Conversation on Total Talent Management with Ardent Partners

Christopher Dwyer, Vice President of Research at Ardent Partners, invited Erika Novak, Head of Client Services at Utmost, to his podcast, “Contingent Workforce Weekly” to discuss the evolving world of work, the viability of total workforce management, and how the Utmost platform promotes total talent visibility.

Below are a few of the key insights from that conversation. Or you can listen to the full podcast on CPO Rising.

Total Talent Acquisition vs. Total Talent Management

Total talent acquisition is using a staffing firm to source both your contractors and your employees. It’s a relatively old-school concept that emerged around the same time as vendor management systems did in the late ‘90s. Rebranding that as total talent management is a bit of a misnomer.

The goal of a total talent management solution is full visibility into your entire workforce. Knowing who the workers are, what they are doing, where they are, and at what cost. Once you understand this information you can make strategic decisions about your workforce and if your current strategy is the right one.

Visibility into your Total Workforce is Necessary for Planning

For the HR leader, the main benefits to total talent management are acquiring the right skillsets and identifying skill gaps. Some professions such as Python developers are less interested in being full-time employees and may be more interested in contract roles where they can complete a project and move onto the next gig.

A normal part of workforce planning is knowing the skills you have, where they are located, and how much you are paying for it. That’s how you understand and track different cost centers. But if you’re not tracking your contingent workforce, which can be a third of your entire workforce, then you’re missing out on a large portion of your data. Without that data, it will be difficult for an HR leader to make strategic decisions about their workforce.

Beyond these benefits is overall efficiency and productivity for a business. Without a full view of your workforce, you may have redundant spend or you’re not fully evaluating all your options for a project. An employee is a long-term commitment when you may only need a short-term supply from a staffing agency or a time-limited contract with a freelancer. You can more quickly hire a freelancer than an employee, but it is hard to make that decision if you don’t have any data to evaluate options.

Total Talent Management is Achievable

Part of why total talent management can seem difficult at first is because the data is typically split into different systems and the way we source the workers is different. Employees are in your human capital management systems like Workday and non-employee workers are in a VMS or spreadsheet. Similarly, employees are sourced by on-staff recruiters or RPO firms while contingent workers are sourced through staffing firms or other third-party service providers.

Another difficulty is that some vendors can be very aggressive in how they sell the approach. But you can ignore some of the vendors and just start with baby steps in building out your total talent management program.


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