#2 how to secure buy-in and drive change management | total talent series.

February 28, 2019

| 7 min read |

a new approach to talent management and workforce planning is critical.Organizations around the world face an incredibly difficult dilemma in today’s red-hot global economy: At a time when they need to be at their operational best, they lack the human capital to do it. With talent scarcity plaguing economies around the world, the required resources are often out of reach. So how do leading employers ensure access to talent in these lean times? Using total workforce solutions.

For most companies, a new approach to talent management and workforce planning is critical. The old paradigm won’t cut it as the world of work is transforming. Accelerated by factors such as digitalization, the gig/freelance economy, shifting demographics and other global trends, these factors are converging and placing tremendous pressure on organizations to better utilize talent in a highly competitive global market. That means viewing talent in a new light, breaking permanent and contingent talent out of their silos and considering all types of talent as part of the same resource pool.

Today’s agile organizations are doing just that – building integrated workforce strategies that equally consider all work arrangements for any role, rather than conducting hiring based on historical practices. With an integrated or total talent acquisition strategy, these employers quickly deploy talent to their business, allowing them to execute without delay. A total talent model employs just the right kinds of talent for each business need. Employers also enjoy a significant cost advantage because a holistic talent approach allocates just the right types of resources, whether a permanent, temporary, freelance or statement of work (SOW) professional.

what are the barriers to adopting total talent models?

If adopting a holistic approach to talent acquisition sounds like a solution for many of your organization’s resourcing woes, you’re not alone. According to Randstad Sourceright’s 2019 Talent Trends survey of more than 800 human capital and C-suite leaders from around the world, implementing a total talent model is high priority for many. Of those not already operating under this model, 76% say they definitely or probably will do so this year. For many, their goal is to enhance access to top-quality talent. For instance, of those who have already adopted this approach, 42% say a total workforce strategy has delivered strategic planning into the HR function. Forty-eight percent (48%) say it has improved their employer brand, and 42% say they are building for the future. Even more telling: 98% of those who have implemented an integrated talent approach say they are extremely or very satisfied with their decision.

If the benefits of adopting a total talent model are clear, and the outcome an assured win, why then have only a small percentage of employers adopted this model to date? According to Everest Research, fewer than one-fifth of outsourced talent solutions contain both permanent and contingent workforce elements. In North America, the largest market, this portion is just 2% of the market total.


According to our survey, talent leaders see their organizational structure — especially the decentralized nature of many companies — as one of the the greatest barriers to implementing a total talent strategy. A lack of internal resources also tops the list of reasons they don't plan to embrace this approach. And others cite a lack of internal expertise, competing investments and expected associated costs as barriers.

But those who are slow to adopt a total talent model risk losing the war for talent. They will face organizational rigidity, cost inefficiency and failure to keep current with global labor market trends.

So how can you avoid making the same mistake and usher in a more forward-thinking model at your organization? There are a number of considerations before embracing such a fundamental change in the way you view and acquire talent. You may need to build a strong and clear business case before your internal stakeholders will be willing to move forward with change.

make a clear business case

As with any initiative your department undertakes, making a clear business case is the starting point. This can be challenging because a total talent approach involves many stakeholders and may require that they change their mindset about talent. A simple end goal doesn’t exist. Rather, adopters are on an ongoing journey to continuously gain insights about their workforce and the market — and to make better decisions about their human capital in all forms.

While this idea may seem overwhelming, it is a journey and one that’s worthwhile. Total talent management can help remedy talent scarcity, deliver workforce visibility and enhance compliance — all of which contain cost elements you should account for. Along each step of the journey, the employer makes incremental gains and moves toward the eventual state of an integrated workforce.

“A clear and compelling business case is absolutely necessary in moving an organization toward a total talent approach. Stakeholders must have a strong reason for fundamentally changing the way they view, engage and deploy talent throughout their organization,” advises Scott Bishop, senior vice president of integrated talent management at Randstad USA.

In determining the business case, you’ll need to look at benefits and costs from both sides — staying with the status quo or undertaking a total talent transformation. For each, you’ll need to quantify cost/benefits as much as possible. For instance:

  • What are the revenue gains for reducing time to hire for roles in product development?
  • What is the potential risk of not having complete visibility of your workforce?
  • How does providing business leaders with a comprehensive view of resources affect their ability to plan and execute on growth strategies?

You should review all internal and external factors, technology requirements, workforce training/upskilling and other considerations that may be unique to your organization. Many of these costs and benefits can be challenging to quantify but have a clear impact on your business, so a close examination of each factor is important.

communication and buy-in drive change management

A strong business case is an essential part of another requirement for adopting a holistic talent model: securing buy-in from all stakeholders. Because total talent management requires a completely new way of considering and utilizing talent, stakeholders will need ample reason to help them become comfortable with the approach.


Asking your team to change their approach to recruiting and hiring (for both contingent and permanent talent) may be challenging at first. Expect small stumbles during implementation to become magnified for this reason. Once the overall benefits are demonstrated, however, hiring managers and other stakeholders will quickly appreciate and adopt the new approach — as long as you have a robust change management plan in place.

As with any other company-wide transformation, buy-in begins at the executive level. A rock-solid business case will help you win over the doubters and cement the excitement of advocates, but success hinges on staying focused on your goals, continually reinforcing the benefits of a holistic approach and addressing any issues quickly before they escalate. Even if your company has a highly decentralized structure, you can gradually gain the trust and support of stakeholders by rolling out a total talent management solution incrementally and sharing the successes of your early adopters.

change management process.Employers that already have a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) or managed services program (MSP) in place may have an easier time of implementing a total talent model. That’s because these talent acquisition models have common components, such as workforce visibility, strong governance, the expertise of an external partner and a robust technological framework. Employers that already have an RPO or MSP in place have also already been through their own buyer’s journey — from building the business case to designing a solution, to winning buy-in and phasing in change management efforts. In either case, many RPO and MSP practitioners today are evolving their programs toward a holistic model to encompass both their permanent and contingent workforces.

During the change management process, communication is key. Your project management team must constantly communicate with executives and everyday talent program users to ensure enterprise-wide support during the initial roll out. Plan to walk hiring managers through the new process as they learn to work with talent advisors (formerly recruiters) to determine the type of talent they need for each role and how quickly that resource is needed.

Having an effective change management strategy will help you accelerate results when implementing a total talent model. It strengthens buy-in and support from the top down. Each time you reinforce the reasons you are transforming talent acquisition and workforce planning, you are one step closer to reaching your goals.

learn more about integrated talent strategies

integrated talent playbook.Next in this series, we will examine how a total talent strategy can deliver skills quickly and efficiently to the organization. In the meantime, get your copy of the Integrated Talent Playbook for deeper insights on whether this holistic approach is right for your organization.

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