If a Total Talent Management (TTM) strategy is so effective to reduce hiring costs and maximize fill rates, why aren’t more companies adopting a TTM approach?


What is Total Talent Management?


Total Talent Management (TTM) is a human capital management strategy to satisfy enterprise workforce demands by embracing both full-time employees and gig working in its various forms. The main contractual constructs found in TTM strategies include:


  • Full-time Employment (FTE) Contracts
  • Contractor Procurement – Normally procured through indirect procurements via staffing agencies
  • Project Outsourcing Purchase Orders – Sometimes called ‘Outsourcing’
  • Statement-of-Work (SOW) Contracts – The provisioning of work against agreed milestones stipulated in a contract
  •  Micro-Task (or Micro Job) Contracts – The fulfilment of tasks by gig workers, normally via an online task portal


While organizations continue to operate in the shadows of the global pandemic, there appears to be appetite to rethink organizational flexibility and talent sourcing. 


The latest Mercer Global Talent Survey (2020) reports that 98% of executives plan to redesign their organizations to make them fit for tomorrow.


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The number of companies adopting TTM is growing but is still relatively low. 


The last major report to consider adoption of TTM took place in 2017 and was conducted by ManpowerGroup. The survey revealed that 89 percent of HR leaders recognized the value of taking a more holistic view of their workforce, but just 44 percent had started to adopt such an approach.


It begs the question – if the desire to change exists, and the case for ‘a smarter way to source and manage talent’ is so compelling – why aren’t more companies adopting TTM? In this article, we point to some of the reasons we’re seeing in the market.


Why aren’t more organizations adopting TTM today?


1. Too busy doing stuff, to do better things


There are a lot of other things on HR’s plate right now, COVID, rising unemployment, the rise of remote work, etc. Many HR and procurement teams are presently maxed out, coping with the short-term crisis of COVID-19. Sometimes, the management resources don’t stretch far enough to release time for improvements to existing systems and methods.


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2. Too many influencers, not enough leaders


The impact and influence of Total Talent Management stretches across the enterprise from the boardroom across all departments. With key stakeholders including Finance, HR, IT and Procurement, sometimes it’s difficult for management to agree ‘whose project is it anyway.’ Even when a project is framed up, and a project leader determined, gaining the cross-department cooperation needed to make TTM projects work can be challenging. It’s easy for TTM programs to filter due to an unwillingness of departments to relinquish their control over resources and responsibilities they once owned. This is why it’s so important for strong senior management leadership to exist, underpinned by a determination to do something different.


Some practitioners argue that Total Talent Management can be one digital transformation too many while operating silos thrive in an enterprise, and the first job organizations need to get right is to remove the power and influence of departmental silos on talent decision making.


A recent IDC report found that: Seventy percent of siloed digital transformation initiatives will ultimately fail due to insufficient collaboration, integration, sourcing or project management.


3. Concerns about the risks of technology implementations


The poor track record of enterprise IT project implementations and it ability to ‘just work’ is enough to cause any department leader to think twice about volunteering to lead a project with a high IT element to it. Department leaders may have concerns they’re going to be landed with having their name attached to an IT project with high-risk of failure. And we’d agree, the technology that would be required to have all HR and Procurement systems able to talk to each other and promote the total visibility required for this methodology to work, doesn’t quite exist yet. But it’s getting there. Project champions should find a good partner to work with who can guide them through the adoption process and offer sound advice on tech choices.


What we think


Moving to a TTM approach doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision. There are steps every business can make to prepare the ground. For example, a total talent strategy can begin with your contingent workforce, the second largest workforce for most organizations. Getting that house in order ‘first’ will allow for a more streamlined launch when the ability to view all talent across all platforms exists.


An MSP with a total talent approach will help you capture all of your contingent workforce to start, regardless of how the workers are classified or where they’re sourced. Many best-in-class organizations have already started managing statement of work in their MSP, a great first step to this method, etc.


This takes time, but it’s worth it.