Creating A Business Case For HR Staffing

So much of the time we look through the lens of our past experiences without even realizing it.

Being raised by a single mother working two (or more) jobs, receiving my first introduction to "business" in the tightly funded military, earning my HR business partner wings in a small but growing privately held family business and now practicing HR in a federally funded organization - I view money through a rather conservative lens.

It impacts my approach to HR staffing.

Using the word "approach" denotes that something is a conscious decision and that's not accurate in this case. Most of the time, it is so ingrained in what I do, that I am not even aware of it.


HR staffing, for me, is an elusive, rubber-band dynamic between fiscal responsibility and service. I tend to do everything I can to make due with what we have until we can't do it anymore. By the time I accept that we can't do it anymore, my staff are on the window ledge preparing to jump.

The HR staffing ratio goal in the Federal sector is 1 HR Specialist for every 80 employees, my staffing ratio is about 1:150 and the optimum number for my department (and me) is somewhere in between.

Notice how I ever so smoothly inserted "and me" in there.

For the good or the bad of it, I am a pivotal part of the equation. I won't (I can't) stand before my colleagues, peers and boss and and ask for something that I don't believe in or can't support. And, because of my lens, I know that I get in my own way.

So, can you imagine interest when our headquarters sent out a request for volunteers to develop a business case for HR staffing in our agency? 

Long story short, I am on the workgroup. We will start by identifying data we can gather and factors to consider in developing business model. I vision the model as a resource available to all facility HR offices and not a prescriptive "if a than b" model.

Since HR is not one-size-fits-all, the "factors to consider" will be key. Mike Haberman has some great info in his post, The HR Ratio or "How Many Employees Does It Take To Screw Up an HR Department?"

And now I am itching for more. Help me me look smart. More importantly, help me see past my staffing lens.

Tell me, what resources, guides, models, tips or factors to consider would you include in a business case for HR staffing?