Total Talent Management: 3 Guiding Principles of HR Tech [PART 3 OF 3]

In this final instalment of our three-part series on the best ways to win at Total Talent Management, we’re taking a look at the impact of HR tech and the factors you need to consider, to facilitate and reap greatest results from its adoption.

I thought it was timely to restate the most organic definition of Total Talent Management, which I’ve taken from Staffing Industry Analysts – a definition that’s all encompassing:

“The concept of TTM integrates and engages the full range of talent sources, from traditional employees to a wide variety of non-employee workers including temporary workers, independent contractors/consultants/ freelancers, volunteers, outsourced resources, and even non-human options such as robots, drones and cognitive computing applications.”

There are a multitude of factors influencing how we work today that make the move to total talent, appear obvious. Consider these…

  • generational changes in the workplace
  • a shift in global economics, and the ongoing rise of the gig economy
  • the continuing move to globalisation stagnation of wage growth
  • the rampant development and adoption of the digital world
  • technology
  • skills gaps in key industries and job categories
  • global political uncertainty, and at times, unrest

This list is by no means exhaustive, and clearly, there are degrees of influence from each. By and large however, technology is the standout in its ubiquity. Why do I emphasise it? Because technology has proven to influence most of the other factors that are changing how we work: from how workers and business’ communicate to how they organise, technology enables change, it validates change, it can foster prosperity from change and it can help to mitigate the fear and resistance that so often accompanies change.

In light of all these influences, it’s clear that a shift to total talent management is increasingly a smart, strategic move. And at the heart of any progressive, future-focused strategy, you’ll find a technology nucleus (in this case, HR tech), enabling the strategy to at first migrate, and from there, operate and evolve to support and grow the business.

Today, I’ve outlined three guiding HR tech principles your business can adopt in the execution of a total talent strategy. In a move to total talent, this is potentially the most important consideration for your business – making the right technology calls, can guide your future workforce with success and longevity.

Principle 1: The HR Tech Plan

Whether you have contingent workers in your business already, or you can see the skills requirement for them, planning out your HR tech to suit an increasingly divergent array of worker types will pave the path for a successful total talent approach.

Here are some of the key factors to consider:

  • What does our current technology stack offer from a talent management and a talent visibility standpoint? Identify shortcomings.
  • How will communications be managed across all worker types, that suits our infrastructure and our culture?
  • What’s does success look like, upon the integration of workforce management (across all workers)?
  • What considerations need to be made for compartmentalising worker types by department, factoring in IP & data security?
  • How can technology facilitate team collaboration and cohesion across all categories of workers and geographies?
  • What can technology offer our people from a training & development standpoint, considering our current and future skills requirements?
  • How can technology help us adhere to all legislative requirements across all worker categories?
  • How can technology enable our business to execute a strong talent mobility plan?
  • What about compensation? How can we standardise pay rates by skills, role and job type? What can technology offer here?
  • Can technology help to support HR’s transition to sourcing and engagement of non-permanent workers?

These are just some considerations your project team will need to put on the table, when HR tech is under analysis, for adoption of a total talent strategy. Keep in mind, technology isn’t the singular answer to achieving total talent nirvana: it’s a tool to help you get there.

Principle 2: Aim for Agility

The concept of having multiple categories of workers in your business, lends itself to a business that is agile, responsive, and highly efficient. The bringing together of specialised temporary workers with permanent employees in a cohesive union, gives rise to improved productivity, transparency and business output.

But what is workforce agility?

Traditionally, ‘agility’ was, in essence, an old-fashioned methodology for tech engineers. Today, its application to HR is broad-reaching – not only to how organisations are engaging multiple worker types, but also to HOW people work (think stand-up meetings, as an example).

Total talent management can introduce agility to your business: a plain fact. In today’s highly digitised world is this an important, and potentially game-changing outcome of embracing a total talent approach. Here are some examples you can consider as potential benefit for your business:

  • Accessing the skills you need in your business, when you need them, via talent pooling – the ability to be responsive with on-demand talent, on an as-needs basis, rather than building up the roster of
    perms on your books, offers a multitude of agile business rewards
  • Eliminating the clutter of middle management’s often convoluted communications channels, allowing specialists to get the job done
  • Engaging people, management and customers in a solution designed to fit the current and future skills needs of the business.

An agile business strategy goes beyond talent. And there’s so much more I could offer you on this topic – for now, remember that business agility will be a hugely positive outcome, if your total talent management plan is deployed strategically and customised to your business.

And no surprise, HR tech has a major play in this arena: we’ve moved from slow-moving, single-source enterprise tech solutions, to dynamic, low-touch, proven technology platforms that can bring together the interrelated concepts of workforce agility and total talent management.

It’s worthy of a Venn diagram.. don’t you think?

HR tech Total Talent Management Technology Agility

We’re talking here about tapping into multiple platforms, to fulfil the many requirements of HR, talent management, sourcing, recruitment, comms, learning, HR analytics and more: a technology-led, total talent, agile working environment.

Hear me out.

The proliferation of new-breed HR tech opportunities is mind-blowing. And incredibly exciting. We’re shifting from cloud-based human capital management systems, to a multitude of platforms that better integrate and better serve business needs. Take a look below at the vendors in the HR tech play. These platforms are employee-centric, they require little to no training, they specialise and holistically uphold to their UVP, they largely utilise AI, they’re evolving all the time: and importantly, they deliver on a promise for application in a total talent management scenario:

HR Tech platforms


Principle 3: HR Tech Sits at the Heart of a Total Talent Approach

You may have picked up on this point already, but there’s more to it.

The key strategic factors that apply to a successful total talent management approach, in consideration of the organisation’s size, history and complexity are:

  • Business structure
  • People
  • Operational processes
  • Strategy
  • Technology

And at the heart of this, is technology. Harrier Human Capital nailed it. See below:

HR Tech Total Talent Management strategy


What’s crucial to remember is that the data you’ll extract from these key strategic areas will inform not only the technology you review for total talent deployment, but also, where the gaps in your HR analytics lie. Gaining a better view on what you don’t know, will become critical – having said that, your existing systems will have much for you to go on for preliminary technology decision making.

The ultimate goal of the technology you embrace is that it offers insight and visibility across all talent and business strategy markings, offering you the capacity to make quality decisions when migrating to and evolving a total talent solution. As I raised in Principle 2, above, there are multiple technology touchpoints that have the capacity to serve your business in the total talent endeavour.

And I will repeat the clincher…be mindful that the technology itself is no panacea, but rather a tool to enable you to drive a collaborative, productive, high-performing and unified workforce.

What’s your view? Do you see the
power of technology to achieve a quality total talent solution? Let me know at