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9 minutes read

How to Create an Effective Staffing Model

By Tony Meazell
By Tony Meazell
9 minutes read

If your business wants to fully utilize its current resources and attract the best people in the available talent supply, you need a staffing model.  An effective staffing model allows your organization to fill staffing needs and drive external recruitment efforts and help you support organizational goals by being a valuable workforce planning resource. 

Staffing models are essential to businesses of all shapes and sizes, but they are critical to businesses filling skilled mobile and web development positions. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a run on global development talent. As a result, hiring for key positions in development services in a tight labor market is difficult but not impossible. 

Filling your staffing needs might require creativity and a mix of staffing models to reach and maintain the staffing levels necessary for achieving organizational goals. Unfortunately, creating an effective staffing model can be more complicated than it seems on the surface. 

This post will explain what a staffing model is, the common types of models used by organizations everywhere, and guidance on how you can create an effective staffing model for your business. 

What is a Staffing Model?

A staffing model consists of reports and business data that measure and describe how your employees work, current staffing needs, and labor costs in both time and money. Staffing models are also called staffing plans by some organizations. Typically, these terms are used interchangeably. 

A staffing model helps provide insights into the utilization of current resources. In addition, it acts as a predictive workforce planning tool that can help project management teams identify and forecast how many employees will be required on specific tasks to meet the business’s goals. 

Beyond highlighting the staffing needs for key positions, an effective staffing model will also report the skills and knowledge required to meet organizational and personal goals. This can help your HR and project management team highlight skill gaps, plan future employee training, and drive more accurate external recruitment efforts. 

Common Staffing Models

Before you can start building your staffing plan, you need to understand the common staffing models. Each of these models is defined by the type of employee being hired. In many cases, it will make sense to utilize a few different staffing models, if not all of them, depending on your business’s needs and goals. The common staffing models include:

  • Full-time employees
  • Staff augmentation
  • Consultation 
  • Outsourcing 
  • Hybrid 

Full-Time Employees 

The full-time employee model is very easy to understand. Employees are hired, retained, and paid directly by the business. A business’s most valuable assets are its full-time employees. Therefore, it is best to hire permanent employees when they fill key positions in your business or provide skills and experience that your business will require on an indefinite basis. 

Full-time employees are the most valuable, but they also require the most investment in training, further development, and education. Furthermore, your organization needs to make sure that full-time employees are a fit culturally too. Employees that don’t mesh well with company culture will be challenging to retain and might be difficult to manage. 

Staff Augmentation 

Staff augmentation is designed to address short-term needs. In this model, temporary employees are hired to work on an existing project within a current team for a set period of time. It is important to note, in this model, the hiring organization directly manages the temporary employee.

Many businesses choose staff augmentation when they require special skills or expertise that their internal team lacks. This is a common choice when specialized skills are only needed for one specific task or project and won’t be needed indefinitely. 


In this model, a business chooses to engage a third-party consultant to handle a specific task or challenge that the company either doesn’t have the expertise or the time to do on its own. Consultants are responsible for delivering results on time and in the manner agreed upon at the time of hire. Your business will not have to directly manage a consultant, and typically, you will not pay a consultant until their job is done. 

If your business has a desperate need for a particular set of skills or knowledge, hiring a consultant is a great choice. Plus, you don’t have to spend resources actively managing a consultant. 


Outsourcing has also been called managed services. Managed services or outsourcing is a good starting point for many tasks you might not yet have the capacity to do for yourself. Digital marketing and SEO are examples of managed services that many businesses use. This model tends to help small to midsize businesses save money and time because they often don’t have the expertise or financial or time resources necessary to handle their marketing efforts.

Outsourcing lets your business focus on your core competencies without getting bogged down in support tasks. In addition, once you choose a partner for your managed services, you won’t have to directly manage outsourced employees. 

It is important to note that there are a few different outsourcing models, and your business should be aware of the service you are receiving when you choose to outsource. The three main models of outsourcing are:

  • Off-shore - This refers to tasks outsourced to India, Eastern Europe, and other remote countries. 
  • Near-shore - This refers to tasks outsourced to companies who are nearby, but not necessarily right down the street or even in the same state. Typically, near-shore outsourcing companies are in the same time zone and share a similar work culture. 
  • On-shore - This refers to outsourced services that are close at hand. If a face-to-face meeting is required, traveling to and from the office or meeting place is easy. These outsourced services reside in the same area as your business. 

As you can see, there is a large difference between off-shore and on-shore outsourcing. Near-shore services end up somewhere between off and on-shore, but if your business prioritizes regular communications, near and on-shore outsourcing are better choices. 

If you choose to outsource tasks, you should have a clear understanding of who is doing the work. If you can’t get a clear answer from a company in regards to where the work is being done or who is doing it, you should look for another provider. 


The hybrid staffing model is an interesting choice. This staffing model gives many businesses the ability to start slow and work their way into making a full-time hire. Typically, the hybrid model follows this approach; the project starts as a managed service or consultation, then transitions to staff augmentation, and finally, temporary employees transition into permanent employees.  

This model lets your business establish a relationship with temporary employees and see how they fit your culture and existing teams before bringing them in full-time. Working relationships are fluid. Your experience with the hybrid model might not exactly mirror the steps above, but it gives you a basic understanding of how this model works in practice. 

Create an Effective Staffing Model 

Now that you understand the basics, we want to share a few tips that will help you create a staffing plan that addresses the needs of your organization in the most efficient manner. Here are a few key tips to creating an effective staffing model:

  • Understand the labor market 
  • Define organizational goals
  • Understand your needs
  • Plan for succession and retention 

Understand the Labor Market 

The first thing you should do when crafting a staffing plan for your organization is understand the current labor market. The state of the labor market will have the greatest impact on your staffing plan. For example, let’s say you need User Interface designers. However, there is a tight labor market and finding talent is difficult. Therefore, it might make more sense to use staff augmentation or consulting rather than a full-time hire in this situation.

Remember, it costs time and money to make a full-time hire, and if you are struggling to find the right talent for your needs, you could be wasting your resources. 

Define Organizational Goals

Once you understand the current labor market, defining and understanding your goals as an organization is a good starting point. Understanding your organization’s strategic goals will help you determine what your business needs for success. Defining your goals will help you better understand what you need. 

Understand Your Needs  

Do you need a full-time UX designer? Would your business be better served by hiring a consultant? Questions like these will help you determine your actual needs. Now that you have a clear understanding of the organizational goals, you can determine what needs are the most pressing. Overhiring can be just as disastrous as under-hiring. Don’t waste resources on employees that you don’t need.

Plan for Succession and Retention 

Many organizations don’t plan for retirement or skilled employees moving on to new positions with other companies. Planning for succession not only gives your employees a clear sense of their career path, but it can also keep them more engaged and motivated with their current position because they feel like they have a future. Employee retention is often overlooked in staffing models, but it is vital for all organizations to consider. Remember, your organization’s most valuable assets are your employees. 

Final Thoughts 

Creating an effective staffing model takes time and patience. First, your organization needs to be able to accurately assess the market and your internal needs. If your business is looking for skilled design and development professionals, reach out to an app development partner. A partner can help you understand the talent supply for development and design positions, help you craft a staffing model, and they may even be able to offer you staff augmentation services. 

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