Back to all posts
Libby Marks

All About Resource Deployment: 7 Expert Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

Like a professional sports team coach, you need to deploy your players for maximum impact. Discover what resource deployment planning is and how to ace it.

Resource deployment is concerned with how an organization uses employees to achieve business goals.

Think of it like a sports team. A coach strategically assigns players to different positions based on their individual skills – and how they work together as a team – hoping to bring home the trophy. 

It’s the same in business. Staff deployment is concerned with understanding the players available, developing their talents, and positioning them for success.  

But how do you go about optimizing resource deployment? And what is a resource deployment plan?

In this overview, you’ll learn what staff deployment is and how organizations document their deployment strategy – as well as resource deployment best practices from our resourcing experts.

What is deployment in human resource management?

Resource deployment – also known as staff deployment – is about how employees are assigned to work. 

Particularly in businesses that have a flexible workforce that can be allocated to different shifts or locations - or where businesses are managing multiple projects.

We’re not talking about day-to-day resource scheduling and allocations – those tactical decisions based on availability, capacity, etc. 

We’re talking about the overarching business strategy behind how – and why – resources are deployed the way they are. 

Resource deployment looks at how the organization can efficiently deploy resources to: 

  • Maximize utilization and ROI from its investment in talent
  • Ensure clients are assigned the best resources for their needs
  • Minimize costs while maximizing efficiency and productivity 
  • Support training, development, and retention goals 
  • Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements

Examples of staff deployment

In childcare, staff deployment may be concerned with how childcare workers are allocated to different locations – to ensure legal child-to-staff ratios are observed and that there is a balance of appropriately qualified staff in each class.

In manufacturing, deployment will consider things like the advantages of different work schedules – how to deliver 24/7 operations using available staff, whilst protecting the workforce from the negative effects of working antisocial hours.

In professional service firms, staff deployment is concerned with how to allocate consultants and experts across a range of projects –  to ensure the best possible service to clients, as well as highest value to the business. 

➡️ Related: A Guide to Resource Planning for Professional Services

What is a staff deployment plan?

A staff deployment plan is a document that outlines how a business will strategically use its workforce to achieve its objectives. It’s about using people effectively and efficiently to drive organizational success and growth. 

If that sounds a bit exploitative and ‘Dickensian workhouse’, don’t worry. This isn’t about people as cogs in a machine. A resource deployment plan recognizes people as the organization’s biggest asset and benefits employees, as well as the bottom line. 

It considers the preferences and ambitions of individuals at work. And it outlines how the organization will provide meaningful work, a balanced workload, and professional development opportunities. 

In a large business or enterprise – with hundreds and thousands of employees – a deployment plan helps govern how resources are scheduled, prioritized, and developed. It sits alongside wider strategic workforce planning to help align people with business priorities.

A resource deployment plan provides anyone involved in staffing decisions with clarity on how to deploy staff appropriately – including line managers, resource managers, project managers, and staff themselves.

➡️ Related: Strategic Staffing - Aligning Talent with Organizational Goals

What are the goals of a resource deployment plan?

Ultimately, the goal of a resource deployment plan is to ensure business success – by putting people to the very best use within the organization. In practice, that can be broken down into the following key goals. 

  • Aligning employee skills with job requirements and business needs
  • Providing a flow of appropriately qualified individuals for available work
  • Supporting talent development and career advancement 
  • Optimizing workforce productivity and efficiency
  • Promoting employee engagement and satisfaction
  • Helping the business adapt to changing needs and priorities

The benefits of staff deployment planning

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that investing the time in writing a staff deployment plan is well spent. The benefits of staff development planning are similar to the benefits of effective resource management

The aim is to optimize resource efficiency and utilization, minimize costs, improve performance, and enhance flexibility and resilience.

Optimizing efficiency – A resource deployment plan ensures the workforce is deployed in a way that maximizes productivity, minimizes waste, and optimizes resource utilization. 

Strategic alignment – Aligning workforce decisions with organizational objectives ensures employees are focused on projects that directly contribute to achieving strategic goals.

Enhancing flexibility – Helping businesses respond flexibly to changing demand and circumstances through capacity, scenario, and contingency planning, guidance around the use of contractors, etc.

Improving performance – By allocating the right resources to the right work, as well as using work to develop employees’ confidence and competence. 

Higher employee engagement – Thanks to their work being better aligned with their interests and ambitions, and having clear progression routes within the business.

What does a staff deployment plan include?

When writing a staff deployment plan, it’s important to remember what it isn’t. This isn’t a strategic workforce plan or a human resource planning document. Those documents cover a much wider range of activities – including workforce forecasting and recruitment strategies.

A staff deployment plan is specifically focused on near-term staffing needs and aims to optimize the use of existing employees. 

Your staff deployment plan might include information on:

  • Your current workforce – The people you currently have at your disposal to perform the tasks at hand – their roles, responsibilities, capabilities, and capacity – plus any upcoming changes (such as the retirement of key personnel).
  • Staffing needs assessment – An overview of forthcoming projects/work and the people and skills needed to complete them – plus an assessment of any gaps or risks.
  • Resource allocation strategy – How you’ll allocate individuals to different roles and projects to ensure maximum business value – including how you prioritize and who makes decisions. 
  • Staff development policy – Tactics to develop staff – both to fulfill business needs and satisfy individuals’ career development ambitions. 
  • Internal mobility – Tactics to retain staff and expertise within the business through promotions, career advancement, succession planning, etc.
  • Performance management – How the business will monitor, evaluate, and manage the performance of its strategy and its people using workforce planning metrics.
  • Tools and techniques – Approved practices and resource planning software used for planning and deployment. 

