Insight: Total Talent Management and the Skills Revolution

 In Total Talent Management

No company is immune from digitisation. As consumers increasingly expect better quality, value and efficiency, organisations must embrace new technologies and automated processes, so they can embrace innovation, remain competitive, and deliver their products and services when, where and how their customers demand.

In the future of work, employers will need workers with different skills than they did in the past. We can expect to see significant churn in the workforce, as new skills emerge and others become obsolete. Labour market predictions might talk about technology eating our jobs; robots replacing workers; and even the threat of a world without work. But these are rather dramatic representations of the facts. Humans will continue to be critical in the years ahead – but the skills they will need to possess will change.

When we interviewed 20,000 employers in 42 countries, 86% told us they expect their headcount to remain the same or grow in the next two years, as a result of digitisation. Unsurprisingly, as organisations invest in their digital footprint, IT is the function that expects to see the biggest growth in headcount. Frontline and Customer-Facing functions are close behind. In contrast, those roles that are routine or add less value to the customer are under greatest threat of automation – administration and office functions, in particular. In short, we’re not waving goodbye to workers, in favour of robots. Technology will bring new jobs and opportunities, as long as both people and organisations are ready. This is what we call the Skills Revolution.

Moving from traditional to digital skillsets

As the skill requirements of organisation evolve, so must the overarching workforce strategy by which they are managed. Transformation has to start at the top, and the impact of the Skills Revolution means leaders need to lead differently than they have in the past.

As technology gets ever-more sophisticated, it is inevitable that people will increasingly need to develop their skills and diversify into new areas, in order to remain employable. To support this, employers should identify and nurture workers whose traditional skillsets are adjacent and transferrable to new and emerging digital roles. They ought to then help them adapt to these new areas, through shorter bursts of on-the-job, experimental training and development. This will ensure that organisations maintain a right-skilled workforce; and that their workers remain valuable for the long-term.

To fully embed this approach in the workforce, many organisations have recognised the need to re-think how they view and manage both talent and resources. To be able to map the existing skills of workers against future digital requirements, employers need complete visibility of their entire workforce – including permanent workers, contractors, statements of work, offshored work, outsourced services, and more. Without total oversight of the complete workforce, employers will be unable to identify all of the ways in which the talents of workers could be reutilised in other business areas. With an integrated, holistic talent strategy, organisations can engage workers of all types in the right way, at the right time, and at the right cost.

However, all too often, organisations simply don’t have this level of oversight, because each area of their workforce is managed separately, by different teams who may have competing goals. There is a disconnect between procurement – who focus on ‘purchasing’ contingent workers – and HR, who maintain ownership for permanent resourcing and RPO management. These internal barriers need to be broken down, to ensure organisations can see and harness the skills adjacencies that exist across their workforce.

One solution: embracing Total Talent Management

This is one of the reasons why many organisations are now embracing a Total Talent Management approach to workforce strategy. In its absolute form, Total Talent Management unites an entire workforce in a fully comprehensive talent management programme, regardless of their employment status. It’s a flexible, adaptable mindset that enables organisations to more easily evolve their skills mix, in line with wider organisational demands. When permanent and non-permanent workers are no longer managed separately from one another, employers can more easily adapt their workforce to the demands of the Skills Revolution.

There are a number of challenges that need to be managed long before a Total Talent Management mindset can be implemented within an organisation. To gain complete oversight over the entire workforce, three elements need to be streamlined: talent sources, analytics, and technology. In unifying and connecting these three areas, organisations have a single point of truth: the intelligence they need to make more informed, strategic choices about acquiring, developing and retaining all talent types. Data will also play a more critical role than ever before – enabling better, faster decision-making; creating greater transparency; and allowing organisations to achieve a fully blended approach to the workforce.

The journey to Total Talent Management is not easy, nor is it straightforward. Fully implementing it demands significant resource and budget, as well as strong c-suite support. However, while adopting such an approach takes time and effort, when weighed up against the numerous benefits it provides, many forward-thinking organisations recognise they can’t afford not to move forward. Companies that embrace a Total Talent Management mindset are better equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities that the Skills Revolution presents – through better workforce planning processes, enhanced talent attraction and retention capabilities, and improved workforce management processes.

Bridging current-state realities and future-state requirements

Tomorrow’s world of work is set to be considerably different to today’s. To remain competitive, it’s more important than ever before that organisations understand the skills they already have in their business, and align these to the skills they will need in the years ahead. They must be ready to adapt to the Skills Revolution, and adopting a Total Talent Management mindset can support this vital process.

At ManpowerGroup Solutions, we are supporting a number of organisations as they implement such an approach, giving them the confidence to start the journey towards complete workforce visibility. From securing business buy-in to managing budget considerations, we have helped to build an understanding of the quantifiable benefits of this approach for their business; have identified the barriers they will face along the way; and partnered with them to find solutions to overcome them. This has enabled them to build a robust business case – bridging the gap between current-state realities and future-state requirements.

We invite you to read our recent interview with Alison Todd, Director of Talent Acquisition at Sky, to find out how we’re supporting Sky on their journey to Total Talent Management. Or, for more information about our Total Talent Management capabilities, visit: Our Solutions.