Staffing Models Key Terms / HR Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Staffing models systematically determine how employee time is spent in the workplace. They involve analyses of what skills each ...

Staffing models systematically determine how employee time is spent in the workplace. They involve analyses of what skills each employee has and what skills are necessary to run an organization on any given day. Armed with that information, managers can make strategic hiring decisions, rather than scrambling to fill vacancies as employees quit or go on leave. Though there are general concepts that apply to staffing models, you'll find that there are specific types of models to suit each industry.

Full-time equivalent (FTE)

Generally, full-time equivalent (FTE) is defined as the full number of hours an employee works, divided by the maximum number of paid hours in a year or quarter. This figure is used to determine the extent of employee involvement in workplace projects.


The Erlang, named in honor of telecommunications expert Agner Krarup Erlang, is a telecommunications unit that represents the continuous use of a voice path. Erlang models are used to staff call centers and other telecommunications systems.

Staffing plans

The term "staffing plans" is often used interchangeably with "staffing model," though it has a slightly different meaning. Staffing models are undertaken to determine how and where employees spend their time. Staffing plans use that information to determine staffing needs at different times.

Acuity-based staffing

Acuity-based staffing is a model used in the health care industry. Rather than focus on the nurse-to-patient ratio, acuity-based staffing accounts for the specific patient needs when staffing health care professionals. This model has been shown to improve patient outcomes and job satisfaction.

Gap analysis

Gap analysis is a business term that broadly applies to performance, be it in sales, marketing or hiring. An organization sets goals for where it would like to be, evaluates where it is, and makes a plan to fill the gap.

Knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs)

Knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) are the qualifications an employee must have to fill a position with a company. Usually, candidates attain KSAs either through education, experience or professional training. A KSA analysis is necessary to figure out which skills are necessary so that a systematic staffing plan can be implemented.
U.S. Department of Labor describes how KSAs are used in the government's hiring process.

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