is your organization ready to transform talent in the post-digital age?

November 24, 2016 Zain Wadee

The workplace that you and I grew up in no longer exists. A confluence of factors has forever changed the way we view, engage with and manage talent. How organizations leverage human capital has transformed rapidly in the post-digital era. This has been accompanied also by changes in the way workers themselves interact with employers and chart their own destiny. In all of this, digital transformation of HR and the rise of technology have acted as a change agent.

If you have been in the people business for as long as I have, you know some of these shifts have been in development for some time, while others have popped up quite quickly. For instance, a decade ago, LinkedIn was just getting its legs when it reported its first profit. Today, it’s a global phenomenon with an estimated 467 million users. More recently, the rise of on-demand talent portals has led to the proliferation of independent workers. It’s now one of the most effective channels for connecting job seekers with employers.

Consider this eye-opening fact: In 1995, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, independent contractors made up only 12% of the country’s workforce. Today, according to a recent report by McKinsey, they account for nearly 30% of the working-age population. Furthermore, across the U.S. and the EU 15, their numbers are estimated to be upwards of 162 million.

Today, independent and other contingent talent, such as temps and SOW, are growing as a percentage of an organization’s total workforce. According to the Randstad Sourceright 2016 Q4 Talent Intelligence Outlook Report, a pulse check of human capital leaders in 10 countries around the world, one-third say using freelancers and gig workers will have a greater influence on their business. Job families most likely to see more roles shifted to flexible talent include marketing, sales, IT and talent acquisition. By positioning their companies to be more agile, many organizations are also becoming more business competitive.

By choosing the right talent for the job, regardless of the type of labor, companies eliminate silos. Because hiring managers have an array of talent options, they reduce time to hire, gain access to a larger pool of candidates and can fulfill their mandates more efficiently and cost effectively. I describe this as being “talent unlimited,” a state that enables the creation of an ideal workforce. No longer is human capital managed separately — permanent workers administered by HR and contingent talent by procurement. Under an integrated approach, companies have broad visibility and centralized control over talent acquisition.

Are you positioned to get there?

To reach this holy grail of talent management, employers must first be mature enough to adapt an integrated model. What does this entail? Companies that appear ready typically exhibit a level of sophistication and commitment to transforming their organization. These traits include:

  • Possessing a comprehensive understanding of what is integrated talent management and a vision of how it works in their company.
  • A commitment to talent innovation, marked by robust investments in technologies that serve as a foundation for the integrated model. This may encompass digitalization of HR processes, tools that enhance recruitment results and more spending on robotics, machine learning and talent analytics.
  • Broadening the role of HR to at least provide input on contingent talent management if not assuming ownership of these resources.

These traits are not easy to come by. It requires a conscious effort by not only human capital leaders but also business executives to lead their organizations this way. It requires investments, vision, leadership and patience to knock down existing silos. Another important element is understanding how well-positioned your company is for embracing the model.

We can help you to do this. As part of our Talent Intelligence Outlook survey, we are developing a set of indices that serve as benchmarks. Through the data, you’ll be able to compare how your organization stacks up against businesses of similar sizes, within your industry and in your geographic location. You will gain valuable insights into your technological readiness for workforce innovation and for adoption of integrated talent management. Our initial 2016 Q4 survey has established initial benchmarks, and building on these in 2017, we’ll show you how companies are evolving in their readiness for transformation.

We hope that by leveraging the insights we’ve developed through the Talent Intelligence Outlook Report, you can position your company for exciting change in the months ahead. Even if you are not ready, our findings will help you better understand what’s in the road ahead.

About the Author

Zain Wadee

Zain Wadee is Managing Director, EMEA at Randstad Sourceright and has extensive experience in overseeing the delivery of talent solutions including recruitment process outsourcing, managed services and others during his career. He has held management positions at some of the largest talent solutions companies in the world and worked with clients to develop highly innovative programs in support of their business needs.

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