Total Talent Mentality: Why is it important?

Total Talent Mentality: Why is it important?

"HR looks after permanent recruitment” 

“Procurement deals with contractors and statement of work activity" 

These statements are still commonly heard in business. But are these statements still relevant today? And do they represent best practice in workforce management? 

To answer this, there needs to be a strong understanding of market factors.

The war for talent rages on

Globalisation and technology are continuing to drive forward at a pace that has never been seen before. This not only influences what people do for work (90% of new jobs require digital skills according to the Digital Skills Crisis report by the UK Science and Technology Committee) but also how they do it. Physical obstacles, such as needing to be located within a specific office space, are reducing, which is resulting in a growing population of individuals who can decide where and how they wish to work. 

Certain parts of the workforce can also command increasingly high pay rates in exchange for their niche skills. People with expertise in artificial intelligence, for example, can command a seven-figure salary, according to a recent Bloomberg article. While the phrase ‘war for talent’ is frustratingly overused, it is impossible to ignore. We are increasingly seeing companies being forced to use flexible workers, as they are unable to find the resource for permanent positions.

Jobs vs people

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) UK labour market report (February 2018), there are now marginally less job vacancies published than there are unemployed people, but the numbers published by the ONS highlight the trend of job vacancy numbers increasing whilst the amount of unemployed people decreases. This is concerning as many companies are already suffering from elongated hiring periods to find talent or are being left with unfilled vacancies.

In skills-short industries like engineering and technology, this trend will only further complicate recruitment and should make all organisations, regardless of size, industry or geography, sit up and take note. 

In this difficult business landscape, there are three things businesses need to consider: 

•    How can the returns stakeholders demand be achieved?
•    How can projects be delivered without resource?
•    How can businesses remain competitive?

Technology and talent

Inevitably, automation will be key to helping businesses improve efficiency around certain processes. And more and more businesses are reaping the benefits this technology can bring, with global spending on robotics and automation set to more than double in coming years (World Robotics Report in September 2017). However, it doesn’t offer a complete solution to the talent problem. Increased use of automated processes will also create new roles which will rely on human intervention and variable decisions to manage the technology.

As the pace of technological advancement continues, the luxury of picking from a local permanent talent market and employing fully qualified individuals who can deliver a return on investment from the start is becoming increasingly difficult. 

Evolving employee demands

The demands of a new generation of employees are becoming more and more different to ‘traditional’ work demands. 

As a consequence, so long as their projects are delivered, employers need to be less concerned about where and how their workforce operates.

Moving through to the C-Suite, the balance of a more demanding workforce, the ever-increasing pace of change, the increasingly looming financial challenges brought by an average ageing demographic all bring challenges that a siloed recruitment strategy will struggle to overcome.

As many headlines have suggested, it’s easy to perceive why we could be on the brink of an 'apocalypse of talent'.

From a Talent Capital perspective, how can we be prepared?

The Total Talent mentality

Based on the fact that all businesses differ in their working culture and their practices within HR and procurement it is impossible to dictate one overarching solution. In reality, the pace of change within businesses means that they need to be ready to adapt to a variety of solutions that will be relevant in the short-term, as well as looking for a more long-term solution. And more and more organisations are looking for best practice support in this space. 

So what do I mean by a ‘total talent mentality’?

I’m talking about a model that looks at the whole lifecycle of talent including new talent (flexible and permanent), internal mobility, redeployment and development, robotics and artificial intelligence, skills gap analysis, workforce planning and even alumni support. This kind of workforce solution is becoming seen as best practice for large, medium and small organisations alike.

The fact remains that to keep pace with the changes we’re currently experiencing, the operation of recruitment - whether permanent, contract, or project-based - needs to be as efficient and centralised as possible without losing the creativity and flair that can endear a recruiter to a candidate or a hiring manager. Single, accountable owners and proactive, insightful intelligence are the only ways to stay adaptable in the competitive and ever-changing business landscape of 2018.


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