can a holistic talent model deliver greater agility for your business?

February 19, 2018 Bob Lopes

four things you need to do when beginning your integrated talent journey.

Over the years, large companies have cobbled together disparate HR management systems, policies and work groups under one talent organization, somehow getting it to function, though often with a fragmented approach. The process isn’t ideal, but as long as payroll gets processed, benefits are delivered and jobs get filled, complaints have been kept to a minimum — until now.

There are a number of critical developments are changing the status quo by forcing employers to consider a holistic talent approach. For example, with all of the world’s major economies growing, talent scarcity isn’t restricted to just one or two regions; the shortage is widespread. Employers in many industrialized nations now face tight labor markets and a growing skills gap for the first time in decades.

Also, workforce complexity is on the rise as companies use more temps, contractors, freelancers and other contingent talent to get business done. Eurofound, a European public agency, reported in 2015 that the region’s temp labor workforce grew 25% between 2001 and 2012 while permanent hires rose just 7%. McKinsey estimates that 20% to 30% of the workforce in the U.S. and EU 15 now perform independent work either as a primary source of or to supplement their income.

This development is forcing businesses to reassess their current strategies and workflows more than any other factor because a fragmented approach to talent simply isn’t a sustainable way to manage growing complexity. Many employers are now looking to a holistic model that considers the total workforce, including the growing contingent component.

Also referred to as integrated talent, or total talent management, a holistic approach quickly and cost-effectively delivers the resources needed by considering all worker arrangements — and therefore, every type of talent available. For example, a hiring manager frustrated by how long it takes to acquire a qualified permanent employee could more quickly satisfy their need through a contractor, freelancer, temp or a combination of these. Or a company that is seeking a very specific skill set might more readily find it in an individual that prefers the flexibility of project-based work.

This approach also gives talent leaders options for meeting the company’s resourcing needs. Working with a talent advisor that leverages analytics, market data and other business intelligence, hiring managers can decide if other talent arrangements such as temp, SOW, independent or freelance contractors can perform the work required. For example, if analytical data shows it takes 60 days to hire a permanent java developer in Amsterdam, a hiring manager facing a tight deadline may choose to use a contractor who is available today.

These types of benefits are changing attitudes among organizational leaders. In our 2018 Talent Trends survey of 800 human capital and C-suite executives, more than three-quarters indicate that they have moved beyond conventional thinking about work arrangements and now believe the right person for any role can be an employee or contingent worker. An even greater percentage (81%) say they probably or definitely will implement an integrated talent solution over the next 12 months.

That’s exciting news because 81% is the highest level reported since we began surveying attitudes on integrated talent in 2016. It shows a rapid shift in how talent leaders view the strategic value of talent acquisition. You may be among that growing majority, but before having conversations about transforming your talent strategy, here are four tips to help you lead your company in the right direction:

1. Commit for the long term.

A holistic model doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s not a goal, but a journey. There are levels of maturity to an integrated talent solution. Organizations strive to manage all work arrangements under the same program, but it takes time to get there.

2. Secure executive buy-in.

Because the aim is to knock down traditional talent silos, a holistic model will disrupt the status quo. It’s likely why you are considering an integrated talent model in the first place, but others around you may need convincing. When you have support from your leadership team, it will be much easier to evangelize to all stakeholders.

3. Make the business case.

Every organization suffers from some kind of talent bottleneck, whether it’s filling hires on time, gaining greater contingent workforce visibility or standardizing supplier rates. Consider how an integrated talent solution can alleviate these problems and do your best to quantify the outcome.

4. Assemble the team.

You’re going to need help to start your journey, so invite the relevant stakeholders to the table early. As you scope out the model, their input is critical in defining the goals and earning buy-in. You may even find that a kick-off meeting may be the first time that procurement and HR leaders are in the same room together.

There’s a lot of legwork to implementing a holistic talent model; however, if you can demonstrate the benefits and help other functional leaders to overcome their hesitancy, you’ll help set your new model up for success. You’ll also find many external talent advisors that can help guide your road map along the way.

Want to learn more about the impact of workforce complexity on integrated talent adoption? Get your copy of the Randstad Sourceright 2018 Talent Trends Report.

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