The New (Collective) Talent Strategy

It's time to end talent management strategies that are siloed between departments. Different teams need to come together with their unique perspectives to arrive at the ultimate business goal.

Gone is the day where we simply hire employees to do all things.

Gone is the day where we don’t strategically align supplier work with our employee’s work.

Gone will be the day where our internal team’s goals don’t intersect.

In the new world of work, Human Resources, Talent Acquisition, Strategic Sourcing, and Finance will be working closely together – aligning on talent strategy, gaps, sourcing channels, performance and cost. Tools will better enable transparency and collaboration among its corporate family members.

Talent Strategy will be a collective effort, not a siloed one. Talent Acquisition Managers, HR Business Partners, Finance, Contingent Workforce, and Strategic Sourcing teams will be working together to ensure their key Business groups understand and articulate the work wanted to be done, the work currently being worked on, their goals, the gaps, and the best sourcing channels to meet their goals.

Discussions will consider the following:

  • Work: role vs. project type and required necessity of skill; core vs. non-core
  • Speed: time-to-fill, time-to-contract, time-to-productivity, leveraging known relationships
  • Cost: expected tenure of salary + benefits or rate, or pay rate + mark-up or deliverable and milestones
  • Worker Engagement: classification preference or mandates, talent motivation, and talent communication
  • Team Management: management enablement, collaboration and training
  • Quality: how to define, measure, track and share quality of work, onboarding
  • Risk: transfer and documentation of IP, competitive alternatives, potential delays, required compliance

This new Collective Talent Strategy will produce more efficient and sophisticated outcomes. Operational teams will enable mature processes around talent sourcing, engagement and management activities. Managers will be able to make better data-driven business decisions and broaden their choices from a lone single note to a full orchestra of options.

Cross-functional Collaboration & Goal Setting

Cross-functional goals will give teams the necessary priorities in which to make decisions. Instead of siloed goals - Talent Acquisition caring only about employees, HR caring about worker experience, CW for contractors and compliance, Finance for cost, Sourcing for price and contract obligations, and the Business for productivity and cultural fit - there will be shared expectations and partnerships in order to influence better decisions.

No longer will only one reason be the deciding factor, it will be a complementary consideration alongside its brothers. Teams will work together to help advise the business using a full workforce perspective. Trust will be built among teams when concerns are understood and respected among their peers. Goals will be understood by all and worked towards collectively.

Agreements for these teams to meet at least twice a year as a collective group to discuss talent pipeline, projects in play, skills needed, and prioritized deliverables will keep all parties aware of Business happenings and of each team's role in driving success.

Augmented Talent Sourcing Channels

The world is a big place and there are many new ways to find and attract talent. Managers that understand their different sourcing options and trade-offs will make better choices on how they get work done. With the collective intelligence and guidance of HR, Talent Acquisition, Strategic Sourcing, and Finance, sourcing considerations and best paths will become clear.

Understanding how to more effectively fill or augment skill gaps allows teams to scale, prioritize and be nimble. Different sourcing channels will have different benefits to consider. Understanding the total addressable market (TAM) of a desired skill set is key in understanding how to best attract and engage them.

One of the most growing differences is the talent’s engagement preference; some may not want to be an employee. How do you still attract the skill set to complete the work? The skill sets you want may come in the form of a consulting team or a contractor instead of an employee. Or if time is a factor and it typically takes 6 months to recruit an employee, it might be more efficient to hire a known specialized supplier first. Managers who understand their sourcing trade-offs will make better informed talent decisions.

Operational Efficiencies for Managers

Instead of separate workflows, managers will experience consolidated processes that effectively help them navigate talent nuances. Instead of being passed around from one group to another, work will centralize to teams that understand both sides and lead the manager to the best channel.

No longer will there be one onboarding team for employees and another one for non-employees; one req form for this and four others for that. Workflows will be created with efficiency and manager experience in mind. Fear of co-employment will not drive ineffective operations.

Better, Tangible Manager Training

People Management is a core principle within teams. Today, training is primarily based on giving employee performance reviews, having difficult discussions and on compliance related issues.

However, very little training is done on supplier management. If any training on contingent workforce is available, it’s usually in the form of “don’t treat them like employees” rather than the more needed “How to effectively manage standards, deliverables and goals across your total workforce? Among large organizations, there is rarely any training on how to use your budget, monitor supplier projects, or more tactically, how to write a good Statement-of-Work (SOW). One of the largest training gaps is how teams should work with an outsourced provider and manage their KPIs.

The gaps come from no single team owning the full workforce lifecycle of suppliers. With the new way of work, collective education and guidance will enable managers to be more effective in managing their workforce. Core talent management principles and tactical training will give perspective on how best to collectively find, engage and produce with both employees and non-employees.

Greater Insights and Understanding of the Total Workforce

With cross-functional teams working together, pulling data together to look at the larger picture will become normalized. Shared data, metrics and goals will allow companies to better understand how work is actually getting done and whether it’s going well or not. Work tracked in a manner where all data attributes are considered, will tell the better story.

One place where all teams see the same set of data helps to bring trust, one set of facts and a collective sense of ownership to data integrity. Being able to see how employees, contractors and suppliers are working together – productively and cost effectively – will enable the business to understand what’s working right and what should change.

Actual Workforce Planning

And from all this – the transparency, the collective collaboration, the data and the efficiency - actual planning may take place.

We can understand how time-to-fill affects productivity, we can see which talent delivers better results, we can see who are partners and who are employees, and we can see when and why we needed various workers.

We can then say “let’s do it again” or “let’s make a change”. We can consider whether this will require more of the same or different, both in the short-term and in the long. We can make predictions, shift resources and find ways to do it better, faster, and with more value.

Progressive HR Business Partners

The HR Business Partner scope will soon widen to encompass elements of all talent sourcing potentials. As they sit with the businesses they support, they’ll be able to pull perspective from their cross-functional partners to help teams forecast, plan, and strategize about how to best accomplish their goals.

With a more modern perspective of the way talent can be engaged, new ideas and thought leadership can be easily shared. If they need deeper level experts, they’ll know who to pull into the conversation, much like they already do with Compensation, Benefits, Learning & Development & HRIT.


There is a shift coming. A paradigm. The current siloed ways we are working today will be a thing that once was: a relic of how older companies once worked. Siloed and bordered. Redundant and confusing processes. A collective talent strategy will bring teams closer together with aligned business goals and arm their colleagues with broader perspectives and real data to drive decisions.

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