Leading organizations are seeing the value of managing all of their talent with a single, integrated approach.
By Debbie Bolla
When it comes to hiring the best talent, Waste Management doesn’t let worker type—permanent or contingent—impact its decision. The best fit is the best fit—end of story.
“We are committed to enabling Waste Management’s competitive advantage via its talent whether employee or contractor,” explains Lon Harvey, director of talent acquisition, contingent labor program for the organization. “It makes sense to us to bring that together under talent acquisition and a total workforce solutions plan.”
The environmental solutions services provider isn’t alone. With 38 percent of the total workforce considered non-employee, 63 percent of organizations are rethinking how the workforce should be addressed, finds Ardent Partners’ 2016-2017 State of Contingent Workforce Management report. Part of that rethinking falls under a total workforce solution in which organizations manage all types of employees through an integrated approach.
“The foundational components of RPO and MSP programs have traditionally been separated,” explains Taryn Owen, president of PeopleScout. “This includes implementation and service delivery teams, program owners, and sometimes end-users and technology platforms. To have a holistic view of your entire talent acquisition landscape, these functions must come together in one integrated program.”
A siloed approach to hiring makes it challenging for an organization to have a complete view of its talent. “Smart companies are eliminating traditional talent silos and building human capital models through total workforce solutions that incorporate permanent employees, temporary staff, freelancers, contractors, and robotics to meet talent needs,” says Rebecca Henderson, CEO of Randstad Sourceright. “In doing so, they are better utilizing their contingent workforce by having a more holistic HR strategy.”
Harvey has experienced clear advantages by shifting from a commodity sourcing model to a talent-focused model for managing and deploying contingent workers. The change, executed in partnership with PeopleScout, has allowed the talent acquisition team to zero in on safety management, productivity levels, employee transition, and workforce planning.
“Being able to include contingent labor’s human concerns within our workforce conversation gives Waste Management a better opportunity to account for them in our goals and our overall management,” he explains. “There is definite a benefit to Waste Management growing a safer and more productive workforce when we recognize all workers as the valuable people they are.”
The impact of an integrated approach on temp workers can be great. “Managing the contingent workforce through a total workforce solution enables hiring managers to make hires faster, with better quality, and more cost effectively than in a siloed program,” says Owen. “A consolidated view of the workforce also has the potential to cut redundant hiring volume and lower markup and bill rates.”
The visibility that an integrated solution brings to an organization is perhaps the greatest value, says Christopher Dwyer, vice president of research for Ardent Partners. “A total workforce management strategy, with all talent managed under the banner program, will help businesses’ leaders understand the talent they have on hand, the talent within their internal and external networks, and the range of agile talent that can be tapped into when a need arises,” he explains. “The visibility angle here is paramount. An effective total talent management program allows any hiring manager or executive to find, in real-time, the talent they need for a project or initiative, no matter where that talent is located (traditional or non-traditional).”
Prior hesitation to combine recruitment and managed services functions was often driven by the risk that comes with putting all your eggs in one basket. But Chad Lane, president of Allegis Global Solutions (AGS), says that this can actually work to an organization’s advantage. “If one provider is managing all segments of your workforce, keeping track and monitoring what’s going on becomes easier.”
Lydia Wilson, executive vice president of global program management for Pontoon, agrees that when organizations keep the functions separate, they are actually missing out on potential opportunities.
“Organizations need to combine how they are sourcing their talent and make the best decision to engage that talent once they find it,” she says.
In today’s market, however, it’s not always easy to find. “The scarcity of talent is forcing organizations to think differently,” explains Karen Browne, president and chief operating officer of EG Workforce Solutions.
Where Should Organizations Start?
By nature, a total workforce solution is the blending of all talent types under one approach, and in some cases, it is the result of merging two programs (RPO and MSP). It can also be driven by its own initiative when talent acquisition teams are looking to take a more holistic approach. No matter how it develops, there are some best practices that organizations can follow when executing a total workforce solution.
The first consideration should come as no surprise: it’s the talent. Henderson says that if talent is made a priority, critical roles will be filled properly, decreasing the likelihood of turnover.
The ideal workforce mix of permanent and contingent workers will vary by organization. Owen recommends a needs assessment that takes into account worker type, geography, and skillsets to help model the solution.
Determining roles also helps optimize business agility, says Henderson. When an organization leverages the right talent through an integrated model when it’s needed, productivity rates will increase.
Experts agree that there is no single technology solution in the marketplace that intuitively manages both permanent and contingent workers. Organizations typically leverage an applicant tracking system (ATS) for permanent hires and a vendor management solution (VMS) for contingent workers—and there isn’t full integration yet.
“If you can get to one technology solution, you are solving an enormous business problem,” says Jon Grosso, senior vice president of sales for Yoh. “Organizations are trying to understand how to anticipate their business needs. If you can get workforce planning ahead of skilled categories like technology, you will reduce your time metrics and increase your quality metrics and move business forward.”
