Filling critical gaps, building talent pools, and increasing worker tenure are some of the benefits organizations can experience from a total workforce solution.
By Debbie Bolla
Where is top talent within the organization?
How can skill gaps be filled internally?
What business strategies will help achieve workforce optimization?
To answer these questions, more and more organizations are looking into a total workforce solution. In fact, according to Randstad Sourceright’s 2020 Talent Trends report, 72 percent of respondents plan to implement a total talent model within their organizations over the next 12 months. In simple terms, a total workforce solution or total talent approach manages both full-time and contingent workers under one model. So instead of the traditional mindset of hiring based on worker type, organizations can gain efficiencies by having visibility into all of their talent when choosing the best candidate for a role.
“In the traditional recruiting model where we seek contractor candidates for short-term assignments and full-time applicants for long-term hiring, we are limiting ourselves,” says Kristy Sidlar, executive director of workforce solutions for Allegis Global Solutions. “When we cross-pollinate our talent and accept all worker types for all open roles, our success rate and time to fill will dramatically improve.”
A more agile approach to recruitment is essential considering that the dynamic of the workforce and its preferences have changed dramatically over the last decade. Companies now face a unique mix of five generations, full-time workers, contractors, freelancers, and return-to-work consultants.
“The number of freelancers in America has increased by 10 million in just the last five years, according to a recent survey,” says Jennifer Torres, client portfolio leader of MSP for PeopleScout. “The total number of freelancers is now up to 57 million, or 35 percent of the workforce. The same survey shows that most of those workers started freelancing by choice.”
With this transition comes the need to adapt in order to gain access to the right workers for open positions. “With a growing number of workers choosing to pursue nontraditional career opportunities, a company may find the critical skills it needs in the human cloud, a contractor pool, or the freelance marketplace,” says Sue Marcus, president of Randstad Sourceright’s total talent solutions for North America. “A total talent model helps employers to find the right skills, regardless of talent type.”
According to Randstad Sourceright’s 2020 Talent Trends report, one of the main reasons organizations adopt a total workforce solution is to create process efficiencies. A total talent approach can enable HR leaders to rethink how they are filling roles.
“A total workforce solution changes the paradigm from having to fill a job to finding the optimal way for getting the work done by work category, by skill set, and by market location,” says Vanessa Janus, vice president of enterprise solutions at Yoh. “This results in a reduction in the time to fill, lowers cost, and improves hires.”
Steve Leach, group sector and managing director at Alexander Mann Solutions, agrees. “It certainly allows organizations to maximize their ability to harness and leverage talent currently within the organization and external to the organization. Organizations’ recruitment teams can seek to satisfy a requirement from any of a number of channels: internal mobility assignments, recruitment, non-permanent worker, consultant, gig worker, or work package. This opens up many more avenues to fulfill the skill requirement than traditional recruitment,” he explains.
It can also offer some valuable market intelligence. “Establishing a total talent solution will ensure that an organization has visibility into what type of labor is available in the market, and where and how much this type of labor costs,” says Torres. “It will also show employers the trends around this type of skill set and how to stand out with a competitive offer.”
Today’s tight talent market requires TA leaders to be agile in their approach, making it critical to manage talent pools and internal mobility opportunities. “When employers break down the silos within their talent programs, they widen their talent funnels, providing more ways to find and hire the best talent,” says Torres.
Another way to build talent pools is by converting high quality contingent workers into full-time employees. Sidlar says this is a valuable practice that should be executed more often. According to recent analysis of Allegis’ internal data, most companies redeploy less than 10 percent of their contract workers.
“There is a huge opportunity to capture that talent before their assignment ends and either place them at another contract role within days or consider them for a full-time role within the same organization,” she says. “These workers are already vetted, onboarded, have a strong cultural fit, and know the organization.”
Since it provides stock on the performance of all employees, a total workforce solution can improve internal mobility and lengthen worker tenure to boot. “When employers provide candidates with a variety of options, candidates are more likely to take different roles within different areas of the company,” Torres says. “This increases the likelihood that the best talent will stay at an organization.”
Randstad Sourceright’s report finds that of the organizations that have already implemented a total talent approach, 64 percent are extremely satisfied and 33 percent say they are very satisfied. Early adopters are enjoying the success that a total workforce solution can provide.
Janus from Yoh shares an example. After six years of executing a global total workforce solution, a large digital entertainment firm has experienced $1.9 million in savings throughout the life of the engagement. This was achieved through rate management, tenure discounts, and a direct sourcing solution.
In addition to cost savings, the organization also improved cycle times for all skill sets and enjoyed gains in terms of quality and customer satisfaction. Janus says the second generation of this total talent program launched last year and resulted in an additional cost reduction of $750,000 during the first six months, with further program expansion on the agenda.