Develop HR Plan - Ottawa Employment Hub

Develop HR Plan

Have you identified what skills your business needs to achieve its goals and created the right jobs?



Efficient and effective recruitment and staffing begins with an analysis of your HR needs. You need a plan to ensure that you are hiring the right people with the right skills at the right time.  Developing an HR plan will help you identify the right skills and determine what is the right time to bring those skills on board.


The decisions you make as to whom to hire will affect your ability to meet your objectives. In the long run, it pays to take time to examine your needs and plan your approach in a thorough and methodical way, using all the resources at your disposal.  If you don’t take the time to anticipate potential changes in your workforce, you will be coming up with quick fixes in “crisis mode”.  You will save time and money in the long run if you take the time to map out your future hiring needs now.  You want to make sure that you have created the right positions and are recruiting the right skills before you even start looking for the right person for the job.

This section provides information on:

  • Identify Business Needs
  • Determine HR Requirements
  • Write a Job Description
  • Establish Salary
  • Determine Feasibility of Hiring



Before you begin to build your team, it is essential to ask yourself questions about your particular situation.  You can then begin to prepare a plan to meet your HR needs.  Ask yourself a few general questions before you begin:

  • Do I have all relevant information on the composition and skills of my staff?
  • Do I have a clear idea of my staffing requirements (e.g., number of positions, skill levels)?
  • Have all of my employees made their career aspirations known to me?
  • What employee training and/or development do I foresee?
  • Do I have a, appropriate balance of representation and diversification within my workforce?
  • Do I have current or longer-term workforce recruitment, retention or renewal issues?
  • Do my employees receive on-going, appropriate feedback on their performance?



Here are some resources and tools that will help you in your overall HR planning.  We have added some components directly on this website, but for detailed information you may want to explore these:

  • HR Toolkit– Developed by HR Council for Non-Profit Sector, has excellent information and tools that are applicable to all employers
  • Managing Your Human Assets– A Human Resource guide for small business employers, developed by Saskatchewan Career and Employment Services. MODULE 1 focuses on Human Resource Planning.
  • Working in Canada Tool– Information about wages, skills requirements, unions, and more for 560 occupations across Canada.

Identify business needs

In order to ensure your plan responds well to changing priorities, it is important for you to look at the overall goals of your organization or business. If you are responsible for a team within a larger organization, ensure that your team goals tie into the overall company objectives. Is there an overall business plan for your organization?

A key first step is to assess the current conditions and future goals of your company on a regular basis. Consider these questions as they apply to your particular business:

  • What are the company’s goals and objectives?
  • Are we looking to grow or maintain our business?
  • Is your industry being affected by external factors, such as technological advancements or increased global competition?
  • Do we need more people with the skills we currently have? Are there skills we have that are no longer required?
  • Will new skills and/or training be required to meet the company’s goals and objectives?

Ensure that in answering the question above, you have considered the following:

  • Identify external pressures and opportunities- Competition, Technology, Increased customer demand, Economics (changes in economy and labour market)
  • Look internally- Workforce changes (departures, retirements, etc.)
  • Clarify your business strategy and direction- Describe what your business does in terms of key functions and tasks and any changes that are likely to be required in the next few years.
  • Identify aspects of the business that need help– Define this in terms of skills sets.

Most mid- to large sized organizations have a formal strategic plan that addresses the above components and guides them in successfully meeting their missions. Even a small organization with as few as 10 staff can develop a strategic plan to guide decisions about the future.


Here are some resources and tools that will help you in your overall HR planning. We have added some components directly on this website, but for detailed information you may want to explore these:

Determine HR requirements

Based on your business needs and strategy, you may need to fill a vacant position or create a new job. For a vacant position, this is a good time to assess if the job still helps your organization serve its purpose and achieve its mission. Hiring a new employee needs to be rooted in a larger staffing plan that is connected to your organization’s strategic plan.


Here are some key questions to ask:

  • What are the critical positions or roles that need to be filled – now and in the future? What are the tasks your organization needs done?
  • What is your organization’s culture? What characteristics do you need to look for in potential new staff to assess cultural fit?
  • What positions require little or no experience and therefore would be good for attracting young and/or inexperienced candidates to your organization?
  • Is it possible to fill positions through an assignment or secondment from another organization?
  • Are the roles suitable for permanent, temporary, full-time, part-time or some other contractual arrangement?


In answering the above questions, you are starting to link HR management directly to the strategic plan of your organization. Strategic HR planning is also important so that you can start building HR costs into your overall budget – consider the costs of recruitment, training, etc. as an investment in your human capital.

