a practical guide to integrated talent management.

the new paradigm for talent utilization

Randstad Sourceright intergrated talent playbookBusiness transformation is not easy, quick or painless. Every organization that has revolutionized the way it does business had to embrace a new way of planning, doing and reflecting. But when you ask leadership at those companies whether the results justify their efforts, the resounding answer is “yes.”

Your efforts to change human capital practices at your business may face similar barriers: ingrained siloed thinking, an inadequate technology infrastructure and a fear of change; however, in today’s highly competitive talent market, you can’t afford to maintain the status quo. To create a business advantage through talent, or just to keep up with your nearest competitors, it’s time to adopt a holistic approach.

Under traditional thinking, talent acquisition is job-based, meaning resources are acquired based on budgets and historical hiring practices. This approach does not not necessarily consider the availability of talent nor appropriateness of resource for the business. An integrated talent mindset is emerging as the new paradigm for talent utilization, enabling employers to quickly, efficiently and cost effectively deliver the right skills, wherever and whenever the organization needs it. Talent is dispatched based on availability and suitability for the business.

an integrated talent approach provides a 360-degree view of all of your work arrangementsAn integrated talent approach provides a 360-degree view of all of your work arrangements: permanent, temps, contractors, statement of work (SOW), independents and human cloud. But it’s not just workforce visibility that elevates your program; it’s the ability to deliver the right skills to the business, and to predict future talent needs through insights. Hiring managers work with talent advisors to access the exact kind of workers necessary to fulfill the business deliverables. With access to a wider, classification-agnostic talent pool, an employer can deploy any combination of skills at the right time and in the most cost effective way.

Embracing this mindset is not easy. It requires significant changes to organizational thinking and practices. The silos between HR and procurement, and between permanent and contingent talent, must be broken down. Executives must be committed to this transformation. According to our annual Talent Trends survey of hundreds of C-suite and human capital leaders around the world, integrated practitioners consistently report high satisfaction with the results of their efforts, despite the arduous work that’s sometimes required.

To ease your integrated talent journey and to help you define, strategize and execute on this approach, we have compiled this playbook. With little time to waste as talent scarcity grows, we invite you to review each chapter and answer the hard questions that will lead you down the right path to a more effective and productive workforce.

5 questions to consider when assessing your talent management model:

  1. Are HR and procurement aligned in the planning of our total workforce, i.e., full-time, contingent, freelance and statement of work (SOW) consultants?
  2. Does my talent strategy ensure that I acquire the best and most appropriate types of talent for my needs?
  3. Is there centralized oversight of total talent costs, including analytical data used for benchmarking?
  4. Do all talent acquisition processes comply with internal and external mandates?
  5. Does my talent strategy enhance organizational productivity?


chapter one: a more holistic talent model

Imagine driving at night with one headlight. You can navigate the road, but traveling at the speed you desire is likely out of the question. That’s the handicap most talent leaders contend with today: they only have partial visibility into their workforce because of traditional organizational silos. As a result, they simply can’t execute to their full potential — unable to fully optimize their company’s talent management processes.

Some leading companies are starting to truly evolve the role of HR in redefining total talent strategyDepending on the organizational structure, in some companies HR may only have oversight of permanent hires, and procurement may be the owners of contingent hires. Rarely do the two sides collaborate on delivering the right talent to hiring managers. More likely, each is focused on just filling the role requisitioned instead of providing input on the type of talent best suited for the business goal.

Some leading companies, however, are starting to truly evolve the role of HR in redefining total talent strategy. These organizations understand that a holistic approach to talent will produce the best outcome. They recognize that while line leaders may be the authority when it comes to their business, they might not be the most informed when it comes to talent selection. These organizations are building strategies that enable them to make informed talent decisions based on a 360-degree view of their workforce and market.

This is only possible by integrating all components of talent strategy. In an integrated approach, organizations consider all possible types of work arrangements, including permanent, contingent and even automation. This enables the business to deploy the most suitable option to achieve its business goals.

