Defining a total talent management approach

Talent acquisition today is at an interesting crossroad. Disruptions, challenges and opportunities abound even as organisations invest in technology, process improvements and innovative strategies. Talent scarcity is real and the traditional bastions of HR-driven full-time employment and procurement-driven contingent workforce are being shaken up by the rise of the ‘gig worker’. And technology is revolutionising work patterns.

The total talent management approach starts at this crossroad.

The underpinning realities of an organisation’s total talent management strategy rest on three essential questions.

  • How will they draw up and manage their talent composition?
  • Where will they source future talent?
  • What can they do to win the mindsets of highly desired employees?

The disappearance of traditional talent silos

Non-traditional talent – contingent workers, freelancers, automation and robotics – is fast removing workforce boundaries. Technology is breaking down geographic boundaries to accelerate talent mobilisation and collaboration.

The total talent management approach recognises this trend as a business priority. It takes an integrated approach to mobilise and engage the evolving talent force across all worker types. It integrates processes to leverage diverse talent more effectively and meet business needs. In such a scenario, HR takes a leading role to bring together procurement, infrastructure and legal functions for a strategic approach.

Talent mobilisation, the total talent management way

It starts with a cohesive strategy to connect procurement and talent acquisition teams. A unified model places the company’s requirements first in determining when contingent workers or individual contributors are more effective. The resulting agility enables easier and quicker scaling to the dynamics of a competitive market.

This requires a cultural shift in the way talent is hired. Processes need to accommodate the preferences of the new-gen workers. Brand building should use the right communication to define the employee value proposition (EVP) through the right channels. Talent search has to cross boundaries to wider markets. Newer technologies need to be leveraged to source, engage and manage talent.

The freelance economy – an integral component

According to McKinsey, there are currently about 162 million freelancers in the US and Europe. As a powerful force of talent, independent workers have redefined work models. How quickly organisations include them into their workforce strategies will determine how much they will benefit in the future.

The freelance economy, as it is termed, offers compelling value to employers. This talent segment has a wide array of skills, can be on-boarded quickly, and is cost effective. Engagement and job satisfaction are high among independent workers, resulting in higher work quality.

Gaining access to the right skills across the globe, being flexible to integrate them seamlessly into the workforce, and empowering them with independence – these are the agile decisions organisations need to make.

The digital workflow – an inevitable requirement

Technology adoption in HR - and specifically talent management – has moved into the fast lane. Automation and robotics have emerged as important components of the future workforce, and the total talent management approach will need to factor this reality. Skilling and up-skilling strategies need to be redefined to drive innovation in performance.

Being future-ready in technology is a must for HR if they are to support the business shift to digital products and services. Predictive identification of needs and risk mitigation can be accomplished through a talent analytics platform. This will drive an insights-led people function and be the holistic link to other business information. It calls for HR teams and leaders to up-skill themselves and create the required efficiencies to transform their workforce.

Managing a flexible and agile workplace

This is the last-mile loop in the integration of all the strategies of total talent management – bringing it together and managing them to create a competitive workplace. It includes:

  • Investing in the right platforms to administer the performance of a unified workforce
  • Acquiring the best talent of all types with the right employer branding strategies
  • Engaging all types of talent. This includes grooming the high-energy millennials (who have tremendous potential to transform businesses) for leadership positions
  • Being compliant with laws and regulations regarding independent workers

The shift to a total talent management approach has tremendous impact on business outcomes. It removes silos that decelerate organizational agility and optimizes resources for top- and bottom line gains. Most importantly, it places HR in a leading and strategic role to drive enterprise success, and gives it a position of influence at the business table.

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