How We are Doing Total Talent Management Wrong (And How We Can Do It Right)

Posted: 12/10/2019 - 09:33
If you attended events like CWS this year, you could not help but be involved in discussions and breakout sessions dealing with Total Talent Management (TTM). What started as a simple idea that could revolutionize the staffing landscape, has progressed into complicated programs and expensive "add-on" solutions being offered by some Managed Staffing Providers (MSP). 
As ideas and components of the program have evolved, from self-sourcing, to direct sourcing, to contingent Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), it has become abundantly clear that there's a better way to approach the topic. So, let’s break down Talent Management, where and how to fit it into your program and what next steps you can take to implement this solution. 

What is Total Talent Management?

Total Talent Management (TTM) is about creating a single candidate experience for applying, interviewing and accepting jobs across all categories (i.e., contingent, permanent, flex, etc.). TTM combines the permanent and contingent jobs into one place and streamlines the candidate application process so they can search and apply to job roles regardless of the job type. Technology then helps to categorize and match candidates so that your hiring managers are seeing the best-qualified applicants across your whole talent pool. 
In addition to streamlining the application process, an effective TTM solution mirrors the screening process for internal positions to ensure that each candidate is available for any role they match with. 

How We are Doing Total Talent Management Wrong

The TTM vision can be difficult to achieve because we tend to silo data between the internal Vendor Management System (VMS) and the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) systems. We’ve convinced ourselves that the contingent and permanent application process must be separated because the candidate pools are different. But in today's market, candidates are looking for jobs across the spectrum. More importantly, they are looking for the easiest route to find and apply for those jobs.  
We assume that TTM is somehow separate or distinctly different from our internally or externally managed Direct Sourcing and RPO programs. Instead, it's about creating that single experience for the candidate that allows you to leverage your brand and ensure your jobs are viewed by combining the two programs.   
Another way we often get TTM wrong is we assume the way another company is doing it is the way to do it. Each TTM solution will be different. The important part is keeping the candidate experience, whatever that looks like for your specific company or industry, at the center of the discussions. This will ensure your solution works effectively.  

How Can We Do Total Talent Management Right?

So how can we get this TTM concept right? These four steps will cover how and what tools are necessary to build a comprehensive TTM solution for your company within the next three years.   

Step 1: Define the Team

TTM is a team effort. Any company that approaches TTM from only one department  delays their progress in building a successful program. Everyone's idea of TTM is different, so you must come together on the definition of what TTM means for your organization and then build a strategy to implement that addresses all concerns. The cohesive team should be able to discuss everything from PII to database security to candidate-specific marketing strategies in order to customize a solution that works for your company as a whole.   
Going from RPO to Total Talent or Direct Sourcing to Total Talent will prove very difficult without a team approach. Regardless of whether you have already outsourced or internally manage your RPO and Direct Sourcing programs, or you think you have a good handle on one component or both, the key to success is to build the appropriate team.    
The team should include resources from:
  • Legal:  This should be someone familiar with employment law and your company's hiring process and associated PII.  
  • HR: Similar to legal this should be a representative with knowledge of your company's hiring process and also someone who would be involved in an internal or external RPO.  
  • Finance: This representative will serve as the budget champion and be responsible for helping calculate the program savings and handle financial negotiations.
  • IT: This should be a representative who has an understanding of your VMS and HRIS systems and how those systems integrate with your environment.
  • Marketing: Ideally, this would be your CMO, since your brand plays a major role in the outcome.  
  • Procurement:  Serves as the representative responsible for Direct Sourcing within the contingent labor category and is knowledgeable of the contingent hiring process. 
Once the team is in place, it is time to set the strategy. 

Step 2: Set the Strategy and Communicate

Now that the team is assembled and the roles are defined, it is important to set the strategy. The ultimate goal, streamlining the candidate experience, starts with a Direct Sourcing or RPO program. This doesn't mean you have to outsource your programs to external providers; it just means you need to begin by implementing one of these programs. Many companies find it easier to implement a solution in the contingent labor space and then start an RPO program. There is no right or wrong way to do it so long as you keep the ultimate TTM candidate experience in mind.   
Once you've defined the strategy, it is time to communicate the plan to key stakeholders in that department, which ensures that the program will launch successfully.   

Step 3: Pick a Technology

One of the biggest pitfalls to a successful TTM program is selecting the right technology. Because companies silo their data and create separate hiring hurdles defined by the different labor categories, the VMS and HRIS systems inevitably become complex, and the data becomes stale and unusable. Clients assume (and some MSP companies sell) that to effectively do TTM, they must replace their VMS or HRIS systems with a new AI-driven product. But it is simply not true. 
Instead of replacing your existing technology, look at partners that integrate with your systems, allowing you to control the data that gets shared. For example, your team HR and Legal representatives may decide that they are unwilling to share existing PII on former associates of your company (alumni). So, to assemble a candidate target list of alumni, your technology partner will need a sourcing capability to locate and market to available alumni on the various job sites. There is always a workaround if you choose the right technology partner. The right partner will integrate with your existing systems, speeding up the approval process and ensuring that you don't get bogged down transitioning to completely new systems.  

Step 4: Design and Build, Launch and Pivot

You've secured the team, communicated the strategy and picked the technology. Now you have to design the go-to-market program. The critical point in this phase is to ensure the entire team is involved and designs a holistic program that will work for both contingent and permanent workers when launched.  
Some of the items that need to be discussed include the following:  
  • How will you market to candidates? (i.e., what tools will you use, marketing strategies, who will pay for it, etc.)
  • What will you say to candidates in your marketing efforts?
  • How will candidates see your jobs?
  • What will you ask them to do once they sign up? (i.e., take a test, video interview, self-identify, etc.)
  • Who will handle curation?
  • How is on-/off-boarding managed? 
These are not all of the questions you need to ask during design, but these are significant ones. Missteps can happen if the team is not consulted and time is not taken to answer these questions. You do not want to design a program that works for permanent hiring but doesn't work for contingent. This will only create more obstacles in the long run.  
After you have completed designing the program, the build phase is relatively easy. Your selected partners (MSP, RPO and Technology) or your internal teams are tasked to building your TTM vision.   
Once launched, give the go-to-market program time to mature and pivot on key items as necessary. For example, you may find that the application process as designed is too cumbersome for contingent workers and you don't see the sign-up rates that you had hoped for in the first phase. Change how you market and what you ask for and run A/B tests to see which is more successful. Giving time for the program to mature ensures you end up with a great TTM Program that works for your company.



About The Author

James Simmons's picture

James Simmons has spent over 20 years in the contingent labor industry covering staffing, VMS, MSP and Direct Sourcing.  He has held various management positions with large global staffing firms, founded two companies including one focused on Direct Sourcing and has worked in the VMS space for a leading provider.  He is currently working in the Enterprise Solutions organization for Yoh, focused on MSP and Direct Sourcing initiatives.