Total talent isn’t a quick fix, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But executed correctly, it can break down workforce management barriers. It’s a broad evolution of workforce strategy that looks and feels different for every organization. All companies with human capital are on the total talent journey, whether they realize it or not.

Talent Strategy Equals Business Strategy

To differentiate an organization from its competition, it’s about more than just the products, services or go-to-market strategy. It’s about how well they can achieve peak efficiency and effectiveness by sourcing and deploying the right blend of talent.

If an organization doesn’t have the right quality and amount of talent, it can directly impact its speed to market, ability to quickly respond to new customer requirements and bottom-line growth.

In my experience, organizations of all sizes need to properly design their talent strategy around their business strategy. According to McLean & Co., 43% of organizations have a talent strategy that plays a key role in the broader organizational strategy compared to only 34% three years ago.

A workforce strategy should simplify the complex talent landscape and deliver candidates at the right time and right price. Traditional workforce planning focuses solely on visibility, control and savings. While clearly important, these are just the starting points of a much more significant objective, which is to ensure organizations achieve their business goals through their talent strategy.

Another critical piece is a talent tech strategy that provides clear visibility and metrics for all types of current and future workers. Surprisingly, our KellyOCG Global Workforce Report 2022, Re:work, found that just 40% of organizations have adopted data analytics tools that capture key workforce metrics. There is a huge opportunity to accelerate the digitalization of HR and talent processes to gain an advantage on the total talent journey. Leveraging new technologies to transform the talent management process can improve diversity in the workplace, enhance the employee experience, attract and retain employees, increase staff engagement, drive productivity and so much more.

What does all this mean in practice? It’s a question I hear often during client conversations.

Navigating the Total Talent journey

Organizations are hesitant to adopt total talent because it’s an overused industry buzzword that is vague in meaning.

The road to total talent takes time, purposeful execution and a layered approach to critically assess all pieces of an organization’s talent strategy. A realistic approach is to first gain an understanding of an organization’s current workforce and apply market insights to determine the right talent mix needed to support the business.

Every organization is on its own total talent journey and at different milestones. One organization may be focused on building a regional or global managed services program for contingent talent while another organization may be assessing the technology behind its talent management, like KellyOCG Helix UX, which enables users to engage and manage all of their talent in one place. With a strong talent tech strategy, organizations will have enterprisewide visibility through market-leading analytics and insights for future workforce planning.

No total talent journey is the same. It’s not a single solution that can be implemented, copied and pasted. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy, and each organization’s approach is unique. An experienced workforce solutions partner can play a critical role in designing, executing and supporting your talent strategy. The right partner can provide a deeper understanding of the best talent suppliers and how to engage them more effectively and identify underperforming suppliers.

Business requirements are constantly changing, and an organization’s talent strategy should adapt to meet these unique demands. A well-thought-out and well-executed talent strategy will give organizations a competitive advantage in the ongoing search for qualified talent.

I’m excited to continue this conversation on total talent at the CWS Summit North America. Joining me on stage for a panel discussion, Is Anyone Doing Total Talent?, will be Erin Bruggeman, global sourcing lead – contingent labor, Cargill; Allen Chilson, talent acquisition leader, vendor management, Danaher; and Gabrielle Durand, EWM manager, John Deere. Come see us on Monday, Sept. 19 at 3:45-4:30 p.m. CDT.

To find out how KellyOCG’s expertise can help your organization figure out where to begin and what steps to take on the winding path to total talent, contact Genine Wilson at