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Total talent management: A strategic labour procurement approach

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by Siju P. S , Analyst – Category specialisation: HR Services
1 January 2017


Talent managers and labour suppliers have been under constant pressure to evolve and save on costs, as labour expenses are an inevitable component in any field. This whitepaper discusses opportunities to adopt an alternate sourcing practice to increase spending visibility and to achieve volume discounts. Total talent management is an upcoming approach used by organisations to broaden the workforce management perspective to supervise both employed and nonemployed labour under a single umbrella. Talent management has often been a grey area for procurement managers across large organisations since the sourcing and management of the workforce have become highly decentralised, and decisions are made by line managers with approval from HR teams at the business unit level. Having a unified solution to source both a temporary and permanent workforce, along with sourcing software and workforce management platforms, will provide category managers and procurement teams with greater visibility on spending patterns in the relevant category. Although total talent management is still in its early stages with respect to implementation for most organisations, this trend seems like it will remain, considering the evolution in workforce management across industries and increasing pressure to cut down costs. This article provides an overview of opportunities to consolidate MSP and RPO, the benefits of doing so and the steps required to successfully execute total talent management.


In total talent management, an employer considers overall talent when it comes to acquisition or management. Total talent includes the full range of sources of talent—both human and automated/robotic. The human side includes employees; independent contractors; temporary, part-time, seasonal, offshore and SOW workers; professional services; and outsourced services or freelancers. The automated/robotic side encompasses aspects such as robots, bots, software and automation in manufacturing plants. Simply put, total talent management allows organisations to think about talent from a broader angle in order to incorporate both employed and nonemployed labour. Now, the question that arises is ‘Why is such a model needed’? To answer this, we have to look at the changing labour market across the world. The shift in working models is proving to be a challenge for companies to scout and hire the right talent. More than 40 percent of the international workforce is made up of the gig economy, which includes freelancers, temporary workers and contractors. This transformation in the working model impacts organisations’ talent acquisition strategies. Businesses can no longer rely on traditional hiring methods and engage with full-time employees only. To hire the best talent in the industry amid a growing skills shortage, it has become necessary to implement new hiring processes that encompass nonpermanent workers as well.

Drivers for total talent management:

There are a number of reasons why total talent management is gaining momentum among organisations. The idea is still in its early stages, but the future of procurement lies within it. Some key drivers to promote total talent management include:

• Economic uncertainty

• Skills shortage

• Supply chain/cost pressures

• Changing employment legislation

• Globalisation

• Gaps in productivity levels

• Innovations in technology

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