Traditional approaches to work and managing the modern workforce are becoming less impactful and will eventually become obsolete. Today’s global market feeds on agility, flexibility, and innovation; enterprise programs related to workforce management must be transformed in order to keep pace with the talent evolution. Total workforce management represents the next wave of progression in the world of work, building on the paths tread by a growing contingent workforce and increasingly-blended makeup of enterprise skillsets. From total talent visibility to enhanced workforce intelligence, the multifaceted impact of total workforce management, which includes agile reactions to new skillset-based needs, is a powerful concept that will soon represent the future of business talent.

The real complexities within any total workforce management (TWM) strategy lie within its “layers”; that is, the several key facets that link not only the acquisition, engagement, and management of all talent, but also how that talent is reconciled and the means in which key data and insights are collected for executive-level planning, budgeting, and forecasting. The rudimentary confusion around total workforce management is that it is simply a fancy means for acquiring all talent under the same program by utilizing centralized processes. However, the TWM ideology traverses this simple notion: total workforce management is, essentially, a truly holistic program that marries critical talent-related attributes and processes into a single function…and that, in itself, is more than just total talent acquisition (TTA). TTA is one of several layers in the Total Workforce Management Operating Model that must be considered when building this type of cross-functional program. The acquisition of all talent, including via traditional recruitment means, social recruiting, staffing suppliers, online talent platforms, etc., must be centralized for a truly successful total workforce management program.

Organizations, to effectively spark total talent acquisition within the TWM Operating Model, must begin by centralizing needs, requirements, and skillsets, and their ultimate alignment. One of the most heralded features of modern talent acquisition or contingent workforce technology is its ability to “match” an existing project or initiative’s requirements with the current skills available in a given talent pool. Leveraging solution-specific algorithms, this capability can be incredibly powerful when applied to all talent from a strategy-led perspective. To effectively support the “real-time” in on-demand talent decisions, relevant projects and their needs/requirements must be centralized within the TWM program to allow for talent-matching.

Subsequently, the phrase “total talent management” has often been utilized in recent years to describe the actual components of TWM, adding confusion to the already-complex glut of terminology within the talent management lexicon. However, total talent management is merely the other side of the coin in relation to total talent acquisition. Once talent is centrally acquired or engaged (via TTA, no matter the source), how it is managed falls under the other slices of the total workforce management operating model. This aspect of the greater TWM Operating Model (contained within the core HCM and procurement capabilities/attributes) follows competencies related to how talent is integrated and aligned with company culture, how it is trained and led by business leaders, and, ultimately, how it sets up the greater organization for success in achieving core goals and objectives.

What is also particularly interesting about the Total Workforce Management Operating Model and the total talent acquisition phase is this: beyond the main elements of the program lies perhaps the most critical of cyclical attributes: a continually updated and real-time network of talent, spanning from preferred staffing suppliers and known talent, like freelancers and independent contractors, to internal talent (i.e. FTEs), professional services, and other forms of on-demand work.

Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in learning more about the progressive workforce model discussed in today’s article, download our latest report, The Modern Guide to Total Workforce Management, by clicking here, here, or here.


The Path to Total Workforce Management, Part I: Total Talent Intelligence

Total Workforce Management’s Place in the New World of Work

The Short-Term Future of Talent

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