Organizations around the globe are seeing the value of managing all worker types under one approach.
By Bill Hatton
Market watchers expect non-employee talent to comprise about 50 percent of the workforce in upcoming years, and that’s one reason 95 percent of organizations currently see contingent labor as crucial to executing their business strategy, finds research firm Ardent Partners. That means the future of talent management will require visibility into a mix of contingent and permanent talent, along with specialists such as statement of work (SOW) workers. It will also further require use of technology (vendor management systems) that needs to be more and more integrated.
The promise is great: Being able to see and manage all the human capital available in an organization, as well as that talent which can be obtained, for the projects the companies need to accomplish, when they need to accomplish them, and manage them the whole way. This approach is being adopted all over the globe, but regions are in different stages of adoption.
Total talent management can been over-sold and under-delivered, finds Rishi Kapoor, president of Asia Pacific for Pontoon Solutions. What can work better is a realistic approach with a more consultative approach. “We provide a roadmap in terms of what’s available today, how we can solve your talent needs from a global management perspective — be it the requirement for a contingent worker or be it the requirement for a permanent worker,” he explains.
But technology can present a problem. “The technology piece is still a hindrance to total talent management really taking off and becoming operationalized,” says Zain Wadee, managing director of Pontoon U.K. “The technology used for onboarding and managing contingent workers is not joined up with the technology that’s used to find and then onboard permanent colleagues. There’s a gap. Until one of the big players on both the VMS and ATS side make that happen, we’ll have barriers to actually get beyond the desire to talk about global talent and really make it happen.”
In the meantime, clients are starting to think holistically and act holistically. “We have seen some clients who have started to embrace a more ‘joined-up approach’ to recruiting,” Wadee says, adding that it’s more common in financial services, banking, and insurance. “These organizations are looking at talent as a holistic requirement rather than just only looking at their permanent workforce.”
A holistic approach allows companies to choose workers for the right reasons—not just to fill immediate needs that could have been predicted, but instead to work more strategically to manage the workforce.
“If you look at your contingent and your permanent hiring as being in two buckets, you start to make solid decisions,” Wadee says. “On the contingent side, you don’t have to panic because you have to fill a current role and you go to the contingent market and you probably overspread, and you don’t necessarily have the right build-up of knowledge and certain skills.”
Approaches tend to be different in certain markets where talent is in demand. For example, unemployment in Singapore is 2.8 percent. Companies often feel pressured to ask themselves if they should be organizing themselves around a contingent worker strategy or a permanent-worker strategy, Kapoor says, and tying them together may be the best option.
“Bringing it all together makes complete sense, because then you can have a holistic talent pool,” Kapoor says. “The talent landscape in the region has different variations, different flavors, by different countries in the region, but [it’s] absolutely all-essential and all-critical for all of them to have this holistic map.”
For example, a large telecommunications company needs talent support in nine regions and in five countries total. Approaching permanent and contingent workers across the board has produced success.
“We have this holistic talent pool where we’re looking at recruiting the permanent workers and also looking at addressing the contingent workers,” Kapoor says. “And that talent pool is all administered, governed, controlled by recruiters.”
This allows hiring managers to divide up candidates that weren’t ideal fits for permanent positions and place them into contingent assignments. This is especially effective where talent is scarce.
“Be open to exploring contingent assignments with these workers (to) bring in that talent into the organizations much faster and in a much more efficient way. And it’s operating today. And once the technology’s all ready, then it obviously falls in very seamlessly.”