Many businesses have mixed emotions regarding the growth and evolution of the contingent workforce management (CWM) industry. With its rampant growth, growing complexities, and the wealth of technologies and solutions available to the modern enterprise, it can sometimes be a bit frightening to not only think of the multifaceted approach required to manage non-employee workers effectively, but also the fact that, within the next few years, nearly half of the total workforce will be comprised of independent talent.

Growing to this apprehension is the recent attention around the concept of “total workforce management” or “total talent management,” an idyllic approach that is defined as the centralized management of all enterprise talent, no matter the source, under a single umbrella of capabilities, processes, and integrated systems. As the total workforce becomes more and more “blended,” with traditional full-time equivalents (FTEs) working hand-in-hand with non-employee workers, TWM/TTM will not be a “nice-to-have” program…it will be a required strategy for an organization that craves visibility and more intelligent, talent-based decision-making.

Here are five things that every company should know about TWM/TTM:

  1. Total talent acquisition, then total talent management. Companies must first understand the totality of their talent acquisition efforts before transforming the general contingent workforce program into a total talent management initiative. Talent is engaged and sourced via so many methods today, from online platforms, marketplaces, social media, referrals, alumni, etc., that any total talent program must first be calibrated and designed to understand those sources. Only then can all talent be managed in a more visible and controlled manner under the “total workforce management” umbrella.
  2. Visibility is and will always be paramount. The main benefit of any TWM/TTM program? Simple: visibility. The State of Contingent Workforce Management research report (available here for download) highlighted the reasons why, in the very near future, a total workforce approach will be beneficial. The ability to execute on more educated and informed talent-based decisions (i.e., aligning critical projects with the best-fit talent, regardless of the source) is by far the main advantage of total workforce management.
  3. Procurement professionals must become more versed in the world of human capital, including HR software and systems. The functional caveat to any total workforce management program is the coordination between the two major groups that typically hold the responsibility for managing non-employee labor: procurement and HR. Therefore, it only benefits the total program if procurement truly understand the goals, intentions, and reach of the human resources group. As such, procurement execs that are comfortable with Vendor Management System (VMS) technology should also become versed in human capital technology that can easily integrate into contingent workforce systems, such as Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), talent acquisition and management, HRIS, screening, etc.
  4. …and, the same insight is applicable to the HR function. Procurement and HR speak completely different languages (and that is completely understandable). Procurement is focused on cost savings, supplier performance, and overall spend visibility. HR focuses on talent management, workforce management, and the overall alignment of talent with enterprise needs and requirements. Procurement and HR must fully understand each other’s goals, capabilities, competencies, and expertise in order to build an effective total workforce management program. At the end of the day, the ability to engage, acquire, and manage all talent, both traditional and non-traditional, under the same program is an idyllic scenario that should push both of these groups to work together in a collaborative manner.
  5. Something grand is being built, so “overnight” will never be the timeframe. There will be excitement for total workforce management, as businesses begin to see a more complex blending of their total workforce. With non-employee talent about to comprise 50% of all labor in just a few years, it is critical for enterprises to understand the benefits of total workforce management. As such, the timeframe for total talent development will never be as quick as some businesses may hope; when a company must integrate key CWM, HR, and procurement systems, understand current talent acquisition capabilities and how they can be applied for both FTEs and contingent labor, and formulate a global plan for managing all talent (no matter the source), the timeframe should be measured in months, not days. However, the “grand” vision of total workforce management is well worth the time and the effort…especially considering just how blended the total workforce is becoming.

Post Script: Join Christopher J. Dwyer at CPO Rising 2016 and hear it from the man himself on the importance of taking a holistic view of your workforce in 2016 and beyond. Don’t delay – early bird registration ends soon. Register here and now!


Video Invitation to CPO Rising 2016 – The Procurement Event of 2016!

The Disruption of Talent Engagement, Part II: Disruptive Technologies, Next-Gen Solutions

The Disruption of Talent Engagement, Part I: Procurement’s New Role in CWM

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