How Close Are We to Seeing Total Talent Management?

The vision of total talent management has long been in the minds of the HR and staffing community, but interest in the topic peaked in early 2018, driven by the exponential growth in contingent and direct work engagements.

But despite total talent management promising improved efficiency and reduced costs, according to Staffing Industry Analysts’ 2018 Workforce Solutions Buyers Survey, only 11% of respondents had a Total Talent Management (TTM) solution in place.

What makes total talent management so difficult?

A number of factors combine to make true TTM very difficult to achieve at the moment:

New and evolving workforce channels. Permanent, temporary, gig workers, contractors, freelancers, statement of work. There is an array of channels available when an organization needs to resource any given project. And every channel engages and pays workers in a different way.

It’s very difficult bringing all these different scenarios and logistical challenges into a single TTM solution. For example, how do you make the same piece of work available to a talent pool containing both permanent candidates and freelancers? There’s no simple way to combine the logistics or payment processes into one workflow.

Lines of responsibility and visibility challenges. Presently, it’s common to see the responsibilities for different workforce channels split across business lines. For example, HR might take ownership of permanent and temporary channels whilst Procurement may be responsible for consultancy and statement of work engagements. This example puts budgets, reporting, data and control in two, often siloed, departments and in reality, it can often be far more complex.

The key to TTM is visibility. Being able to see where and how all resources are being utilized is a prerequisite for making informed resourcing decisions. However, with HR and Procurement only getting a partial view of the complete picture, it’s impossible for them to answer the “how best do I resource this?” question.

PREMIUM CONTENT: 2018 Workforce Solutions Buyers Survey

Software capability. The third factor currently preventing true TTM is software. A TTM software solution should be able to take in the requirements for any given project and determine the best way to resource it after evaluating every workforce channel. At present, this ‘super’ platform does not exist. And even it if did, the cost to unpick and replace incumbent HR and Procurement software with a single platform will pose too great a risk for many.

What options exist for organizations exploring Total Talent Management in 2019 and beyond?

Despite the challenges facing organizations wanting to embrace Total Talent Management, it is possible today – to a degree.

The key to tackling TTM in 2019 is the integration of specialized workforce channel management tools via a central point of truth.

For example: Workday for permanent employees, SAP Fieldglass for recruitment vendor management and TalonFMS for directly sourced talent pools, freelancers and independent contractors. Through technical integrations, it is feasible for all requisition orders to be created in Workday with each specialized system in the technology stack managing the specific workflow and automations of their workforce channels behind the scenes.

Looking further into the future, there will likely be two strategic solution choices for TTM:

1. The all-in-one super tool. At some point in the future, someone will attempt to create the swiss army knife of HR/Procurement platforms. It’s hard to visualize because no other area of business has an all-in-one solution. Even the all-powerful MS Office is a collection of specialized applications.

2. The modularized integration of specialized tools. With the world of work continuing to evolve, we’ll see new workforce channels establish themselves. Each will bring their own complexity and nuance, requiring specific tools.

I believe the smart organizations will choose the modularised approach. Not only because it reduces the cost, risk and disruption of replacing existing systems, but it also increases flexibility and the ability to adapt to new workforce channel opportunities.

Jonny Dunning

Jonny Dunning
Jonny Dunning is the CEO of TalonFMS, UK-based technology company specializing in on-demand workforce software and the freelance/gig economy.

Jonny Dunning

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