Staffing Industry Analysts is beginning to see CW Council members shift from purely procurement-led programs to those that are either managed directly by HR and talent teams or a cross-functional HR and procurement group — and that emergence is starting to drive some interesting projects and programs that move toward total talent strategies.

“Whereas previously organizations may have had conversations about talent and about contingent workforce versus permanent workforce, we’re starting to see co-located program teams where they’re actually working together to drive those total talent and total workforce outcomes,” said Jo  Matkin, Staffing Industry Analysts’ global workforce solutions research director.

SIA’s Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey noted some tactical advances toward total talent outcomes. It found that within the next two years, 56% of buyers plan to explore a total talent acquisition strategy and 57% of buyers plan to incorporate contingent workforce into strategic planning.

“My challenge there would be, why aren’t you doing that already?” Matkin says. The contingent workforce should be a part of strategic planning, she says. “It’s a really important part of the workforce, particularly as it now represents an average of 22% of that workforce.”

The Shift. Traditionally, HR and talent acquisition teams, and the channels through which they operate, would engage with separate groups of talent rather than the procurement department. Responsibility for all types of traditional employees — including recent graduates, alumni, apprentices and interns, silver medalists and temp-to-perm — would fall to HR and the talent acquisition group.

At the same time, it’s been procurement and its channels — most traditionally MSPs and the supply chain — that have been responsible for securing contingent talent, including freelancers, independent contractors and, more recently, outsourced services and statement-of-work consultants through professional services arrangements.

It was two silos.

The two silos may have converged slightly when a contingent worker would convert to a traditional employee role; however, while the responsibility for that worker would also shift to the HR department, the transaction was still not necessarily evaluated in a holistic fashion.

But workers now have more options, which renders the silo approach less effective.

Multi-channel approach. Today’s independent contractor or freelancer could be tomorrow’s online worker, says Matkin.  They may go from being engaged via a staffing firm to providing their services through an online platform. Workers, particularly those in the contingent space, increasingly are considering how they can work flexibly, whether that be from a time perspective or from a location perspective. And they may choose to be “running multiple gates with multiple different organizations,” says Matkin.

They’re still the same person, though, so CW programs should consider them from a talent perspective rather than the channels that they come through., Matkin advises.

Be careful how you manage those types of relationships.

For CW programs, thinking about how they can get the work done brings them into alignment with how these workers are thinking and how they can provide the work, “which is much more than just considering being employed in a traditional linear one-to-one relationship,” Matkin says.

CWS Council members seeking a detailed examination of the strategies being deployed by more advanced practitioners of total talent, as well as further insight on the critical barriers to success, can also download the report, “Toward a Total Talent Future,” commissioned by Alexander Mann Solutions. Non-CWS Council members register to download the report on SIA’s website.

This article is based on the SIA workforce solutions webinar, “Start Your Journey on the Total Talent Continuum.” The webinar replay is available online to CWS Council members.