The Total Talent Model: 5 Tips to Break Down Barriers

In an increasingly competitive talent market, it’s more important than ever to anticipate and deliver the talent your organization needs, and when that talent is most needed. Relying on HR to manage permanent hires and on procurement to own the contingent workforce not only hinders your company’s ability to create a unified, agile workforce, but also your ability to fully align talent acquisition strategy with greater business objectives.

The solution lies in a total talent model — where you hire for the work that needs to be done, rather than just filling open jobs — giving you better, faster access to skilled talent.

If your company can’t source and hire a permanent employee for an open role that’s in high demand, consider tapping contractors or freelancers to fill the gap. This approach can be highly effective, and it encourages companies to break down silos between HR and procurement (something many organizations still struggle with)and work together.

Businesses across the globe are starting to recognize how imperative an integrated approach is to talent management strategy. Randstad Sourceright’s 2019 Talent Trends study of more than 800 C-suite and human capital leaders around the globe revealed that two-thirds (74%) are planning to invest in a total talent acquisition model this year, and for businesses already using this approach, almost all (98%) are either extremely or very satisfied.

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Of the 7% who say they probably or definitely will not implement a total talent model this year, one-quarter (24%) cite their organizational structure as a roadblock. Others say they don’t have the resources to implement (24%), are investing elsewhere (19%) or lack the internal expertise (19%).

Why it makes sense

Worldwide, unemployment remains at historic lows. At the same time, the contingent workforce continues to grow. Combined, these factors make filling full-time positions more difficult, especially for specialized positions in engineering, software development, nursing, program management and recruitment.

A total talent acquisition model enables organizations to overcome sourcing difficulties. In the traditional approach, hiring managers must determine upfront whether each role should be filled with permanent or contingent talent. But this approach limits the pool of potential candidates, causing companies to miss out on talented individuals who, for instance, might only be considering contract work.

Rather than looking at candidates to fill a specific role, a more efficient and cost-effective approach considers all types of work arrangements – not just permanent, but also freelance, temporary, statement of work (SOW), independent contractors and even outsourcing projects. A collaborative approach involving hiring managers, talent advisors and data-driven insights helps to find the right combination of permanent and contingent talent able to meet business objectives.

How to implement a total talent model

When implemented properly, a total talent model can be a significant competitive differentiator. Consider these five steps to get started:

  1. Make the case. Create a clear business case that outlines the benefits and value for all stakeholders across the organization.
  2. Get others on board. Gaining buy-in from key stakeholders early on in the process will help to get maximum participation in the program.
  3. Set the KPIs. With agreed-upon metrics, you’ll have a baseline around which to measure success.
  4. Collect insights. Collecting and reviewing your talent data is key. By analyzing program performance, outside market intelligence and your own workforce metrics, you can better understand program effectiveness and recognize opportunities.
  5. Continually improve. Implementing an effective total talent model is a marathon, not a sprint, so you should expect to improve how it works in your organization on an ongoing basis.

While it may seem daunting to replace your traditional talent acquisition approach with a total talent model, the benefits will far outweigh any challenges. Organizations that have already adopted this strategy are better equipped to quickly attract and onboard the talent they need to support business goals.

Scott Bishop

Scott Bishop
Scott Bishop is senior vice president of integrated talent management at Randstad USA.

Scott Bishop

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