How to optimize resource deployment

1. Really know your people

The key factor in staff deployment is knowing your people inside out. This is where resource managers excel. They know everything about the people they support:

  • Not just the skills they already have, but the ones they’d like to develop
  • How they work best – their personality and personal preferences 
  • If they’re secretly hankering for a change of scene or new challenge

Understanding people on an individual level can unlock opportunities so perfect they feel like fate has intervened. Christine Robinson, former Managing Director of Resource Management at Baker Tilly, speaking in our webinar Resourcing for Success, highlighted:

If the business is looking to expand into a new region – and the resource manager through having one one-on-one conversations with individuals knows that there's a high performer who is looking to relocate to that region – that's a perfect opportunity and a perfect segue to raise that and explore how to retain that top performer. I’ve had that happen twice in my career, and those individuals have gone on to be leaders in that space.

2. Redesign your roles

If one of the aims of your staff deployment plan is to increase engagement and staff satisfaction, consider role design. 

Role design is about creating roles that efficiently and effectively deliver the task at hand. But it’s also about how you create positions that inspire people to higher engagement, autonomy, and satisfaction. 

In their bestselling management book - Primed to Perform - Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor say role design explains:

  • 34% of the variance in subjective performance
  • 38% in perceived stress
  • 55% in job satisfaction
  • 65% in feeling overloaded
  • 87% in job involvement

Put simply, good role design makes people happier, more productive, and more engaged. So if your business is guilty of just giving job descriptions a cursory glance before you go out to recruit, it’s time to change your ways.

3. Match passions, not just skills 

If you want to pursue ruthless efficiency, you’ll match people to projects based purely on their existing skills. But if you can see the bigger picture, you’ll also take ambitions and passions into account too.

Imagine assigning a junior designer to a project that excites them – but will stretch their abilities. The project might take a little longer. You might need to hold their hand a little more. But the flip side is that you’ll have engaged someone really passionate about the work – and you’ll have upskilled them along the way. This can deliver better results on the current project and in the future.

It’s about assessing the needs of each project so you can deliver a range of desirable outcomes – and that isn’t always about the fastest finish. Nicole Tiefeesee, Runn's COO and all-round resourcing expert, speaking on our webinar What We’ve Learned from 1,000 Conversations with Resource Managers, explains:

Let's say you’re working on a website redevelopment project for a big guitar manufacturer and you have two engineers available. One is very skilled in terms of the actual implementation and skills like Java programming. The other one who is really passionate about guitars and playing the guitar in their free time - but they might not have as much of the technical skill set. They might actually be the better choice because they will be bringing so much more into that project for the long term – and you'll be nurturing that person at the same time.

4. Understand optimal utilization 

A very common mistake is to think that an ideal resource utilization rate is 100%. But if you aim for that, you’ll burn out your employees. Plus there’ll be no buffer in the day - or the project plan - for the unexpected. That’s the fastest way to fall behind. 

An optimal utilization rate is to allocate people to 80% capacity – and for 80% of that to be billable work. This gives people a manageable workload, space to deal with stuff that crops up, and time for answering emails, helping colleagues, and attending meetings and training. 

All of which are essential – after all – to the wider flow of your business.

➡️ Further reading: 5 Tips to Balance Your Team's Workload with Runn

5. Formalize your processes 

We’re not saying you need to control staff deployment with an iron fist. But you do need to establish some central control. Documenting procedures – for role assignment, resource allocation, performance management, staff development – ensures transparency, consistency, and fairness. 

Imagine Team A is observing a healthy 80% utilization rate but Team B isn’t aware that’s the target. Team A could be legitimately passing work on to Team B, not knowing it’s taking them over capacity and reducing their productivity. 

Or imagine Team C is observing protocols around requesting resources from a central pool, while Team D is bypassing the process completely. Team D might acquire resources that would be better deployed to Team C’s higher-value project. 

Documenting and centralizing your staff deployment processes will improve their impact – and get you to your goals faster. 

6. Make data-based decisions

If you’re reading this because you work in a professional services environment – perhaps a consulting firm or IT business – we know you’ll be analytical and accurate. When it comes to client projects, you make decisions based on facts, stats and testing, not gut feel or hunches.

But when it comes to resource deployment and management, businesses often lack the same analytical approach. Often because they simply don’t have ready access to the data they need. Sometimes data is siloed in separate systems. Other times data is stored in systems that don’t easily deliver actionable insights – like spreadsheets. 

That’s a real risk to the accuracy and impact of your resourcing decisions. 

Centralizing resource data in a single system – one that provides data visualization to support faster analysis – will support data-based deployment planning. 

7. Use the right tools 

Aligning people’s work with their skills and ambitions is key to successful deployment. But in an organization with hundreds or thousands of employees, this can be challenging. 

Having a centralized record of all your resources – containing their skills, experience, ambitions, interests, cost, etc – is essential. But often this information is separate from information about their availability, capacity, and utilization.

Resource management software brings all of this information together in one place – allowing for quick and easy resource identification and allocation. 

In Runn, for example, you can search and filter resources based on their role, skills, or any number of custom fields, to pinpoint the perfect person for every project.

Runn allows you to tag resources using custom properties, and filter by those properties so you can find the right person - fast.

Meet Runn – everything you need for optimum resource deployment 

Runn is the complete package for resource deployment. 

It provides:

  • At-a-glance insights and in-depth data you need for effective deployment planning
  • Practical tools to quickly and confidently identify, allocate, and monitor resources

Discover Runn for yourself with a free 14-day trial

No credit card, no commitment, no catches.

Enjoy the post? Sign up for the latest strategies, stories and product updates.

You might also like

Try Runn today for free!

Join over 10k users worldwide.
Start scheduling in less than 10 minutes.
No credit card needed