The Rising Importance of Total Talent Management

As a C-level business leader, are you cognisant of the entire workforce you’re leading?

Not just your leadership team. Or your line managers.

Not just your high-performers or big-achievers.

Not just your finance team.


We’re talking full-time staff, independent contractors, part-timers, freelancers, contingent workers, even gig workers. Everyone.

No? Then read on….

What is Total Talent Management?

It’s a workforce management strategy where a business-wide, holistic approach is taken to the management of an organisation’s people.

With engagement of contingent workers on the rise, and organisations reaping the many benefits contingent talent offer, the old-fashioned approach to talent management, is rapidly becoming redundant. That is, the model whereby HR are responsible for permanent hires, and Procurement for temporary & contingent hires.

In this new era of Total Talent Management, organisations can break down the management silos of permanent vs non-permanent talent. The result is thus not focused on engaging people by category of worker (i.e. perm or non-perm), but critically, by focusing on the right worker for the job or project at hand.

As a result, a business can achieve a raft of benefits not least of which is a fit-for-purpose talent stream, suited to meeting the actual needs of a business, whilst capitalising on the biggest trend taking place in the workforce today: the rising precedence of the contingent worker.

In a 2016 study from Ardent Partners, the second most likely strategy to be adopted by organisations for adapting to the changing talent environment, was to embrace on-demand and real-time talent sources. That being the case, in the absence of a strategic approach to the management of these people, chaos will likely ensue.

Ardent Partners Talent Management

So… let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of undertaking a total talent management strategy given this radical change to the workforce of today.

Why is Total Talent Management so important?

A few reasons….

  1. You need to keep up with – and reap greatest ROI from – the continual changes happening in the construct of today’s workforce if your business is going to survive. Total Talent Management embraces the biggest change in today’s workplace – the growth in non-permanent worker categories – so that all talent decisions can be made with strategic intent.
  2. Cost-savings: there are multiple avenues where you’ll achieve significant cost savings in deploying a total talent management strategy. The first, and most obvious, is via a better operational approach to talent sourcing, engagement and management. Through standardisation of talent operations, coupled with the obvious economies-of-scale, your business will cut costs on the processes, checks and operational imperatives of engaging all categories of talent.
    1. Other sources of cost savings include better management of the talent your business needs (so engaging contingent when in the past, perhaps only permanent was considered); you’ll likely reduce your spend on staffing suppliers; and your investment in HR technology will achieve better ROI when applied to the full gamut of talent in your business.
  3. Performance: your business becomes far more agile and nimble. You can respond to market demands by accessing talent from a diversity of resources, with a strategic and well-considered mindset. No more knee-jerk workforce decision making to band-aid a business problem.
  4. Engagement: if your perm hires are pushed to the limit due to an inability to plug skills gaps, their level of engagement and productivity empirically drops. By taking a whole-of-workforce approach, you’re able to ensure minimal disruption to your worker’s day-to-day, by ensuring you have the right people – irrespective of worker category – at your disposal when you need it most.
  5. Productivity: without doubt, you’ll be able to make better workforce decisions, as your talent pool is utilised more efficiently. With a birds-eye view of both your contingent and permanent workforce, you can allocate the right talent resources, with the right business requirement, at the right time.
  6. HR becomes a strategic, not operational, function: HR will start to support the C-Suite with strategic talent decision-making. Therefore you, as a C-level business leader, can migrate to an integrated talent approach with a resourceful underpinning – your HR team.
  7. Avoid the pitfalls of a talent shortage: A PwC report from 2017, showed that 77% of global CEO’s saw the biggest threat to their business, to be the availability of key skills: particularly those skills that can’t be performed by machines. If you can’t achieve your business objectives due to a lack of talent, then a holistic view of your workforce is needed to better fill the talent gaps.

Our friends from ManpowerGroup UK said it best:

total talent management manpower quote


You may also be interested in this report, from an event we held with PwC last year.

Let us know if your business is embracing the value of a Total Talent Management strategy. We’re keen to hear your views in the comments below!