist

All organizations should pay some attention to staffing management, but you may want to consider investing more time and resources in staffing management if:
  • Your organization is a services-based employment social enterprise
  • You are undergoing growth or planning on growing soo
  • You have noticed issues with team members not arriving on time and ready to work

Best practices 

  • Getting started with the basics
    • Do an assessment of your job shifts and the number of team members and skill levels required for each: Review all of the job shifts where team members are required. As you go through each job shift, be sure to note the number of individuals needed for each shift, as well as the skills that are required to successfully and safely complete the tasks for the shift. Additionally, be sure to note how many supervisors or managers need to be present for each shift.
    • Develop a weekly or bi-weekly schedule and communicate it to team members: On a regular and consistent basis, establish a schedule of assigned job shifts. These assigned shifts should take into account the job shift assessment, as well as any targets or constraints on the number of hours team members can work each week. Consider printing and posting the schedule in locations where team members are most likely to see it. It may also be useful for supervisors and managers to text the schedule to team members.
    • Establish clear expectations around attendance and check-ins:  During team member onboarding and whenever team members are assigned to new job sites or shifts, take time to clarify expectations around attendance and check-ins. This might be physically signing in on an attendance sheet at the job site or communicating directly with a supervisor upon arrival. Additionally, clearly communicate consequences of not checking-in properly or not arriving to shifts on time and ready to work.
  • Keeping momentum with high-performance practices  
    • Consider utilizing off-the-shelf software to help with shift scheduling: Depending on your organization’s needs, there may be a number of software options that can help with shift scheduling and communicating assignments to team members. Making an investment in new software should take into account factors such as the specific use cases and functions needed, usability, ease of integration, scalability, and cost. 
    • Use the RISE framework as you deploy staff or onboard new team members: Developed by a REDF consultant and utilized to help employment social enterprises improve how they assign and communicate tasks, the RISE framework may be a useful reference:
      • Role & Responsibilities: When you’re considering assigning a task to a team member, first ask whether the task is related to their established role or responsibilities. This will help avoid confusion and help to ensure team members are receptive to and prepared for the assignment.
      • Information, Materials, and Supplies: Ask yourself what information, materials, and supplies are needed to perform the job, and ensure the assigned team members have access to these. 
      • Skills: An essential part of the framework, ensure that team members have the required skills to perform all job tasks. In some cases, it may be OK to have a team member on site without all the required skills if someone is assigned to mentor that person and oversee their work to avoid issues such as injury.  
      • Expectations: Finally, make sure that it is clearly communicated what the expectations are for the job to be considered complete. Is there an expected number of outputs? Is there a quality expectation? Should the job be completed by a certain time?     
    • Regularly assess shift performance, making adjustments as needed: Measure and monitor shift and job performance (consider integrating these into your key organizational metrics). This may require assessing quantity, quality, or timeliness of outputs. If performance of shifts or jobs are not as expected, consider revisiting the RISE framework to reevaluate and adjust different components. 
    • Integrate staffing management with your broader people strategy: For employment social enterprises that have a large or growing number of team members, it may be useful to integrate staffing management with the broader people strategy. This includes ensuring things like staffing job shifts are supported by how the employment social enterprise recruits, hires, onboards, trains, and compensates its team members. 

Additional Resources

About Emerging Market Enterprises

Emerging Market Enterprises (EME) is an advisory firm based in Washington, DC, that works with startups, scaleups, and intermediaries in the impact ecosystem. EME provides a variety of services to its clients and partners to include market strategy, operations improvement, and leadership coaching.