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How to ensure a successful Total Workforce Strategy 

Key Takeaways 
  • What is a Total Workforce Strategy 
  • Steps to ensure successful adoption 
  • Next steps 
A holistic workforce strategy that combines and aligns all hiring processes is the ideal for many organisations. We explore the stakeholders you’ll need to onboard to ensure the success of a Total Workforce strategy. 

A Total Workforce Strategy: An Overview 

A Total Workforce Strategy (TWS) is a talent management model combining all hiring processes - whether that's for full time employees or contingent workers - into a single pipeline, giving a holistic overview of the workforce, current or expected needs, and the available talent network. 
It’s an approach that has been widely discussed, praised and adopted – especially in Europe. 
But this workforce strategy requires a deep understanding of your current workforce, skills gaps and future requirements, a suitable technology ecosystem to ensure transparency and critically, buy in from a range of stakeholders across your organisation. 
If you’re contemplating the adoption of this innovative approach, who do you need to bring into the process to ensure a successful programme? 

1. HR and procurement need to be on the same page 

The motivation and planning for TWS is usually driven by leaders in talent acquisition or procurement. Permanent recruitment is often managed by HR, while procurement typically oversees contingent workforce contracts. For TMM, you’ll need to bring both these aspects of your workforce under the same programme – and this requires leaders from both functions to work together. 
We sometimes see the instruction come from higher up, such as the Chief Operating Officer, but largely speaking, one of these two business lines will be your internal champion. 
Regardless of who initially broaches the topic, HR and procurement must be aligned to make this work. Most often we see procurement support TWS through sourcing, governance and contracts, while HR takes the lead on strategy. 

2. Get the C-suite on board 

Once HR and procurement are aligned and have developed a suggested strategy, it’s time to present the business case to company leaders. TWS is a complicated process and it needs to be supported from the top down. 
Demonstrate the necessity of TWS by using statistics from your organisation and industry commentators such as Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) to show that the skills supply and demand are shifting. Many service providers can offer case studies that illustrate the different approaches and outcomes, which you can use in your business case to estimate cost savings. 
Experienced contingent workforce practitioners know that implementing any broad recruitment outsourcing programme, such as an MSP or RPO, requires significant buy-in from company leaders, and TWS can be considerably larger than either of those. 
While many companies build on or combine their existing outsourcing to develop their TWS strategy, some companies are skipping these early-stage programmes. 
One of our clients went from no outsourcing to 100 percent outsourced recruitment in one RFP. How did they do it? With a clear goal, united purpose, strong executive support, and solid business case. 

3. Align your key stakeholders 

As you move forward TWS, you will need to onboard key stakeholders. 
Communicate with your internal clients, such as the department heads who will need to lead change within their functions. 
If your organisation has a limited supplier list, then their adjustment will be straightforward. However, if your company is using dozens or even hundreds of suppliers, then you will need these change managers to understand and execute the new programme to improve rollout and reduce rogue usage. 
You will also need support from functions such as IT and marketing. Both are critical during the rollout stage and in contributing to the overall success of the programme. IT support will be required in order to integrate tech platforms, while marketing will need to develop messaging that is consistent across the whole business. 
Involve them early to ensure your programme has the resources needed to succeed. 

4. Engage the frontline managers 

HR and procurement are aligned on strategy, you have the C-suite onboard, your change managers are engaged, and your IT and Marketing teams are ready to support the rollout. 
Next you need to win over your front-line managers. For your TWS program to be successful, they need to understand the why, not just the what and how. 
Communication has to come from top down and should explain the reason for the new process. 
Don’t expect full compliance immediately. There will always be a few people who resist change, and you need to identify those people ahead of time and offer them additional support. You’re breaking habits made over many years so will likely see resistance or pushback for some time. 
Set realistic expectations for the first year of your programme, and clear checkpoints or milestones to assess and evaluate progress so you can correct, retrain and refine as needed. 
You can accelerate programme adoption by pre-identifying a few innovative managers who are open to change and challenging the status quo. Getting these early adopters engaged and showcasing the results can go a long way towards promoting and growing a TWS programme. 

5. Keep your candidates in the loop 

Finally, don’t forget to educate your candidates. 
One advantage of TWS is promoting your employer brand consistently to all target audiences. However, your candidates could be confused about applying for a full-time job and being asked about contract work, or vice versa. Let them know your new approach means all categories of jobs are open to them, so it doesn’t come as a surprise. 

Shaping your Total Workforce Strategy: Next steps for your organisation. 

An experienced solutions provider can partner with you across all of these stages. 
Third parties should bring considerable experience with programme implementation and improvement. From strategy development to legal support and advice, to the right technology, case studies and best practices from around the world, make the most of this valuable resource. 
Get in touch with the team at Hays. 

Kimball Norup 
SVP, Head of growth at Hays Talent Solutions- Americas 

With nearly two decades of experience in the human capital management industry. Kimball has experience in structural engineering, publishing entrepreneur, and running a successful strategy consulting firm. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and an MBA with honours from the University of California, Davis. 
Now his expertise is used working cross-functionally with the Hays Talent Solutions global leadership team to build the strategic plan for the expansion of Hays Talent Solutions in the Americas region. Focusing on business growth and client acquisition, activation, retention, and upsell across the region. 

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