The HR Council identifies four key steps in the strategic HR planning process:

  • Assess the current HR capacity– Inventory knowledge, skills and abilities of current employees.
  • Forecast HR requirements– How many staff is needed overall, what jobs need to be filled, what skills are needed?  Also consider the level of difficulty associated with filling the jobs and acquiring the skills.
  • Conduct a gap analysis– What new jobs and skills will we need; do current employees have required skills.
  • Develop HR strategies to support organizational strategies– Consider restructuring (reducing or reorganizing current staff), providing training and development, recruitment and outsourcing to determine which is the best fit for your current need.

For more detailed information, visit the Strategic HR Planning page of the HR Council’s HR Toolkit.


Here are some resources and tools that will help you in your overall HR planning.  We have added some components directly on this website, but for detailed information you may want to explore these:

Write a job description

If you are looking to recruit to meet your HR needs and your organization does not have a job description or if they are out of date, you will need to begin by defining the job and you may want to conduct a job analysis to do so.

The job description will serve as the basis for many components of people management, including recruitment, selection, compensation, performance management, learning and development.  You should also remember that if an employee is terminated for poor performance, an accurate, complete and up-to-date job description will help the organization defend its decision.


Job analysis involves collecting information to help you fully understand and describe the duties and responsibilities of a position, including the knowledge, skills and abilities required to do the job.  It is key to creating a useful job profile/statement of qualifications and can also assist you in making compensation decisions for new positions.

The types of information collected during job analysis will be specific to each organization. However, HR Council’s HR Toolkit outlines the following as typical kinds of information to be gathered:

  • Summary of duties
  • Details of most common duties
  • Supervisory responsibilities
  • Educational requirements
  • Special qualification
  • Experience
  • Equipment/tools used
  • Frequency of supervision
  • Others the incumbent must be in contact with
  • Authority for decision making
  • Responsibility for records/reports/files
  • Working conditions
  • Physical demand of the job
  • Mental demands of the job

This information can be gathered from current incumbents using interviews, questionnaires, observation, and activity logs.

The list of qualifications and competencies developed through job analysis are used to create:

  • The Statement of Qualifications to be attached to Job Descriptions
  • Advertising content and/or applicant information packages
  • Criteria for short listing applicants
  • A basis for determining the most effective assessment methods


Each position at your organization should have a job profile (or statement of qualifications) based on the job analysis that outlines the job requirements or statement of qualifications. Before you can fill a position, you should ensure that you are familiar with its job profile. If you are creating a new position, you will need to ensure that a job profile is developed for the position.

The job profile should describe the job’s major responsibilities without reference to the qualities of the present incumbent. The profile should be concise, specific, and easily understandable. It should not contain any provisions or wording which could be considered discriminatory on the basis of race, age, sex, marital status, physical disabilities, or any other legally protected characteristic.

The profile should identify the following key components:

  • POSITION:  ________________________
  • ROLE:  This is a key position in the…
  • KEY RESPONSIBILITIES: Identify the key responsibilities for this position
    • Education:  Graduation from a recognized………. with a degree/diploma/certificate in………, or other relevant specialty; or an acceptable combination of education, training and/or experience
    • Identify Required Relevant Experience (experience in…)
    • Identify Specific Knowledge Requirements (knowledge of…)
    • Identify Technical/Business Skills (ability to…)

Job profiles should be kept up-to-date, in case a position needs to be filled unexpectedly.  A good time to review a position’s job profile is during the annual formal performance appraisal exercise or when filling a vacant position.


SaskNetWork recommends that job descriptions include these key components:

  • Duties and Responsibilities of the Job (including any special physical requirements)
  • Performance Expectations (level of output expected, targets for productivity improvement, tied to quantifiable goals where possible)
  • Technical Competencies (special technical skills and knowledge required, qualifications required, any essential work experience)
  • General Competencies (competencies that are important to the position, such as customer relations, communication, etc.)
  • Personal Competencies (competencies that are vital to fitting the culture of the company; e.g., energy, adaptability, etc.)


Establish salary

You will need to decide what to pay an employee when you are making a new hire, moving or promoting a current employee, or are facing unwanted departures which you believe may be based on compensation.

Having a clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the position and the overall role it plays in the organization combined with data on market and sector comparatives are keys to establishing salary.

Establishing a good pay structure contributes to good working conditions, and will help you to retain a satisfied workforce with better performance, as well as to attract new talent.  It can help you avoid the following:

  • Encountering issues with demotivated employees; and
  • Facing lawsuits on wage discrimination.

More than 20,000 employment standards claims are filed each year. A lawsuit can be expensive and time consuming.


