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Total Talent Management

08 April 2015

Steve Wright, CEO at Rethink Group, explains why Total Talent Management is the future. 

At Rethink Group we’re big proponents of effective talent management and of being a strategic advisor to our clients, rather than simply hiring their talent for them. I attended a conference in the USA earlier this month that focused on a strategy that is increasingly gaining traction across the Atlantic, Total Talent Management. But what exactly is this and could it be the future of the UK employment arena?

Firstly, I can’t pretend that we’re the only ones talking about the development of the recruitment and talent management industry. In fact, in his 1980 book ‘The Age of Unreason’, Charles Handy outlined how “it is as if we have suddenly woken up to the fact that organisations are made up of people, after all, not just ‘hands’ or ‘occupants’”. More recently, Peter Cheese, the Chief Executive of the CIPD outlined how, “Organisations that can truly develop and take advantage of diverse workforces in every sense will be more sustainable, have access to a wider range of skills and experiences, and better reflect the communities they serve.” Without directly referencing the term, both of the above quotes are essentially about Total Talent Management, but what exactly does this entail?

Perhaps the most obvious place to start is to establish what sets Total Talent Management apart from conventional talent management other than the addition of one short word? In summary, Total Talent Management is about engaging all areas of the workforce and utilising the full range of talent sources. This includes contractors, temporary workers, interims, traditional employees and those working on a flexible basis. And in the US, this also includes robotics and artificial intelligence. Many companies will say they already do this, but research shows that only 14% of US firms make a ‘big effort’ to engage with contractors. That is likely to be similar in the UK and is an obvious area to focus on to drive greater productivity from a core part of the total work force.

Consequently, when there is a role to fill, an employer adopting Total Talent Management should consider all options and how they would be best suited to their particular organisation. Without actually using the term, it’s something that we at Rethink Group have been advocating for some time.

The working world continues to evolve and grow in complexity and it’s therefore increasingly important for every employer to think beyond the one traditional permanent component of the resource pool. Professionals want to work in different ways, some on a contract basis, some flexibly and some as full time employees, and organisations in their fight for talent will progress towards an agile model. In addition, the nature of the recruitment relationship has also changed. The best staffing companies will need to move to becoming a strategic partner and this means advising their clients on how to best meet all of their talent needs, rather than a one dimensional transaction based recruiter. Any staffing partner should be recommending that their clients take full advantage of all areas of the potential resource pool; from permanent employees through to flexible professionals, and as has been the case in the UK, parts of Europe and the US, professional contractors in the IT space.

While there’s no doubt that the Total Talent Management strategy needs to evolve, one thing we know for certain is that utilising and engaging the talent pool as a whole is more sustainable than the fragmented approach many firms currently have in place. Total Talent Management is gathering momentum across the Atlantic, and we’re convinced that UK firms will adopt much of this thinking in the near future.

Rethink is a strong advocate of talent management as a whole and has recently hosted several client events focused on employer branding and how to attract and engage all types of worker in the UK and Singapore, with another lined up in Dublin on April 16th.

Why not join us in the debate?

Do you believe that Total Talent Management is the way forward for UK firms fighting in a rapidly changing business landscape?