Insight: Overcoming Skills Shortages with Total Talent Management

With UK unemployment at a record low, employers cannot find the people they need to fill open positions. Talent shortages are more acute than they have been for decades, and half of big businesses in the UK are struggling to find the skills their business needs.

Many organisations are implementing tactical changes in order to alleviate the issue of talent shortages. Some are adjusting the education or experience requirements for their roles; others are offering additional perks and benefits; and a few are looking to offer more flexible ways of working.

While many of these changes are valuable, it’s time for organisations to think more holistically about talent shortages. To win in the future of work, an effective talent strategy should have four parts: build, buy, borrow and bridge. Employers need to build the talent pipeline; buy skills where necessary; borrow from external sources; and help people with adjacent skills bridge from one role to another.

Build: Grow the Talent Pipeline

Employers can map and upskill their workforce like never before, thanks to improved people analytics, psychometric assessments and artificial intelligence’s ability to predict performance. However, learning is a two-way street. It’s essential for individuals to continually upskill and reskill in order to remain employable; and it’s critical for companies to develop the talent their business needs. In the Skills Revolution, driving a culture of learnability will be a critical component in building talent pipelines.

Buy: Recruit from External Market

In a tight labour market, employers must work hard to attract workers with in-demand skills. They need a strong employee value proposition; a clear purpose; and an attractive culture. Without these, low unemployment will drive up wages and attrition, and organisations will pay a premium for workers. It’s important to remember that candidates are consumers too and so, to attract and engage the best and the brightest, HR needs to think like Marketing.

Borrow: Harness Non-Permanent Talent

More often than not, HR departments solely focus on the management permanent employees. This is important, but to fill gaps for short-term projects or quickly find expertise you do not have, it’s important to borrow talent from elsewhere – such as contractors or temporary workers. Our research found that increasing numbers of skilled workers are choosing to work in non-traditional forms of employment. Employers must adapt their workforce strategy if they want to engage the best talent.

Bridge: Help People Move On and Up

Employers anticipate significant churn in the workforce, as digitisation causes new skill requirements to emerge and make others obsolete. In particular, roles that are routine or add less value to customers are under risk of automation. As employers, we have a responsibility to support individuals whose skills are no longer in demand. This means finding alternative pathways for them, so they can build the skills needed to be able to move into new and emerging roles elsewhere in the company. Or, if this is not possible, helping them smoothly transition into new roles beyond the organisation – treating them with respect and dignity at all times.

Importance of Total Talent Management

In order to implement these four strategies, employers must have a single, centralised view of their workforce. Looking across all types of talent, they must understand the skills they currently have in their workforce, how this is likely to change in the years ahead, and how the demand of the organisation will change too. This will enable them to more strategically decide when and how to Build, Buy, Borrow and Bridge talent in their workforce.

This is why it is so many organisations are embracing Total Talent Management. By uniting the entire workforce into a single, comprehensive workforce strategy, organisations can create a truly blended working population – where securing the best talent is prioritised over internal definitions, labels and reporting lines.

With this approach, organisations won’t simply jump straight into external recruitment when there is a new skill requirement or job vacancy. They will be able to make a more informed decision as to whether talent can be built internally, borrowed from an external source, bridged from elsewhere in the organisation or, indeed, bought through external recruitment. This creates improved control, better economies of scale, and a more structured process for forecasting short and long-term talent requirements. Most of all, it means HR will be able to focus on more meaningful talent management issues, rather than day-to-day, siloed recruitment tasks.

Having the right technology platforms in place will make all of this possible, providing simplification and enhanced automation throughout the workforce management process. However this isn’t just about infrastructure, programmes and processes. It’s also about having the right people in place – people who can augment and align your technology solutions, talent sources and analytics platforms, to ensure you can achieve a fully blended approach.

That’s where ManpowerGroup Solutions can help. We’re proud to partner with a number of organisations on their journey towards Total Talent Management – augmenting their approach to talent, and helping them achieve an inclusive approach to how they structure and manage their workforce. Learn more about our Total Talent Management capabilities by visiting Our Solutions. Or, for more information about the UK’s skills shortage, we invite you to take a look at the 2018 Talent Shortage Survey.