Total Talent Solutions: Planning Strategically for a Total Workforce


U.K. and U.S. companies are becoming increasingly interested in an integrated approach to talent acquisition. Suppliers observe that since the recession, more workers in the U.K. are willing to take contingent workforce jobs, and correspondingly many European companies have become more likely to utilize contingent workers because of economic uncertainty. As non-employee workers are becoming a larger percentage of the total workforce than in the past, these companies are taking a more holistic approach to workforce planning to better manage this evolving “blended view” of their overall human capital investment.

Contingent workers were not considered a fundamental part of the workforce for many years. Now, they represent 30 percent or more of the overall workforce for many companies. “Those clients are considering which roles have greatest impact on their business strategy and defining the essential skills needed to drive growth or intentions,” says Roger Clements of Hyphen. “They realize the need to invest in that talent. In fact, the most effective driver of integrated solutions is strategic workforce planning and the intention to manage the total workforce in a more thoughtful way.”

We define strategic workforce planning (SWP) as a strategic business process that thoughtfully determines the future workforce requirements of an enterprise, particularly for positions deemed “mission critical,” and 1) aligns with long-term business strategy and financial objectives, 2) considers internal and external workforce demographics, and 3) results in a strategy for accessing, developing, and retaining the required talent using all potential sources. This includes employment, contingent workers (generally the largest third-party component), contracting, outsourcing, consulting, alliances and partnerships. The words strategicfuture and long-term all point to a time frame broader than the current year — usually a three- to five-year horizon. Companies that identify mission critical positions are able to focus appropriately on more effective talent acquisition and development efforts for those people and positions.

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In order to effectively plan for and secure a “total workforce,” long-term workforce planning may now be seen as strategically important. But effective short-term planning is rarely given the attention needed to give talent acquisition teams lead time for effective proactive solutions. Is it realistic to think that strategic/long-term workforce planning is now moving to the forefront of business leaders’ minds? Is there another movement underway that is driving the new trend toward integrated talent acquisition solutions? Please share your experience and thinking on this topic.

Jim Halling co-authored this post.




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Kay Colson

Kay Colson
Kay Colson is VP, service delivery, Texas Children's Hospital, Kinetix. She can be reached at kcolson (at) kinetixhr (dot) com.

Kay Colson

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