Embrace the future of talent with a total workforce solution.
By Marta Chmielowicz
Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all sourcing, recruiting,Â and hiring. The gig economy is on the rise, the workplaceÂ is becoming more diverse, and top talent is increasinglyÂ hard to come by. But even as skills shortages becomeÂ the norm and attracting talent grows more difficult,Â organizations are gearing up their hiring efforts toÂ position themselves for future success. In fact, LinkedInâsÂ Global Recruiting Trends 2017 study reports that talentÂ is the top priority for 83 percent of executives, and 56Â percent of organizations are planning to increase theirÂ hiring volume in 2018.
But while talent is one of HRâs biggest priorities, it is alsoÂ one of its greatest challenges. According to PontoonâsÂ Global Workforce Solutions Survey, 70 percent of surveyÂ respondents believe their organizationâs talent acquisitionÂ strategy is incapable of delivering future-ready talent.
So, whatâs a talent acquisition team to do? For many, theÂ answer is adopting a holistic talent management strategyÂ that aligns with business goals, encompasses all types ofÂ workers, and leverages technology to achieve integrationÂ and transparency.
Adopting a total workforce solution âenables companiesÂ to make smarter, more effective decisions and givesÂ them an advantage over their competitors who are stillÂ disjointed,â says Alexander Mann Solutionsâ Mark Jones,Â senior vice president and director of operations andÂ commercial in the Americas. âCompanies can choose toÂ stop contract hiring, they can assess whether they shouldÂ reduce pay rates, they can make a decision to hire onlyÂ internally, or push out start dates for new joiners. TheseÂ are all the levers that executives can push based on theirÂ business lifecycle, the information they have at theirÂ disposal, and the visibility they have into their entireÂ workforceâand they can do it in a strategic and plannedÂ way,â he explains.
For organizations that are considering taking the plungeÂ into a total talent solution, the potential benefits areÂ numerous:
- Better visibility. By combining recruitment processÂ outsourcing (RPO) and managed service program (MSP)Â capabilities into one integrated platform, organizationsÂ can gain full visibility over their entire talent spectrumâfrom contingent workers to permanent employees inÂ both internal and external talent funnels. This blendedÂ approach allows for smarter hiring decisions, leading toÂ higher efficiency and better quality of hires.
âA total workforce solutions approach gives leadershipÂ a comprehensive view of their labor realities so they canÂ make better, data-driven business decisions. SegmentingÂ data and operations by worker classification is quicklyÂ becoming an outdated methodology in an economyÂ where freelancers account for 35 percent of U.S. workersÂ and collectively earned $1 trillion in the past year. Getting data and process flows out of employee classification silosÂ gives companies the flexibility they need to stay ahead ofÂ their competition,â explains Peter Carvalho, president ofÂ AgileOne.
- Clearer insights. In todayâs unpredictable and disruptiveÂ business environment, organizations need to be agile andÂ adaptable in order to compete. Total workforce solutionsÂ can help by providing HR teams with more accurate dataÂ and analytics that can be used to predict future workforceÂ challenges and proactively plan for the future.
âA total workforce solution platform will provide analyticsÂ regarding production, time, quality, and cost amongÂ others, including competitive compensation and marketÂ intelligence. It would also bring visibility to successionÂ planning, internal mobility, and help business leadersÂ understand if they are achieving specifically identifiedÂ goals such as diversity,â says Lori Hock, CEO of HudsonÂ Americas at Hudson Global Inc.
Data obtained from a total workforce solution platformÂ can also inform other aspects of an organizationâs broaderÂ HR strategy. âThrough predictive analytics, companies canÂ look beyond just managing the business need, but alsoÂ glean how to effectively manage costs and productivityÂ as well as guide recognition and employee valueÂ proposition,â Hock adds.
- Lower costs. âOne of the biggest competitive advantagesÂ of a total workforce solution is cost avoidance or costÂ savings as a result of a holistic approach. If a hiringÂ manager has a need, then they can discuss that need withÂ their total talent provider. Collectively, based on marketÂ insights, budget, and knowledge of the business, a well-planned and strategic decision can be made to fill theÂ need with the most cost-effective solution,â says Jones.
By reducing the overlap, waste, and hiring inefficienciesÂ that are inherent in siloed hiring processes, organizationsÂ can better utilize the talent that is already on their radarÂ and increase hiring speed.
According to Carvalho, âHiring more frequently and moreÂ quickly than your competition will make you a popularÂ employer-of-choice and open more streams for yourÂ organization to complete work. This impacts your bottomÂ line by making the organization more profitable and moreÂ popular than the competition.â
- Better results. PwC reports that 77 percent of CEOs seeÂ the availability of key talent as the biggest threat to theirÂ business. With access to talent presenting such a hugeÂ challenge for HR professionals, the adoption of a totalÂ workforce solution can help organizations ensure thatÂ they donât fall behind.
âHaving the ability to source all forms of talent fromÂ numerous talent pools means a higher likelihood ofÂ finding the very best and most suitable talent to achieveÂ the optimum time to productivity and the right cost,â saysÂ Bruce Morton, executive director of enterprise strategy atÂ Allegis Global Solutions.
In addition, âit affords an opportunity to be a marketÂ leader not only in hiring speed and quality, but alsoÂ in efficiency since it reduces the need to return to theÂ external talent market for every role,â adds Hock.
Despite these benefits, Aberdeen reports that only 15Â percent of organizations today are investing in total talentÂ solutions. However, that number is expected to increase,Â with research by Gartner predicting that by 2020, nearlyÂ 60 percent of HR leaders will leverage a unified talentÂ management strategy for all types of talent.
