Is Total Talent Management (TTM) just another business buzz-term, or is there something in it? We dig deeper in this article by highlighting some of the more compelling reasons why TTM is something you should take seriously as a talent leader.

The alternative workforce: It’s now mainstream

You wouldn’t need a Total Talent approach if the only way to get jobs done was to hire someone on a full-time contract to do it. But that’s not the case today. There are many ways to contract work – by the hour, by the task, by the project, by the job, etc. – and so sourcing becomes more complex and the choices and options greater. For every resourcing need, bosses need to consider the best way of getting the job done. It’s about making the right choices.

Making the right choices, having all options on the table

When leaders are considering how to get a job done – be it technology, outsourcing, a full-time hire, a gig worker task or a freelancer – it’s problematic to do this well when some requests appear on the IT ‘wish list’, others come through to HR and another set filter down to procurement.

Appreciating your ‘total talent’ potential 

There’s value in knowing what talent is at your disposal in your total workforce – look at the rise in up-skilling software, for example. This is driven by corporations wanting to get the most out of the talent they already have. When a new requirement comes open, the immediate response is to source externally in most cases, which is the most expensive option – total talent management creates a shift that pushes an organization to look at what you already have, a complete view of all of your talent at a resource – what’s at your disposal now.

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Making diversity inclusive to all the people in your workforce

The rights of contingent workers are often overlooked in diversity and inclusion strategies because individuals have another employer. While that’s the case, organizations should feel some sense of responsibility that any individual that does work on behalf of their business is being treated fairly. At the very least, organizations should strive to ensure that indirect staffing partners and hiring portal providers mirror their diversity policies. If Diversity and Inclusion is an initiative at your company, total talent management is the starting point to understanding, truly, the diverse makeup of your company workforce. Only with a complete, inclusive view of your talent population, can you begin to see gaps – and act on them. With the right data, you can use your total talent view to make better decisions on how to act on your diversity and inclusion strategy.

Making your money go further, wasting less of it

Talent is an asset – whether organizations want to admit it or not, they are likely losing money at the talent game. Total talent management is a way to get your arms around your total spend, and create strategies for cost savings, competitive pay (to reduce turnover), and less expensive or alternative sourcing strategies. 

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Many companies are doing this with their contingent workforce already, including all sources of talent in their MSP or contingent workforce program, including freelance, gig, project based consultants acquired through statement of work, and traditional staff aug workers. Best in class companies see this as a first step to getting their organization ready for a total talent management strategy, and they’re right. 

What we think

Thinking of TTM as one big step to something new can be too much of an unknown to bite into. Breaking down Total Talent Management into its constituent parts and agreeing with stakeholders ‘what good likes like’ is a good way to kick-off any internal program to consider smarter ways of managing talent. 

Another way of thinking about TTM is ‘What if you don’t do it?’ In our experience, organizations that continue to operate a fragmented talent sourcing approach suffer from these symptoms:

·      Increased operating costs- Many of the essential recruitment processes common to both direct and indirect workforce are likely to be operating in parallel with some managed by procurement, others by HR.

·      Increased staffing costs- Bosses lack a clear view of the rates they are paying or the total cost of running their talent program owing to a lack of transparency.

·      Reduced talent choice- Indirect workers aren’t all low skilled. Some of the best and brightest people CHOOSE to work as freelancers rather than be employed by one organization.

·      Slower fill-rates- Generally, organizations can fill vacancies faster with flexible workers than full-time hires. 


The gut message? Your organization needs ONE strategy for talent – a Total Talent Management strategy.