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Unify Your Total Workforce

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Cindy Lynes
on January 14, 2015

“Gartner anticipates vendor solutions will soon include support for many blended workforce scenarios, including: recruiting that seamlessly sources internal employees, contractors and freelancers along with external candidates; onboarding freelancers in the same manner as employees for a consistent result; performance and goal management that incorporates the work and feedback on freelancers' work alongside that of employees; succession planning where freelancers (if they are so inclined) are supported in formalized plans to prepare them for future roles in the organization; or social learning and team collaboration, where freelancers and contractors contribute to the social fabric of the organization.”*

The workplace is complicated. Gone are the days of “one size fits all” when it comes to how we recruit, source and hire our talent. Both active candidates and potential prospects require a variety of communication, engagement, and recruitment strategies. Factor in the different work status arrangements (full time, part time or contingent) and the waters become even more muddied.

It is hard to understate the growing importance of the non-traditional worker. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 80% of organizations routinely supplement their workforce with temporary/contract workers procured through staffing firms. Compound that statistic with the growth of the on-demand workforce, commonly known as freelancers, and that percentage becomes staggering. Business leaders need to embrace and adapt to this complex workforce mix and develop a holistic approach to total talent management regardless of worker classification. 

To meet the goals and objectives of the organization, it is imperative to acquire individuals with specific talent skills and expertise. Given the impressive number of non-employee workers available to meet these requirements, companies need to look forward and start to implement systems and solutions that can manage the many processes to hire, onboard and engage all workers including contingent. Today, these systems include mobile, social and video capabilities all in an effort to drive performance and achieve best outcomes of all workers. Taking this comprehensive approach to total talent management provides organizations with the metrics to drive innovation, efficiency, agility, and visibility into their entire workforce.

A recent report published by the premier research firm Gartner titled: Predicts 2015: Nexus of Forces Enables Human Capital Management to Support the Digital Organization highlights industry trends that speak to the challenges of the managing the changing workforce: 

“With freelancers representing 40% to 50% or more of some workforces, HR leaders must take a leadership role in the procurement and management of this vast workforce, currently owned by procurement and/or line of business leaders, as their impact on the culture, processes, performance and outcomes of the organization is too significant.”*

Unfortunately, despite the desire, most enterprise organizations have yet to adopt a total talent solution to support this vision. In fact, Aberdeen reports that today only 15% of organizations are investing in a unified solution to handle their blended workforces. Looking forward, according to Gartner research, by 2020, nearly 60% of HR leaders will use a unified talent management strategy for employees, contractors, and freelancers.*  

Here are 5 things you need to think about today to successfully support a unified workforce of tomorrow.

1. Goal Alignment across Key Functions

Typically HR is responsible for full-time talent and procurement for contingent labor. What complicates this division of labor even further is goal alignment: HR is focused on outcomes such as engagement, retention and productivity whereas Procurement is driven by compliance, visibility and cost savings. Ultimately, both functions need to come together and share a common vision from a cultural and business outcomes perspective before developing a strategy to meet the demands of managing the blended workforce.

2. Inclusive verses Exclusive 

Hiring managers play a key role in the development and ultimate success of their team members regardless of worker status. It is a responsibility they cannot take lightly or achieve in isolation. These managers should have the benefits of a system that includes social, mobile and video with easy access to critical resources provided from key stakeholders such as HR, Procurement and L&D to drive talent development initiatives and promote improved performance consistently for permanent and contingent workers. The end result will be a holistic approach to talent management built on inclusiveness and transparency. 

3. Business Intelligence for Workforce Visibility

It is critically important that organizations invest in systems that deliver comprehensive business intelligence and analytics across all labor types including salaried, hourly, and contingent, and provide a single consolidated view that empowers total workforce planning. Executives and managers need visibility into costs and productivity by project, team, department, location and more to promote decisions that drive profitability. They need insights into top performers so they can fast- track them to more senior roles. Disparate systems are unable to provide the comprehensive snapshots needed to drive strategic decision making. 

4. Risk Mitigation

A key reason many HR and VMS systems are implemented is to mitigate risk. Between IRS requirements and designations, onboarding processes such as background checks, drug screens, security badges and professional certifications, organizations need to implement automated processes to ensure all workers are meeting their compliance requirements. To further complicate the matter, the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) added new federal reporting requirements for businesses starting in January of 2015. Businesses must complete IRS schedules for employees meeting certain IRS requirements – and this includes non-employees who may be considered as full-time employees for ACA reporting. 

For non-employees, a VMS manages most compliance requirements including the misclassification of workers being presented by suppliers. State and federal agencies are actively auditing companies for misclassified employees and the penalties can be costly – over 40 percent of each misclassified worker’s pay plus severe corporate fines.

Today, many organizations rely on several systems to support these critical compliance functions. As you move towards a unified workforce solution, managing these processes under one umbrella needs to be a priority. 

5. Streamline Vendor Relationships

In taking a unified approach to managing talent, look for vendors and systems that can support your total talent needs, permanent and contingent, including statements-of-work capabilities. Studies show that when companies invest in fewer providers, talent gaps were identified more readily, open requisitions were filled faster and costs were reduced significantly- upwards to 15%. Invest in those vendors that provide the highest quality candidates, most competitive rates and software providers that can manage the entire unified workforce.


Are you looking to take that first step towards a unified workforce? 

Join PeopleFluent and Staffing Industry Analysts for a webinar on January 21st titled:

Total Talent Management: 2015 - The Journey Continues 



PeopleFluent is your answer to total visibility into your blended workforce. Recognized by Gartner in their 2014 Talent Management Suite Magic Quadrant as a visionary and achieving top quartile scores in their Critical Capabilities Report for all areas including high volume talent management, PeopleFluent is the only proven SaaS solution to manage your total talent.  


*Gartner, Predicts 2015: Nexus of Forces Enables Human Capital Management to Support the Digital Organization, Jeff Freyermuth, Ron Hanscome, Yvette Cameron, Helen Poitevin, 13 November 2014

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