While the pressure is on, talent leaders don’t have to go it alone in their efforts to transform. Service providers, such as Randstad Sourceright, are delivering integrated talent solutions that provide the next level in value for talent acquisition. By helping to manage all of a client’s permanent and contingent talent needs, these solutions empower HR and procurement leaders to best execute business goals.

how it works

An integrated talent solution is a comprehensive approach to delivering the right talent. The solution encompasses all worker types and sources, including permanent hires, temp-to-hire, staffing, freelancers and contractors, statement of work (SOW) consultants, part-timers, payrollees and seasonal workers. The focus of this solution is to break down the walls of talent and look more broadly, as people are more willing than ever to consider work alternatives to traditional full-time employment.

The provider of an integrated talent solution may manage some or all of these types of workers through supply models such as recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), managed services programs (MSP) and payrolled solutions; however, these programs don’t operate in silos. For example, the provider may directly source talent for both permanent and temporary positions from the same talent pool ensuring the hiring manager has rapid access to the best candidates. The solution should include a comprehensive talent analytics platform to provide a thorough view of the client’s workforce. Every program is customized to the client’s needs, culture and structure.

Although more complex and challenging to implement than a stand-alone MSP or RPO, an integrated talent solution provides the greatest value to the buying organization. It centralizes hiring policies and practices, gives companies a real-time view of who is entering and leaving their organization, and provides the basis for real business agility. It also incorporates market and business intelligence, best practices around talent engagement and acquisition, and efficient spend management. Ultimately, this leads to the deployment of the best talent at a lower cost, because an integrated approach considers all worker types based on need.

why integrated talent now?

For organizations that haven’t considered an integrated talent solution, now may be the best time to do so. Even among veteran buyers of outsourced solutions, evolving their current program will help to better prepare for seismic shifts in the world of work. A look at these drivers will explain why timing is now critical.

As economies around the world improve, organizations everywhere are feeling the effects of rising competition. The biggest challenges they face around talent include:

  1. skills and experience scarcity
  2. increasing competition for talent
  3. a shift in business imperative
  4. the rapidly evolving workforce

Each of these forces will have a significant impact on your business now and in the near future. If you don’t begin to adapt your organization, you risk falling behind to competitors that embrace a more holistic talent model.

talent scarcity

Around the world, the scarcity of quality talent is growing. According to Eurostat, the job vacancy rate was 2.0% in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 1.7% in the same quarter of 2016. Since the end of 2009, the European vacancy rate has steadily risen.

around the world, the scarcity of quality talent is growingIn North America, the picture is the same. The DHI-DFH Mean Vacancy Duration Measure — a key index in the U.S. — stood at 28.1 working days in January 2018. The growth in talent scarcity is also reflected in the U.S. unemployment rate, which fell to 4.1% in December 2017 following a steady decline over the past eight years.

In Asia, current employment rates are mixed, but many of the largest economies have been improving. For example, China reported 3.9% unemployment in December 2017, Japan was at 2.5% in February 2018 and South Korea is holding steady at 3.6% in February 2018.

Aside from the decline in unemployment rates, another reason for talent scarcity is the major demographic shift underway in many developed nations. With large portions of the population at or near retirement age, regions such as the U.S., Japan and Germany may be facing a crisis in workforce participation.

the value for HR:

  • improve alignment with broader business objectives
  • deliver a simplified experience for hiring managers
  • enhance employer brand for all types of talent
  • tap into contingent talent for long-term hiring strategies

the value for procurement:

  • elevate the importance of high-quality contingent talent for the business
  • greater pricing visibility across the total workforce
  • better manage peaks and dips in demand
  • being a business partner for the organization; stronger relationships with hiring managers

source: SIA, 2017. "Total Talent Acquisition Market Developments."


competition heats up

An integrated talent model may be the answer to a chronic challenge many employers face: growing competition for talent. With scarcity on the rise, many businesses are going after the same pool of candidates. Today’s labor market is a workers’ market, and employers must actively position their employer brand to attract needed talent. Companies not only face competition from direct competitors, but increasingly companies are crossing industry boundaries to find specific skill sets. Retention is more important than ever due to increased talent mobility.

