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Recruitment, Talent Management

Is It Time For A Total Talent Management Strategy?

Are you talking about total talent management as part of your recruitment strategy? Considering the talent shortages, we don’t appear to be hearing many HR and Recruitment/Talent leaders discussing the wider picture and the mix of their workforce. In most companies there is a mix of worker types consisting of:

  • Permanent Employees
  • Contractors
  • Interims
  • Freelancers
  • Agency Workers (Temps)
  • Statement of Work (SOW) Consultants

Do you know what the workforce mix is within your company? According to SAP SuccessFactors 20 - 50% of total workforces are made up of non-permanent employees. Considering that is the case, 51% of companies don’t actually know how many non-permanent employees they have working for them! That makes you think about your talent management, doesn’t it?

I know from working with organisations, that when I ask the ‘workforce mix question’ as part of my initial discovery sessions, there are often blank looks. HR and Recruitment leaders mostly know the permanent employee count and maybe the few contractors they have working directly for them, but past that and it is usually a ‘let me get back to you on that‘. I think most companies would agree there is a definite problem with capturing the complete workforce data, of both permanent and non-permanent employees. Without this bigger picture it makes decision making, forecasting and workforce planning a much more difficult task.

Much of  HR and recruitment leadership’s focus is on the permanent employees wellbeing, engagement, retention and recruitment, but who is responsible for the non-employees - Hiring managers, Divisional Managers, Procurement or maybe the RPO’s? It seems to vary in organisations.
I have been engaged many times as a SOW Consultant outside the realms of HR, directly responsible to business heads, and I am sure I am not the only one. There are the MSP’s (Managed Service Providers) and of course the RPO’s, and either of them (or none of them) could manage an agreed PSL (Preferred Suppliers). But what if both the permanent and non-permanent recruitment was wrapped up as one total talent management solution? Just think of the data and the analytics that would give the business!

Total Talent Management Needs More Focus

The point I am making is that there are talent shortages across many companies, and that the skills needed may be found within these non-employee groups, aka the contingent workforce. I think it is time for recruiting and resourcing strategies to consider a wider remit, looking at all talent options. The problem for many recruitment departments is the lack of resources, time, expertise or technology to hire and manage them on an everyday basis. But maybe the problem is a lack of looking at the bigger picture across a whole organisation?
REC wrote that the “use of interims and freelancers is rising. Hiring managers, HR teams and recruiters are increasingly supplementing and enhancing the skills and expertise of their workforce by engaging independent contractors on either a project basis, or in a longer term arrangement.”

There has also been much made of the Gig Economy and how that is one big part of the future of talent management, but how is this going to be managed going forward, to ensure both business and cost efficiencies from a company perspective? This contingent workforce is definitely in demand by companies - you only have to look at the demand for digital and IT contractors to realise that - as they are not able to recruit the permanent skills they need. Yet how much attention do companies give to their employer brand (with regards to contingent labour), candidate attraction, engagement or even the experience they give their candidates?

One way I have seen companies do this is via their RPO provider, pushing the responsibility (to some extent) over to them for employer brand and candidate experience. I have even seen them been given responsibility for all their recruitment focused social media activities (and yes they mainly post jobs!). While there may be a few exceptions, the experiences I see directly and hear about from clients are not great - usually citing the same issues - lack of care, lack of buy-in and no real appreciation for the brand and/or company. Ultimately that just leads to expectations not being met and contracts not being renewed.

If the contingent workforce is so critical to companies (remember the stats from SAP SuccessFactors above), then why are they not being given the attention that such an important part of the workforce demands? Of course there is going to be the issue of rates and costs associated with contingent labour, but by the time you factor in permanent recruitment time, costs and loss of employee deliverables, is the gap really that big?

I know I am being holistic in this, but surely whatever the mix of your workforce, it represents your company’s total talent and should be managed accordingly for better resource management and workplace effectiveness. One thing is certain though - having a complete overview of ALL your workforce mix will give you all the data and workforce analytics you ever desire to help you make better strategic business decisions.

I believe the advances in recruitment technology solutions make this possible, but who is brave enough to make the decision to change? 


If you are having resourcing problems and need to take a different look at your talent management then maybe it is time for you to share some of your nice coffee with me. Just send me an email and let’s have a chat about how I could help you.

And finally if you haven’t got your copy yet, don’t forget to buy a copy of my new book 🙂