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Total Workforce Management’s Place in the New World of Work

Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in learning more about the progressive workforce model discussed in today’s article, download our latest report, The Modern Guide to Total Workforce Management, by clicking here, here, or here.

Any executive that takes a short peek outside of their business will notice something astounding: founded on innovative talent engagement methods, the world of work has evolved in just a short period of time. New demand for talent, along with the fading of archaic recruitment strategies and rise of real-time talent engagement, have revolutionized nearly every facet of work within the modern business:

  • Jobseeker behavior, now more than ever, is changing to reflect the desire for a more flexible lifestyle that promotes entrepreneurship.
  • Online talent platforms, labor automation systems, and digital staffing outlets (as well as social networks) have transformed how talent is found and engaged.
  • Everything, from data and intelligence to process delivery, is expected on-demand within the average business…and talent engagement is following suit.
  • Mobility and mobile applications are taking their cue from the consumer world and expanding into the business realm.
  • Skillsets and expertise (and their alignment with enterprise projects), not costs or budgets, have become the top requirements for new talent.
  • Management of an increasingly strategic element of business (the contingent workforce) has had to evolve such that the “great divide” between organizational functions like procurement and human resources/human capital management is starting to fade. More and more businesses understand that all talent, regardless of its source, must be managed under a standardized and centralized program that promotes visibility, skillset alignment, adherence to budget, real-time engagement, and an open network that can be tapped for talent in an on-demand manner.

The above attributes of the new world of work are magnified by a simple fact: the non-employee workforce shows no signs of slowing down in the coming years. Ardent Partners has, for the last four years, predicted that, by 2020, between 45%-to-50% of the world’s total workforce will be classified as non-employee, which includes freelancers, independent contractors, professional services (and consultants), temporary workers sourced via staffing agencies/suppliers, “gig” workers, and robotics. The time is now to bridge the gap between traditional and non-traditional talent management and truly define the means by which all workers can be managed under the same standardized and centralized program.

Total Workforce Management: The Time is…Now

Many of today’s business functions are either built on a foundation of holistic and seamless processes, or the desire to reach a similar state knowing the core benefits of such a model. It would only make sense, then, for the world of talent to follow suit. The very simple argument for building or developing a total workforce management (TWM) program (defined by Ardent as the standardized and centralized program for engaging, acquiring, sourcing, and managing all types of talent via linked procurement and human capital processes, integrated contingent workforce management and human capital management systems, and utilization of total talent intelligence) that can be stripped down to a primary advantage: the contemporary talent supply chain is diverse, multifaceted, and spread across numerous sources (both legacy and fresh). Thus, the businesses that can effectively find, engage, source, and ultimately manage this talent under a centralized program will be rewarded with the visibility to execute far superior business decisions in a real-time manner. Relative to the adoption and implementation of TWM programs, it is no wonder that while only 16% of organizations have this type of program in place today, a majority (58%) expect to make total workforce management a reality within the next two years.

The crux of any total workforce management is deep and complex. The underlying structure of such an initiative is usually wrought with functional, technological (i.e. integration), cultural, and strategic shifts, all of which contribute to a development plan that is near impossible to implement within a short time span. Unlike larger, better “known” initiatives related to talent acquisition or even contingent workforce management (CWM), TWM is a new area, and industry-wide standard practices have not yet been fully-developed. Thus, many organizations are unsure of where to start and which functions to engage. Sixteen percent (16%) of businesses today have some form of a total workforce management program in place (9% in place for several years, 7% only just within the past 12 months), but the real value in this set of findings is not found in looking at the “haves” within today’s marketplace…it is knowing that many of the “have nots” do have something that proves that TWM’s place in workforce, labor, and talent management history is now: a desire to implement this forward-thinking concept sooner rather than later.

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