Implementing a Total Talent Strategy
Organizations can follow this six-step process toÂ successfully support the unified workforce of tomorrow:
1. Get an accurate view of the workforce. âIt startsÂ with a business needs analysis considering any marketÂ fluctuations, availability of workers, and future planning,âÂ says Hock. âDonât make assumptions. Just because certainÂ processes are in place within your organization does notÂ necessarily mean that all users are following them or thatÂ they remain current and efficient. Conduct a gap analysisÂ or discovery session for an accurate view into what isÂ occurring within the organization today.â
Armed with this information, HR professionals can developÂ and articulate a strategy to consolidate disparate systems.Â According to Morton, the key is to âstart small, identifyÂ ways to gain visibility of current employees and availableÂ contract workers, then build a roadmap based on addingÂ talent pools.â
However, itâs not enough to consider only current businessÂ performance; program success depends on alignment withÂ future business needs. âLong-term resource planning isÂ also required to ensure that the talent acquisition strategyÂ aligns with the companyâs strategic direction,â says JonesÂ of Alexander Mann Solutions.
2. Reorganize the business. Such a dramatic change inÂ the talent acquisition function requires a completeÂ restructuring of the business. âTraditionally, permanentÂ hiring has been dealt with via talent acquisition andÂ HR, while contingent labor was owned by procurement.Â In some organizations the two never meet, and thisÂ disconnect isnât helped by the fact that they useÂ completely different technologies and have an entireÂ ecosystem that has operated in silos,â Jones says. âAllÂ hiring, whether itâs internal, external, or contingentÂ labor, should sit under talent acquisition and HR, withÂ procurement providing input to ensure value is achieved,Â but not operationally owning the relationship.â
In order to successfully manage this change, organizationsÂ must create a role that has oversight over the fullÂ workforce. Hock of Hudson believes that âan experienced,Â effective team managing the program is critical to achieveÂ optimal results. Their oversight of a consistent processÂ will ensure that procedurally you proactively identifyÂ and mitigate risk, documenting all owners and actions toÂ ensure compliance.â
Jones agrees and believes that this process needs to beÂ driven from the very top of the organization. âFirst andÂ foremost, you need a common owner, shared goals, andÂ agreed objectives. You need to determine how success isÂ going to be measured and then everybody needs to getÂ on the bus. This has to come from the top downâfromÂ the C-suite. In most organizations, it canât be effectivelyÂ managed from the bottom up because the historicalÂ separation and reporting lines are too rigid.â
3. Secure buy-in from senior leadership. A recent GlobalÂ Workforce Solutions survey by Pontoon revealed thatÂ 49 percent of respondents stated complexity was theirÂ biggest barrier to implementing a total talent acquisitionÂ approach, as it is difficult to change a process that hasÂ been in place for years.
While the change management associated with combiningÂ MSP and RPO processes may be challenging, theseÂ difficulties can be mitigatedÂ that is supported by executive leadership.
âCritical to the success of such a fundamental changeÂ is the full involvement and active support of executiveÂ leadership,â AgileOneâs Carvalho explains. âKeyÂ stakeholders need to understand the full scope of issuesÂ that will be affected by the change and be given realisticÂ timelines to execute. For example, the change to totalÂ workforce solutions will require merging HR, talentÂ acquisition, and procurement. Executive leadership needsÂ to consider the new organizational chart in advanceÂ and support the chosen leader and new objectives. ThisÂ proactive clarity and organizational support naturallyÂ promotes collaboration.â
4. Invest in new technology. The next critical step toÂ restructuring a traditional workforce model is theÂ adoption of new technology that is better integratedÂ across business functions. âYou need an infrastructureÂ to support the total workforce solution. This starts byÂ reviewing your HRIS or other technology platform.Â Ultimately you will need systems that operate inÂ unison to give you true visibility into spend, usage, andÂ productivityâ¦ The program needs to be enabled by aÂ technology that offers appropriate analytics and visibilityÂ and monitors the performance and utilization of resourcesÂ against requirements,â says Hock.
In addition to improving efficiency, Carvalho believes thatÂ new technology can improve program implementationÂ by mitigating compliance risks and providing every teamÂ member with one set of tools in pursuit of a unified goal.
5. Provide support, communication, and education.Â Managing the shift toward a total workforce solutionÂ requires frequent communication of the organizationalÂ strategy and performance goals. âVisibility promotesÂ empathy and support brings collaboration,â says Carvalho.Â âThe new organizational chart, frequent top-downÂ communication, and shared performance goals will createÂ a productive atmosphere.â
Demonstrating a business case for the initiative throughÂ concrete data is also a good strategy for getting teamÂ members on board. âThe change management required isÂ a lot easier if you take the guesswork out of the benefitsÂ of a combined strategy. Get the empirical evidence toÂ make informed decisions together,â says Morton.
This combined with data sharing and training will betterÂ equip the entire organization to recommend and supportÂ additional change. âNew departments may be adding newÂ types of workers they havenât used before, so educatingÂ the organization on the nuances associated with differentÂ worker types is essential,â Carvalho says.
6. Donât be afraid to experiment. Even after adopting aÂ total workforce solution, it is important that organizationsÂ donât stifle their creativity in their approach to talent.Â âExpress a true freedom to innovate in your approach,Â and donât be afraid to hear new points of view or tryÂ new things,â advises Carvalho. âLearn from outcomesÂ that are not successful and celebrate those that are. ThisÂ isnât the time for micro-management; trust your teams,Â your partners, and the process. Good things are on theÂ horizon!â