How to Win at Total Workforce Management (Part 1 of 3)

How to Win at Total Workforce Management – Part 1

In this three-part series, How to Win with Total Workforce Management, we’re taking a look at the trending shifts in talent engagement and management, and how your organisation can work towards a proactive, agile and highly tuned ‘total workforce’, from one that is potentially fragmented, costly and inefficient. These are challenging times for many organisations, who are recognising the need for a significant cultural and strategic business overhaul: shifts which are often the most difficult to achieve.

As the increase in numbers of contingent workers continues, organisations are increasingly overseeing a workforce with a multitude of worker categories, with more workers open to flexible working arrangements. In getting the most out of this dichotomy of worker types, the problem has traditionally been a fragmented management structure: three people in one team could be managed by two or more stakeholders. It’s old-school, inefficient and costly. Hence, the shift to a total talent solution is the logical next step for organisations today.

In this first of our three-part series, we’re giving you some preliminary thoughts to consider if you’re going to make the shift to a total workforce solution.

A Strategic Approach from the HR Team

It’s a chicken or egg scenario, right? What comes first? Traditionally, HR departments haven’t been a key strategic function. So how can the business make a seismic shift regarding HR’s core stakeholder – its people – to achieve a total workforce solution?

HR’s role as a strategic business partner will provide a first-step impetus for organisations to move to a robust, total talent solution. Moving from purely operational to a strategic decision-maker takes reorienting both at the HR level, and at the C-suite level.

Being proactive in the development of a holistic talent strategy, whilst educating and relationship building with key stakeholders will set a clear path for the shift to a successful total workforce solution. It won’t be without it challenges, as change of this nature is significant – especially at the most senior levels.

Break down traditional barriers to talent engagement

That is, rethinking the approach to talent management from silos to workforce integration. This will, of course, have a profound impact on the workforce environment, and needs to be planned and executed with a strategic mindset. From Ardent Partners:

Total Talent Management

Let’s look at these individually:

  1. Rethinking how enterprise work is addressed: this is a fundamental. When the workforce AS A WHOLE is considered, the business can focus on the job to get done, rather than ‘who does what’. It’s a far more strategic approach. It’s also about accessing skills: CEO’s today see accessibility of skills as a major threat to their business in the future of work (PwC). Stands to reason therefore, that moving away from traditional talent sourcing and management strategies, which aren’t alleviating this pain, to a whole-of-business approach to talent is the shift that’s needed.
  2. Embracing on-demand and real-time talent sources: a real shake up for the enterprise, is how talent is sourced. Today, online talent marketplaces are key for improving accessibility to high-quality talent, as well as enabling greater agility for the organisation to respond to opportunities and market fluctuations. Talent on-demand is not the Uberisation of workers, it’s a strategic opportunity for business access quality, experienced talent at the right time, and the right price.
  3. Striving for a more direct relationship with talent: this requires a focus at both the sourcing and the engagement and management phases. Business agility comes into play here, whereby organisations are flexible and adept enough to go direct to the source to access talent. Therefore, they establish a more direct relationship with them, than say, if a middleman were involved – a relationship that extends beyond sourcing to engagement & management. The workers and the organisation are a more holistic unit, and the experience for everyone is vastly improved.
  4. Improving the experience of talent utilised by the business: an extension of point 3, the experience of workers, be they perm or contract, is critical at every single stage of their interaction with the organisation. First impressions really do count, and a consistency of engagement and communications keeps all categories of workers engaged, involved and feeling like they play an important role in the organisation.
  5. Embracing Procurement’s ability to manage new sources of talent: As more options and technologies are developed for talent sourcing, a shift needs to happen to provide a broader spectrum of sourcing partners, under Procurement’s remit. Again, this is a major cultural shift for an organisation who have relied on Procurement to facilitate partnerships and technology in very siloed structures. Broadening Procurement’s responsibility to look at the partners for ALL talent, is Procurement’s next frontier.

The shift to total workforce management isn’t a simple one. A Manpower Group report from 2017 showed that 89 percent of HR leaders recognised the value of a total talent approach, but only 44 percent were doing something about it. Ouch.

Total workforce management is a key topic to be covered at next week’s Emerging Workforce Summit, in Sydney. There’s a few tickets left if you’re keen to attend. It will be worth it. Click here.

Next week, we’re going to delve into stakeholder impact, operational considerations and change management, for a winning total talent solution.

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