An alternative approach is to leverage a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to manage and build talent communities of all talent types. “Combining this type of technology with advanced analytic platforms that connect all systems together into a single view, organizations are better able to manage across the entire talent lifecycle from sourcing, recruiting and onboarding talent all the way through to offboarding and alumni community management,” says Henderson.
Pontoon’s Wilson says they are in the process of building a tool that can manage all workers. The key to this technology, she says, is the ability to track and engage with contractors who have performed exceptionally and can be converted into full-time employees. “This will create efficiency and cost-effectiveness.”
Who Owns It?
Traditionally, the management of contingent workers falls to procurement and permanent hires fall to HR. That remains true at many organizations today. But when the two come together under one solution, who is driving the bus? It depends.
Program metrics including spend, quality, speed, and compliance help determine who is involved. In most cases, both HR and procurement have roles in overseeing the solution.
What are the Benefits?
Integrating talent management provides organizations with a competitive edge when it comes to understanding their talent needs and their ability to fulfill them.”Total workforce solutions gives a company a clearer understanding of its true talent population, a more agile workforce, and the information necessary to plan for the future to meet changing business needs,” says AGS’s Lane.
Forward-thinking organizations taking this approach, and ones headed in that direction, have the opportunity to experience several benefits.
• Efficiency and flexibility. When integrating similar processes that cross over two functions, organizations are sure to gain process efficiency, especially when volume hiring is a factor.
“Companies need the flexibility to scale their workforce up or down based on need as well as access to talent from both contingent and full-time candidate pipelines,” says Owen. “As contingent workers become a more integral part of a company’s talent acquisition strategy, working with an MSP to source that talent is a necessity.”
• Cost savings. “Total workforce solutions can drive substantial financial and strategic benefits,” Owen says.”Financial benefits can include cost savings from better workforce utilization, improved demand management, and lower service and vendor management costs than in a previously decentralized program.”
In fact, Lane estimates the tangible savings of a total workforce solution strategy to be in the range of 4 and 10 percent.
• Talent pipelines and pools. “We leverage total workforce solutions to help HR build talent pipelines and fill hard-to- fill vacancies,” explains Waste Management’s Harvey.When talent acquisition teams have access to talent, no matter the type, there is an increased chance of finding the right candidate for the right position more quickly and efficiently.
“With a holistic view of talent, hiring managers have access to larger talent pools,” says Owen. “For example, imagine a qualified candidate who was not chosen for a full-time position because there was an abundance of applicants. With a total workforce solution, the hiring manager would be able to determine if there was a different position for the candidate and move them into the contingent talent pool.” In addition to candidate movement, Harvey says an integrated approach allows Waste Management to develop candidates. “Deploying a contractor with a partial skill set allows us to give on-the-job opportunity to talent with a partial skill set and review success in role before converting to employee.”
Randstad Sourceright’s Henderson has experienced similar findings. “We have also found that with this total talent view, organizations have an expanded talent pool for permanent workforce requirements and are better able to convert high performing contingent employees into permanent talent.” This means reduced recruiting costs for organizations and increased time to productivity that experienced workers can deliver.
• Internal mobility. A key way to retain talented employees is to allow them to grow and develop within the organization. Internal mobility programs help foster this, and research shows they can lower talent acquisition costs and produce faster time-to productivity rates to boot.
“Internal mobility programs are often the best quality of source,” says Browne. “With the continued talent shortage, if organizations were promoting 20 percent of workforce, that would be a critical advantage.”
By nature, total workforce solutions provide the perfect setting for internal mobility and workforce planning.
“With the advanced analytics to drive an integrated talent model, organizations are better able to forecast talent needs and optimize successful success planning and internal talent mobility,” says Henderson. “The increased visibility provided ensures that employers can readily promote opportunities to internal talent.”
Research is predicting future growth of total talent management. According to Randstad Sourceright’s 2017 Talent Trends Report, 91 percent of adopters are satisfied with this approach, and 68 percent of respondents report they are likely to implement this type of approach in the next 12 months. Ardent Partners’ research agrees with 64 percent of respondents indicating they plan to launch an initiative.
“This fact speaks volume to the ultimate needs of today’s organizations,” says Dwyer. “If talent engagement is shifting and the contingent/non-employee workforce is going to continue to grow in the months and years ahead, it is imperative that organizations understand the benefits of a total workforce management program that can effectively manage and blend all types of workers.”
“Currently, companies are struggling to integrate different types of workers into a coherent strategy. Blending full-time and contingent workforce strategies means a more mature talent acquisition function that will produce greater return on investment for organizations,” explains Taryn Owen, CEO of PeopleScout.
A total workforce solution is a more sophisticated approach to integrated talent management. She says some key drivers include:
• Scalability and agility
• Better quality of hire
• Reduced costs
• Visibility into workforce
• Workforce planning
• Demographic shifts
• Economic forces