Total talent management, or TTM, is a term that is easy to throw around but tough to understand and put into practice. Your journey to TTM isn’t linear — rather, it’s an ever-evolving map, pieced together over time to create a singular workforce strategy. Our recent KellyOCG Global Workforce Agility Report 2021 found that less than half of executives — 49% — have a clear view of the optimal mix of talent needed across their business, meaning most enterprise organizations are a long way from an integrated workforce strategy.

TTM can mean different things to different people. For KellyOCG, TTM means taking a fresh approach to how you view and connect every aspect of your workforce strategy, from resourcing within an organization — including attraction, hiring, management, retention and development — to building talent communities, aligning online talent platforms and evaluating service providers. Unsurprisingly, with so many moving parts, this approach isn’t something you can implement overnight. Even when you have the building blocks of TTM in place, it requires continuous improvement and a constant grassroots effort to drive adoption and the right technology that simplifies and streamlines your TTM journey for long-term success.

I spend a lot of time discussing TTM with our clients, and have seen successful — and some unsuccessful — implementations across many different types of organizations. Based on these experiences, I’ve identified three ingredients that are essential to a productive and rewarding TTM journey: stakeholder engagement, a collaborative talent partnership, and user-friendly tech. Here’s what you need to know.

Stakeholder engagement. TTM has a significant impact on every part of a business, and it needs everyone’s support to be effective. In the early stages of TTM planning, it is vital to speak to stakeholders at all levels across an organization; understanding their talent needs, wants and pain points is crucial to future success. But engagement shouldn’t stop at the planning stage. A concerted effort to involve stakeholders throughout the TTM journey will drive adoption and make it more likely that this solution will succeed long-term.

Never underestimate change management and the relationships that business users have with their suppliers. For the greatest support from the business, the value proposition that comes with driving total talent management must include what’s in it for the suppliers too. There is no such thing as over-communicating. Communicate early and often.

A collaborative talent partnership. Choosing the right partner to explore what TTM means to your company is vital, but even the most sophisticated strategy will fail without real investment from both the provider and your wider organization. Decisions should never be made in a vacuum: an open, communicative, and honest partnership is essential to navigating the complexities and challenges of TTM. Finding a provider with whom you can collaborate well is essential to your whole TTM approach. This is not the time to gamble — this is the time to invest in the right partner with the expertise to get you where you need to be.

User-friendly tech. Technology is crucial to automating talent processes and gathering the data that will drive TTM decision-making, ultimately breaking down silos and providing complete visibility across an organization’s whole workforce. But if there is bureaucracy and cumbersome processes, adoption will be patchy, and a solution may ultimately fail. User experience is something you can’t afford to overlook, and the easier and more intuitive technology is, the more likely TTM is to be successful. We’ve developed a powerful portal that enables organizations to engage and manage all their talent in one place. Kelly Helix UX simplifies the way hiring managers access the talent they need and creates the foundation for an organization’s TTM journey.

We’re living through one of the most disruptive times in modern memory. To meet the challenges of a future workplace in flux, you have to start thinking differently about your workforce strategy. The road to total talent management can seem overwhelming and difficult. It means holding up a mirror to your organization in ways that can be challenging. But ultimately, the effort is worth it to get ahead of the curve on talent strategy and become more agile in the way you access the people and skills you need. TTM is here to stay, and the organizations that get it right will have a huge advantage over the competition.

This article is sponsored by KellyOCG. To talk with a KellyOCG expert about starting your own TTM journey, visit