The minimum wage is designed to impose a broad and enforceable standard on employers that would guarantee a minimum level of income for unskilled, non-unionized workers. Minimum wage standards are also designed to stop these workers from trying to undercut each other by agreeing to work for less than someone else.

Minimum wage is the lowest wage rate an employer can pay an employee. Most employees are eligible for minimum wage, whether they are full-time, part-time, casual employees, or are paid an hourly rate, commission, piece rate, flat rate or salary.

In Ontario (as of October 1, 2015):

  • General Minimum Wage =$11.25 per hour
  • Student Minimum Wage (for those under 18) =$10.55 per hour
  • Liquor Servers Minimum Wage =$9.80 per hour


You want to pay well to both attract and retain employees. Remember to be creative and emphasize other perks in cases where you cannot afford to pay as competitively as you would like.

You should keep in mind that base wage rates and salaries do not tend to fluctuate in response to economic upturns or downturns. It is also good to keep salaries fairly stable to reduce possible tensions between new and existing staff.

Consider the following questions when setting pay rates:

  • Will you hire an employee or a contractor? Contractors may want more hourly wage, but will not need benefits; also determine whether you need a part-time or full-time employee.
  • What will the role will be doing? Review the job profile to determine how much responsibility they have and how hard is it to find the required skills; consider how much experience the incumbent should have to perform well.
  • Are there other internal positions to which to compare? You want to ensure internal consistency to avoid issues down the road; people will talk about their salaries and wages!
  • What are others paying? Look for comparable jobs in salary surveys and on job sites; explore industry standards and HRSDC wage information (see Tools & Resources). Ensure you take into account provincial minimum wage requirements and regional cost of living when making comparisons. High-demand skills will probably come with higher price tags.
  • What can I afford to pay? Consider how critical the position is to your organization and how much you can realistically afford to pay.


Determine feasibility of hiring

Periodically, you will review your current and future HR needs to see if any new positions are required.  If you feel that your current staffing complement is not sufficient and you require another position, you should consider the following components:

  • A detailed rationale for the new position.
  • The budgetary impact of the new position, including amounts required for salary, benefits, staff travel costs, conferences, membership fees, etc. An estimate of setting up office space (e.g., rent, furniture, etc.), as well as identifying whether there is currently space available.
  • An indication of where the money will come from to fund this new position.


SaskNetWork’s HR Guide recommends looking at the costs of hiring, the benefits of hiring, and the risks of not hiring.

  • The full cost of hiring a new employee includes both labour costs (salary and benefits) and recruiting costs (time and money, including orientation and “ramping up” time)
  • Weigh the costs of hiring against the value of having a new employee- consider improvements to morale and productivity due to issues around workload or replacing problem employees, increased revenue and customer satisfaction due to more and/or better resources.
  • Consider potential risks of not hiring, including loss of revenues, loss of employees due to workload issues, loss of new ideas and/or knowledge.

If the benefits and risks outweigh the costs, then you have an easy decision to make.  If not, then reconsider the hire. You may want to look at ways to develop your existing employees to take on the role in the short and long-term (see Develop Your People). You can also explore which employment relationship would work best in your current situation.


If you are not in a position to hire a permanent employee but do need to increase your human capital, a different kind of employment relationship may fit with your current financial and business situation. Employers can gain flexibility, access to specialized talent and cost savings by exploring these options, as identified by the HR Council:

  • Permanent employment– a contract with an employee for full time or part time work for an indeterminate period, with protections offered by federal and provincial employment legislation; generally considered to be the most secure.
  • Fixed term contracts and specified purpose contracts– Contracts that end when a specific period expires or a specific task is completed; often renewed based on the same job description; fairly common in organizations that rely on project or program based funding.
  • Temporary employment agency contracts– Employment agency workers are the employees of the agency. Although they are not your employees, you still have the obligation to provide a workplace that complies with health and safety legislation and is free of harassment.
  • Independent contractors– Self-employed independent contractors provide a specific service; generally have a different tax /legal status and different obligations to them than to employees.
  • Borrowed, loaned and shared employees– Some employees are paid by a “home” organization and spend their work time and effort at another organization; typically serves the goals of both of the partner organizations; this type of arrangement is often reflected in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) or Partnership Agreement.
  • Internships and co-op placements– Employees can come from colleges, universities and secondary schools, or through government supported programs; working arrangement is spelled out in the agreement between the educational institution or the funder and the host organization.

NOTE:  You may want to consult with a lawyer when using a series of fixed term contracts as some such employees can be considered akin to a permanent employee or in any case where you are unsure of your obligations under a given employment relationship.