The Future is Total Talent

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Talent conditions are changing, and they have been for a number of years now.

In 1960, 85 percent of Americans were employees of companies. Today, 43 percent of Millennials – the generation that will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025 – expect to leave their job within two years. This coupled with the fact that 52 percent of workers expect to participate in the gig economy by 2023, that is not work full-time for any single one employer, means that the talent pool is no longer overwhelmingly interested in traditional, full-time, W2 employment, like they were 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago.

Yet, despite these trends, most organizations have yet to adapt and adopt a total talent approach. Meaning, they segment their talent acquisition strategy based on full-time and contingent staffing needs. The risk in continuing to operate this way is two-fold. One, it internally fractures talent acquisition by department or employment type. And two, it silos talent by classification or category of worker versus focusing on the right person for the job.

Talent management today all but requires a holistic strategy – one that combines contingent and full-time needs under one umbrella and maximizes on the available talent, no matter what their work preferences are. Operating too narrowly or with one type of worker in mind will easily make the talent pool feel like it’s a lot smaller than it is. When the reality is, with a total talent approach, there are more employment opportunities for workers and more opportunities for employers to find the right talent.

Total Talent Management: Requirements and Results

A Single View

Anything short of total talent management means the business is not being looked at holistically. Traditionally speaking, the human resources department handled full-time, permanent hiring and procurement handled contingent labor. In today’s world, this makes resource planning extremely difficult, not to mention talent ends up getting pigeonholed into one bucket or the other. Narrowly classifying workers means the right person for the job may get overlooked, simply because their work status didn’t align internally with how the job was coded. This is where the talent pool can falsely begin to feel very small.

A blended approach can also result in cost savings. Although, organizations shouldn’t switch to a
total talent model just for the money. There are clear efficiencies that can result in cost savings, including that there will be less redundancies within the business, but the immediate result of a unified process ultimately means an improved talent acquisition experience and a single view into TA.

A Data-Driven Decision-Making Process

Many companies report planning on moving towards a total talent model. But, ‘moving towards’ has taken on a variety of forms, including having some departments operating in a blended, total talent capacity, while others continue with business as usual. For instance, we’ve seen IT departments be the most receptive to total talent management especially when compared to other functions within the business like office and administration and finance and accounting.

The bottom line, however, is the more unified the business can be with their TA practices, the better – more informed – decisions will be. Fragmented hiring, even if one department is adopting total talent management, means business leaders and stakeholders still don’t have the critical line of sight they need to make good decisions – and it’s a noted concern they have. When asked, nearly all enterprise HR leaders said that talent analytics is crucial to their talent acquisition and management strategies.

Total talent management means better real-time data and better decision-making for the business.

A Unified Employer Brand Strategy

Historically, companies have been far less concerned about marketing and branding themselves
to the contingent labor population. But all of that is changing. Arguably, in fact, companies need to attract this type of worker as much if not more so than full-time, permanent employees – not only because more workers are interested in this form of work but because it also allows a business to be more nimble, especially important during times of economic and political uncertainty.

Today, contingent labor is a competitive classification of worker. They are highly sought after and need to be ‘sold’ the benefits of the company, the project, the technologies being used and the opportunity, much in the same way traditional full-time employees need to be. Having an authentic singular brand also means a broader reach – to all types of workers – while sharing a complete picture about what it’s like to work for the organization. Ultimately, what a company says about what it does, its mission, vision and values, is applicable across the board, regardless of worker  classification.

A Clear Destination

In their report, The State of Contingent Workforce Management 2017-2018: The Convergence of Talent, Technology, and the Future of Work, Ardent Partners found that a staggering 40 percent of the total global workforce is now made up of the gig economy, which includes non-permanent workers such as contingent workers, freelancers, contractors and temporary workers. More and more, the workplace is being made up of ‘non-traditional,’ contingent staff, which begs the need for a more
holistic, total talent approach.

The principle idea behind total talent management is the right talent at the right time will result in greater business success. By focusing on the best talent fit for the job, regardless of employment mechanism or classification type, not only means the work gets done (project completion also means business success) but organizations will also enjoy an increase in employee and independent
contractor retention.

Better workforce planning and demand management means better business results.

Closing Thoughts

Total talent management is not a one size fits all. Organizations should consider approaching TA in its entirety, or in part, by tapping into all of the critical components of total talent management – data
and analytics
, employer branding and talent attraction, and a workforce model that will garner the
talent needed for the businesses (Enterprise RPO, Project RPO, MSP).

For more information on total talent management, check out our infographic: Navigating Towards Total Talent Management.


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