Total workforce solutions allow organizations to zero in on their most important asset: talent.

By Debbie Bolla

In recent years, HR and talent acquisition leaders have become more and more accountable for the workforce. They often have ownership of not just the people who organizations hire, but also how they perform.

One of the drivers of this is the critical importance business leaders place on talent nowadays. Take a look at these facts:

  • The Brookings Institution has reported that as much as 85 percent of a company’s market value is now calculated with intangible assets including knowledge, reputation, and talent.
  • Ninety-two percent of organizations expect an increase in competition when it comes to landing top performers.
  • The number one priority for HR is attracting top talent.

This pressure is forcing organizations to rethink how they address they workforce. In fact, 63 percent of organizations are doing that right now, according to Ardent Partners. A growing consideration is a total workforce solution (TWS), which allows HR to manage all types of talent -full-time and contingent -under one holistic approach. Take, for example, Waste Management.

“Waste Management’s relationship with a total workforce solution is actively evolving like many market-leading companies,” says Lon Harvey, director of talent acquisition, contingent labor program for the organization. “Our journey highlights that talent drives our corporate strategy and it comes from many directions.”

HRO Today’s Baker’s Dozen research has been tracking growth of total workforce solutions for the last few years. Beginning in 2015, study participants were asked about using the same provider for both RPO (which handles fulltime hires) and MSP (which covers contingent workers). In 2017, 23 percent of respondents used the same provider for both services. That is a six-percentage point increase since 2015. And for those that already use the same provider, 86 percent plan to continue to use the same provider for both.

What about those respondents considering a TWS? Around 35 percent of Baker’s Dozen RPO survey respondents agree that it is on their agenda, and of that, 41 percent are thinking of implementing one in the next year. Other research agrees. Pontoon’s Global Workforce Solutions survey finds 55 percent of organizations are likely to implement integrated solutions in the next five years. In response to the market, in 2018, HRO Today will be conducting a survey of total workforce solutions users and will publish a Baker’s Dozen ranking of the top service providers.

What is driving this growth? “Total talent blends insight, talent pooling, multichannel talent acquisition, and technology to help organizations get full visibility into the talent market instead of being limited by channels or talent type,” says Corinne Ripoche Van Hecke, president of Pontoon.

A TWS allows organizations to shift from a commodity-sourcing model to a talent-focused model. Contingent labor was once seen as a commodity and a quick fill to a non-strategic role.

But now, leading organizations have adjusted their view of contingent workers and now see the benefits of hiring highly skilled talent on a project basis. Moving from a commodity-sourcing model to a talent-focused model provides organizations with a clearer picture of the challenges that come with the contingent workforce. Some of these challenges include satisfaction, productivity, employee transition, and career growth. With a talent-focused model, organizations have a better opportunity to account for how to include contingent worker considerations in overall management.

This talent-focused model goes hand-in-hand with another trend of how TWS positively impacts workforce planning. A TWS provides visibility of the entire workforce, which allows HR and talent acquisition teams to understand their talent needs and their ability to fill them.

For example, organizations with access to metrics and reporting can understand the layers of talent they need for their workforce planning. HR and talent acquisitions teams can leverage that data to determine whether to classify a position as contingent or full-time. Metrics can show the cost for the position, the time to fill, and manager satisfaction. They also provide the opportunity to zero in on positions that have historically been filled as a long-term contract position but would be better served by a full-time employee.

For example, if a project for a highly skill software developer starts as a six-month project and isn’t complete after 10 months, an organization with a data-driven TWS would be able to consider converting that contractor -or that role -into a full-time position.

With such a clear view of talent, TWSs can help HR build talent pipelines and gain access to top performers. This is particularly valuable when an unexpected opening occurs. “Pressure relief by deploying a contractor to complete at least part of the work allows a hiring manager and talent advisor to continue their search without such a state of emergency in some cases,” finds Harvey.

Organizations can maximize the value of the existing talent pool and proven performers -contingent or full-time -by redeploying them in a new role. On a global level, a TWS allows organizations to view talent that’s in multiple regions throughout the entire business.

“The growing prevalence of geographically-distributed workforces increases the need for connectivity between processes such as career management and learning and development,” says Chad Lane, president of Allegis Global Solutions (AGS).

A TWS provides global organizations with a better talent pool and the ability to make smarter decisions. And with the current pressure on HR, the clearer picture of talent, the better.

SIDEBAR: Total Talent Partners

For organizations considering a total workforce solution, there are several HR service partners in the market delivering this approach.

Advantage xPO


Alexander Mann Solutions

Allegis Global Solutions

AMN Healthcare


Cross Country Healthcare

Hire Talent

Hudson RPO

Impellam Group

Kelly OCG

Korn Ferry



Pontoon Solutions

PPR Healthcare

Randstad Sourceright

Resource Solutions




Tags: December-2017, Magazine Article, Talent Acquisition, Total Workforce Solutions

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