A Guide to Total Talent Management

A Guide to Total Talent Management

Some would argue that today’s enterprise workforces resemble their century-old counterparts, thanks to the influential forces of generational change, technology, digitalization and globalization. Yet, many organizations have remained inactive when it comes to hiring and management strategies, leaving them failing to keep up pace with these significant evolutions.  

Companies that have fallen behind in this way create strategic opportunity for other businesses that are ready to adopt the new practices encompassed by the term, “Total Talent Management” (TTM). Staffing Industry analysts describe total talent management as follows:

“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.”

According to Sarah Rickerd, author of “What is Total Talent Management?” specific implementations of total talent management within organizations vary. However, all of these arrangements allow enterprise companies to tap into the 1.45 billion mobile workers worldwide. This makes it possible to find the right talent for the project—no matter where in the world that worker is, or how they should be classified.

Risks & Rewards

One of the main concerns companies have when it comes to TTM is the issue of classification. Misclassifying workers as independent contractors or freelance workers when they should be employees (or vice versa) can lead to serious tex and employment law violations.

It’s important not to minimize or misinterpret these concerns, but it’s also unfair to allow classification questions to impede the implementation of a TTM program and deprive organizations of the significant benefits associated with the ability to utilize a full range of talent sources.

Rickerd states when talent acquisition and engagement are managed in a holistic way, enterprise companies are empowered to:

  1. Find the right talent to fill a specified need, without being restricted to a limited geographic area.
  2. Refrain from costly and time-intensive onboarding processes for full-time workers on projects that don’t require full-time coverage.
  3. Free up overhead capital and enable both organizational flexibility and competitiveness by retaining talent on a per-project basis.

Choosing whether or not to pursue a TTM approach is one that has to be considered on a case-by-case basis. For example, if your business’s talent requirements fall neatly into traditional full-time roles, or if limited innovation in your industry minimizes the risk of disruption from more nimble competitors, pursuing contingent work arrangements may not be for you.

“However, if you find yourself facing shortages of specific talents, labor pool limitations or the need for greater flexibility in project-based hiring, looking beyond standard hiring practices to tap new pools of contingent workers may be the right choice,” says Rickerd.

So you chose to pursue TTM, what’s next?

Legal liability is the first question any company must consider when pursuing a TTM approach. If you intend to retain freelancers, contractors or other non-traditional workers, it’s important that you settle your classification and compliance questions before moving forward. This can be accomplished with the help of your internal Human Resources (HR) or legal team.

With HR in mind, three considerations come to mind when engaging different types of workers: 1. access to talent, 2. technologies, 3. processes.

Understanding the benefits of accessing non-traditional labor is one thing, but actually finding qualified talent is another challenge in itself. Rickerd argues that you have a couple options to overcome this:

  1. Partner directly with individual freelancers.
  2. Contract with traditional temp agencies that specialize in different types of remote or contingent work.

If you indeed decide to work with contingent workers, you’ll need a solid technology solution. By asking yourself the following questions, you can get an idea of what the right solution is for your business:

  • How will I manage day-to-day communications with contingent workers?
  • What tools and technologies can I use to share assignments and give feedback?
  • Will any of my new workers require access to sensitive company data? If so, what documentation and systems will I need to maintain confidentiality and data security?
  • How can I use technology to facilitate positive team dynamics between workers in multiple locations (and in multiple languages)?

Rickerd suggests thinking about the way you currently engage new talent; how you communicate expectations, reporting structures, company culture and more. Consider other processes you have in place, from talent management to compensation.

Depending on the type of contingent workers you bring on, it may be appropriate to incorporate some, all or none of these processes into your new relationships. Thinking through them in advance will help you make the transition to a total talent management environment as seamless as possible.


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Elizabeth Quirk

Elizabeth Quirk

Liz is an enterprise technology writer covering Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Business Process Management (BPM) and Talent Management Suites (TMS) at Solutions Review. She attended Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where she attained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism. You can reach her at equirk@solutionsreview.com
Elizabeth Quirk

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About Elizabeth Quirk

Liz is an enterprise technology writer covering Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Business Process Management (BPM) and Talent Management Suites (TMS) at Solutions Review. She attended Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where she attained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism. You can reach her at equirk@solutionsreview.com

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