Adding to the challenge, competition from customers can also be problematic. Despite the use of poaching agreements in various industries, B2B companies are always at risk of losing workers to customers. Internal mobility may also cause different business units to compete for the same talent. As talent scarcity worsens, expect competition from all these sources to increase.

growth drives talent needs

talent leaders face both an opportunity and a challenge that requires a transformation in talent managementWith more businesses expanding globally and into new sectors, talent leaders face both an opportunity and a challenge that requires a transformation in talent management. Not only will you need to find talent to fuel existing businesses, but now the imperative is on finding people with the skills to drive the new ventures your organization will undertake.

Another important priority for many talent leaders today is workforce transparency. Large organizations employ thousands of contingent workers who are not always visible to HR or the business units that employ them. What the organization spends on them, how their deliverables are tracked and even where they are physically located are sometimes obscured from central decision-makers. An integrated approach can bring about greater visibility.

Workforce visibility also provides a way to ensure greater compliance. Are hiring managers adhering to local and national regulations? Are pay rates in line with benchmarked standards? Are diverse hiring practices observed? The same processes used to ensure compliant practices for permanent hires can be adapted and applied to other types of talent.

An integrated talent approach also provides greater cost efficiencies because activities such as sourcing, screening, assessment and onboarding can be standardized. Separate resources dedicated to permanent and contingent hiring can also be merged to create enhanced economies of scale.

shifting market forces

With the talent market quickly evolving, the impetus for an integrated approach is greater than ever. According to SIA, in 2017 the contingent workforce represented 22% of the total workforce, with that population growing. Around the world, the same trend is unfolding. This shift to contingent talent means that you have to better plan for the flexible component of your workforce.

with more businesses expanding globally and into new sectors, talent leaders face both an opportunity and a challengeThe use of contingent talent is on the rise for a number of reasons, including a shift in worker preferences, the desire of companies to gain greater workforce agility, the expansion of the sharing economy and increasing talent mobility. You don’t need to look any further than your smart phone to get a glimpse of the future of talent. The “Uberization” of talent has led to millions of new on-demand workers being added to the workforce. According to Upwork's 2017 "Freelancing in America" report, freelancers are predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing. A growing number of organizations, such as the Freeelancers Union, are offering freelancers support through a variety of services, and their numbers are sure to grow.

According to McKinsey, online talent platforms such as Uber, Upwork, TaskRabbit and others could add as much as $2.7 trillion (USD), or 2%, to global GDP by 2025. At the same time, they could add 72 million full-time equivalent positions. They are all part of the shift to more flexible work arrangements in which employees decide when and how much they work, who they work for and for how long.

Employers have delivered to worker desires for flexibility by accommodating different schedules and providing telecommuting options. Doing so, however, just adds organizational complexity, and talent leaders will need more tools to track and manage this expanding group.

An integrated talent approach can help you better prepare for these market dynamics by providing the strategy, visibility, technology and tools for optimizing talent. While it’s not a cure-all for every talent difficulty you might encounter, it will provide the foundation for determining and deploying the right talent for all situations.

5 questions: preparing to adopt an integrated talent approach

  1. How can we help stakeholders understand the benefits of adopting a holistic approach to talent?
  2. What are the greatest obstacles to gaining buy-in for the model?
  3. Can I make a clear business case to win executive sponsorship?
  4. What external sources can I turn to for help with implementing such an approach?
  5. How can I set expectations, measure results and continuously improve on my goals?

You will receive a full copy of the integrated talent Playbook by email shortly.

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