Much has been written about the emergence of a blended workforce management solution that will leverage the integration of solutions such as MSP (managed service provider), RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) and others. This solution will integrate current sourcing processes, talent management practices, underlining technologies and program ownership to produce a unified resource.

Staffing Industry Analysts recently conducted a joint research effort with ERE Media to explore the status of total talent management and its evolution in the marketplace.  According to preliminary results released at SIA’s 2015 Executive Forum last month, about half of the respondents (both buyers and staffing suppliers) believe having a combined workforce view is “important/extremely important.” The research also confirmed organizations are using a growing number of contingent workers and classification types. Finally, a top HR priority challenge is “improving access/retention of key required skills.”

So the market may be ready to move forward with an integrated workforce management approach. But many barriers exist, according to the study, such as lack of experience and know-how, operational inconsistency, systems/data functionality and conflicting interdepartment priorities.

Despite the talk, there is limited traction in the marketplace. An HR leader from a US transportation company remarked, “I hear a lot of organizations talking about wanting to do this [total talent management], but [see] very little evidence that they are anywhere near achieving it. As such, I believe that there are no current exemplars (nor the subsequent reasons) that point to an advanced stage of maturity.”

So what might be a first, productive step toward the development of a total talent management solution approach despite the challenges?

One suggestion is to focus on the development of a total talent management (TTM) strategy versus a specific business case to implement an actual TTM solution platform. Development of a TTM strategy can create an understanding of what a TTM solution could potentially bring to the optimization of a growing divergent workforce talent in the organization. A TTM strategy can give visibility of penetration trends in contingent workforce usage and inventory the benefits, drivers and ROI of leveraging an integrated workforce management solution.

Interestingly enough, a blended workforce is emerging in many organizations, with almost a fifth of large organizations saying they are leveraging contingent worker talent in one manner or another. The only missing element in this emergence is the lack of professional, integrated management of this workforce development phenomenon.

The establishment of a TTM Strategy 1.0 can serve as a guide to implementing short-term workforce integration initiatives.

Similar to a readiness assessment methodology, here are some key questions that a TTM strategy might address:

  • Who is doing work on behalf of my company and what reputational and legal risks does that expose me to?
  • What is the real cost of these various workers and what are the optimal pay and benefits?
  • Which type of workers do I need and in what ratio in order to maximize productivity/cost-effectiveness?
  • How can I best integrate contingent and other non-employed workers with my employed workforce?
  • What training and career paths do I need to develop for workers of all types?
  • How can I motivate and engage all those doing work on behalf of my company (employed and non-employed)?
  • How can I best address skills shortages?
  • How do I create both a competitive employer and engagement brand for a blended workforce?