Editor’s Note: The Contingent Workforce Weekly podcast returns from its brief winter hiatus next week with an all-new listener mailbag edition. Next week’s episode will tackle topics such as total workforce management (the focus of today’s article), the “gig economy,” procurement’s role in the “future of work,” and much more. Catch up on past episodes here.

It is no secret that the “future of work” and its impact are transforming all facets of contingent workforce management (CWM), from talent engagement to talent alignment, ultimate workforce management to spend and supplier management, and everything in-between. Exactly how CWM programs are structured today is dependent on an enterprise’s ability to balance non-employee workforce management attributes to effectively drive intelligence, engage/source top-tier talent (from a variety of global, on-demand sources), monitor and control talent and the projects they are linked to, and ultimately adhere to financial and budgetary conditions. And, as procurement and HR/human capital management lead with their respective strengths in managing the contingent workforce, the very truth is that a collaboration union would be incredibly powerful.

Today’s talent economy can be explained in one phrase: on-demand talent. The business world can now benefit from the real-time nature of finding and engaging talent through self-sourcing, with online talent platforms, business and social networks, automated talent pools, etc., formulating a new spectrum of skillsets from which enterprises can find the workers they need in an on-demand fashion. This disruption now requires a next-generation strategy that is capable of not only leverages procurement and HR collaboration, but maximizes its impact for the good of the greater organization.

While procurement and HR collaboration has several key by-products, there is no higher benefit to these two units working together than achieving total workforce management. Total workforce management, defined by Ardent as the formalized, centralized, and standardized acquisition and management of all types of enterprise talent (both traditional and non-employee) under a single banner program that relies on linked procurement-human resources capabilities and integrated CWM and human capital management technology. Total workforce management has become an enigmatic concept within the contingent workforce industry, with no clear set of guidelines, long-term use cases, or ultimate success stories.

Total workforce management involves a linked series of processes, capabilities, and technologies on three distinct fronts (CWM, procurement, and HR) and combines them to form a powerful program that is capable of engaging, acquiring/sourcing, and ultimately managing any type of talent (both traditional and non-employee). From the human capital perspective, this makes sense in a simplified manner: all talent that comes into (and out of) the organization passes through a centralized program from maximum visibility and impact. For procurement, this does not just mean that non-employee labor is managed by the “best of both worlds,” it translates into an organizational ability to fully-control (from a compliance perspective) and maximize the investments made into the contingent workforce. TWM, at its core, drives three major benefits for the businesses that undertake this complex initiative:

  • Intelligence-led, agile decision-making when a talent-based need arises
  • Seamless, holistic processes for managing all types of talent, no matter the source
  • The totality of true enterprise talent data and intelligence

In 2017, with businesses increasingly relying on non-employee talent and on-demand labor, “blending” that talent into the greater enterprise workforce will become ever important. 2017 is the year for total workforce management as the modern business seeks to achieve true business agility through its purest competitive differentiator: talent.


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