Exploring the why, what and how of total talent acquisition

Author: Mike Wachholz

As the world continues to go through unprecedented social, economic and technological shifts, organizations are having rethink their talent acquisition strategies.

An organization’s future success depends on their ability to attract and retain the best people. At the same time, connecting with desirable candidates is becoming ever more challenging and complex. Which of the many available digital platforms are you most likely to reach them? How do you cut through all the noise to get them truly excited about your company’s culture and brand?

These challenges are affecting every part of the workforce, and apply equally whether an organization is looking for a full-time employee, short-term freelancer, or anything in between. It is for this reason, among others, that organizations are increasingly gravitating towards a “total talent acquisition” approach.

Our organization, Pontoon, is at the forefront of this strategic shift. As one of the world’s leading providers of MSP and RPO solutions, we see a growing interest in total talent solutions across our clients, as they seek to future-proof their enterprises in a climate of constant economic and demographic change.

To gain a more detailed understanding of the trend, we recently partnered with Everest Group to publish a report analyzing the drivers, challenges and benefits of adopting a total talent acquisition approach.

You can read the full report here. 

In the meantime, here are some of my own personal views on the current move towards total talent acquisition, and the challenges and benefits that go with it.

So what exactly is total talent acquisition?

Although the phrase “total talent acquisition” is now widely used, it is not yet universally understood. To be clear, unfortunately, there is still no single, unified technology platform that can “magically” take care of all your talent needs, from recruiting to onboarding to candidate management to retention.

Looking beyond today’s platform limitations, we are taking a more universal approach to an organization’s talent challenges, and applying expertise not just to particular silos or pain points but to the talent acquisition strategy as a whole.

How easily can it be implemented?

There are two key challenges organizations need to consider in implementing a unified approach to talent acquisition.

The first is not surprising, it requires significant change. Organizations have historically taken a siloed approach to hiring talent, with HR being responsible for full-time employees, procurement for contract or contingent labor, and individual business areas for outcomes-based engagements. Effecting an organization-wide shift towards a total talent model will not be easy, as change for most complex organizations takes work and commitment.

The second major challenge is on the outside of organizations: the current regulatory environment. Most countries, including the U.S., have an archaic engagement model that is not well-suited to the contemporary world of employment, particularly when it comes to hiring a flexible workforce of contractors, freelancers and “gig” workers. This too will require change over time, as regulators work to catch up with the working community.

Top three benefits of total talent acquisition

Organizations that have successfully implemented a total talent acquisition strategy have been able to gain a number of important advantages over their competitors. If I had to pick out my top three benefits, they would be:

  1. Securing the best available talent

Companies that adopt a broader talent acquisition strategy are able to fish from a bigger pond, and ensure a better candidate fit not just in terms of skillsets but also in terms of culture, values and goals.

  1. Maximizing technology investment

Currently there are a vast array of talent-related technologies that organizations utilize – everything from applicant tracking systems to candidate assessment and management tools. If an organization lacks a unified approach to talent acquisition, the investment in these platforms and the benefits they can deliver is greatly minimized.

  1. Leveraging the brand

People today often relate their career search to a consumer experience. We want to have authentic, meaningful interactions with potential employers, and be sure that the organization’s culture and values are closely aligned with our own. A unified approach to talent acquisition helps organizations fully leverage their brand, and present themselves in a more consistent and engaging manner.

For more detailed insight into total talent acquisition, and to find out why it is becoming a necessity for businesses that want to survive and flourish in the future, I encourage you to download a copy of our whitepaper.

We would also like to find out where you stand on this topic. What do total talent solutions mean to your organization? Do you consider them a business priority? What barriers would you need to overcome in order to implement them? Please share your opinions and experiences with us by taking part in our global Workforce Solutions Survey. It would be great to hear what you think.