what’s driving the shift to integrated talent models?

December 12, 2017 James Stovall

Now’s the time to think about a more holistic approach to talent acquisition and workforce planning. Here’s why.

If your business can’t nimbly respond to markets because it lacks the right talent, you’re not alone. Around the world, employers are scrambling to find the workers they need to create a flexible and agile workforce.

Low unemployment rates are an indicator of the talent challenges companies face as they seek to source and hire full time talent quickly. In the U.S., the October 2017 rate was reported at 4.1%. Since 2013, the European Union has experienced a sharp decline in unemployment, falling from a high of 10.9% in 2013 to 7.4% in October of this year. In China, that rate has fallen over the past two years to below 4%. Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, now has a jobless rate of 3.1%, the lowest in the world.

Talent scarcity is only part of the challenge. Business leaders also are seeing their organizations transformed with new skill sets as a result of digitization of the economy. This ever-changing business is driving a need to be nimble. In their “Human Capital Trends” report, Deloitte projects companies will average 40% use of non-employees. This flexibility allows business leaders to ramp up and down faster with fluctuating needs, but the methods of engaging talent are also rapidly evolving with use of contingent, gig and statement of work (SOW) talent. Managers not only need to get the job done, but are often overwhelmed as they seek to address changing governance challenges for each delivery channel.

Most employers, however, operate in organizational structures that limit their ability to access the right talent. These structures were developed in silos — contingent talent managed by procurement and permanent employees administered by HR. Hiring managers are often forced to settle for a particular work arrangement based not on business needs but traditional practices. The result is highly inefficient resourcing.

For instance, a permanent role may go unfilled for months until the right candidate is found. During this time, the employer risks losing revenue or adding costs associated with low productivity and customer dissatisfaction. What if talent could be dispatched immediately to meet business demands, even when candidates for permanent opportunities aren’t available?

time to eliminate talent silos

Some forward-thinking talent leaders are doing just that by approaching talent holistically and broadening access to the right skills. By embracing an integrated talent model (sometimes referred to as total talent management), they eliminate silos between permanent talent and contingent workers, between HR and procurement and between RPO and MSP programs. While this is a big change, so many companies see this as a journey towards their long-term goal.

By considering all types of work arrangement — permanent, temp, contractor, independent, SOW — for any role, talent leaders fulfill business needs more quickly and effectively. Furthermore, by abandoning the old way of thinking, companies can enhance workforce planning accuracy, increase hiring manager satisfaction, improve transparency, better align resources to business needs and reduce costs.

Integrated talent is not a standalone solution, but rather a more comprehensive model for talent acquisition and workforce planning that allows for greater agility. Adopters move along an evolutionary course; it may start with a contingent workforce program that manages only temp staffing, but over time, expands to include all other work arrangements, including robotics and automation. Or it can be an RPO model for permanent talent that eventually includes staffing and other independent workers.

The expansion of the independent workforce globally means companies must ensure this group is an integral part of their resource planning. Furthermore, business leaders require greater operational agility, and a protracted talent acquisition process simply can’t be tolerated. Greater technological distribution — especially the intelligence provided by advanced talent analytics — is helping to pave the way for this holistic approach to workforce planning. And, as many companies transition from a process-centric approach to a talent-centric approach, an integrated model is better positioned to facilitate this shift.

When companies remove the silos preventing them from utilizing all work arrangements, they get access to vastly more resources than before. Working with their respective solution provider as talent advisors, hiring managers are offered more options for fulfilling their business mandates. For example, some roles that may have been filled by full-time, permanent employees could, instead, be satisfied by a few contingent workers or the human cloud. An SOW contractor may be better suited for a particular role than, say, a nine-month temporary assignment. Similarly, several freelance roles might be consolidated under an employee. The talent advisor and hiring manager jointly determine the best choice.

A holistic model will also enable employers to consider non-human forms of resources. As AI and automation rapidly develops, talent advisors will also help businesses determine how technology can be part of the workforce and when it is appropriate to choose artificial over human intelligence or to use a combination of both.

Organizations whose integrated models we support are recording significant benefits. For example, banking giant Societe Generale in the U.K. reports savings of more than €15 million and huge drops in time to fill, among other achievements. Others have praised the increased visibility of talent in their organizations. Being able to quickly scale to workforce demands is also often cited as a benefit of an integrated model.

As you consider your own talent challenges, which of these benefits are among your top priorities? I suspect that if your company is like most, all of these are pressing needs. Adopting an integrated talent model is a journey. However, to transform into the talent organization you and your C-suite desire, it’s the surest way to access the skills you need in an increasingly dynamic and competitive environment, and to set your workforce strategy up for long-term success.

Download our Talent Trends Quarterly white paper, “accelerating business agility with an integrated model” for exclusive insights on what employers around the world say about this approach and how they’re gaining a competitive edge.

about the author

James Stovall

James Stovall is the senior vice president of Global Strategic Accounts at Randstad. Previously he served as senior vice president of Solution Design for Randstad Sourceright, managing the development of solutions that help companies around the world address their most pressing talent challenges. An expert in building integrated talent management solutions, Stovall helps organizations optimize and execute their talent acquisition strategies across all worker types, from full-time employees to the contingent workforce. Earlier in his career, Stovall was a Deloitte Human Capital consultant for almost a decade and later spent almost three years with Home Depot helping transform its recruiting strategy, processes and technology. He has a degree in computer science from Georgia Tech, where he now sits on the Alumni Board of Trustees.

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