Every total talent management strategy needs ongoing support and insight from different teams across the organization. In a recent webinar with HCI, Cindy Chunn, Senior Program Manager at VectorVMS, answered some key questions about the importance of team collaboration and how to achieve it. We’ve compiled her answers in the following Q&A.
Q: Let’s start with how human resources and procurement are linked. How can these two disciplines work together on total talent management strategy?
Cindy Chunn: In the past, procurement teams were the ones interested in vendor management systems (VMSs). They wanted to drive cost savings and they wanted to control the contract, whether that meant acquiring a VMS or employing a master vendor or MSP to run the program. But then, as we implemented the system, we needed HR involved to talk about classifying workers, locations, and project codes, among other aspects of a contingent workforce program. HR and procurement needed to work together and talk about all the systems they use and how they can integrate with one another.
Now, we’re seeing HR and procurement sitting at the table more often, because it’s not all about cost savings anymore. We know that there’s a skill gap. There’s a talent shortage. Also, the way people want to work is very different than how it’s been in the past. HR has valuable insight into how to solve those new challenges.
Procurement may still be the department with the contract to bring in and integrate talent acquisition technology, but it’s HR who gives valuable insight on how the talent is going to be processed.
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Q: HR’s role in total talent has changed so dramatically over the last few years. How can organizations maximize and evolve HR’s contribution?
CC: You start by communicating. You start by understanding who the players are. A lot of times what happens is you see that every team has its own silos.
For example, it’s common that contingent workers are brought in through a VMS because, for scalability, organizations turn to temporary talent to fill key roles quickly. But you often find that those workers are never really integrated into the workforce.
It’s crucial to know who all the players are in order to break down the silos. Understanding the role of each team and its place at the table. Start that communication by introducing yourselves and talking about what you’re looking for in technologies. For example, your team could start that conversation to integrate, to bring recruiting management together with applicant tracking and a VMS as well.
It could be as simple as going to your procurement team and saying: “We see an opportunity to drive efficiencies to save cost and mitigate risk. We need you to help us plan this out. What does this look like with the contracts that we have today and what is it going to look like going forward?” It’s just that simple—breaking down the silos and becoming one team to drive the talent acquisition strategy.
Procurement’s job is always going to be to save money, push contracts, and make sure they’re getting the best deal and the best technology. But HR is on the front lines every day. They’re out there witnessing the talent shortage and how hard it is to fill key roles.
Q: We’ve talked about procurement and HR working together for total talent acquisition. Who else should be involved?
CC: Itdepends on how you’re looking at your recruiting and talent acquisition. At the very minimum, HR analysts, hiring managers, HR VPs, procurement, and also the recruiters themselves should be taking part. Recruiters are the ones interacting with the candidates and listening to their experiences. They’re working on the technology daily.
Sometimes you might forget that you may need somebody close to the technology. It could be someone from the technology provider itself or someone in your company that’s responsible for it. They can assess whether a technology can integrate with an existing system, how to do it, and how long integration would take.
There should also be a chair for your project management team. Total talent management is a project, it’s not something you’re going to do in a month or two. Even the most organized agile companies struggle with getting the concept of total talent acquisition at first. Eventually, you’ll need to bring in some type of project management, someone that can manage all the communication that needs to happen. Most of the clients we work with have three or four talent acquisition tools—that’s a lot of people doing a lot of different things and trying to get everyone to think in a like-minded way. Don’t rule out your project management department coming in and helping you manage the product.
Q: You mentioned the rapidly changing world of work. We need a new cadence, one where all stakeholders come together at regular intervals. What have you seen organizations do to achieve this?
CC: It starts with leadership. You need to look for an executive sponsor, someone who can work as a leader to bring all these teams together. A lot of our organizations follow a top-down approach. Sponsors can bring instant credibility to an idea, or propose new ways of looking at ideas. Having an executive sponsor is going to be key.
After bringing in a sponsor, the next step is to hold each other accountable. When you have total talent, you become your own little microorganism with many moving parts. In that context, it’s easy for things to get missed or overlooked. That executive sponsor should be the one that pulls all the threads together.
If you can, have your sponsor on calls and give them constant updates on how the program is going. It’s also important to share the wins and successes the program achieves with the wider organization. That level of communication will build more opportunities for the program to continue and to become the true total talent management.
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Q: How can sponsors and teams work to create a successful total talent acquisition process flow?
CC: First of all, every team must agree that this is the best strategy. They have to see the operational excellence and the efficiencies it can bring.
Total talent management will ultimately lead to benefits for all departments. You’ll have internal talent pools. You’re going to be able to hire your own internal talent, you’re not always going to have to go outside to recruit. There’s nothing worse than being unable to fill a role that’s been open for a month. No one wants to tell their manager that. A faster and more accurate talent acquisition process will benefit from human resources (faster time to fill) to management (quality talent for their roles) or procurement (cost savings through direct sourcing).
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Every player has to understand that they’re a keeper of talent. They’re all there to help the company bring in all the right workers. I think looking at total talent as one arm of the company is what it takes to make it a success.
Developing a partnership between HR, procurement, and other departments across the organization is the key to a successful total talent program. To learn more, check out the recording of our webinar ‘How to Leverage Your Extended Workforce for True Total Talent Acquisition’. You can also contact our team for specialized advice on what solutions would work best for you.
Meet the Expert
Cindy Chunn – Senior Program Manager
Cindy Chunn was a seasoned Program Manager at VectorVMS. She served as a strategic partner to our clients, providing implementation support for our VMS technology and consultation services for contingent workforce program management. In her five years with VectorVMS, Cindy successfully led strategic business objectives, process improvements, and operational excellence for large and mid-market clients. Prior to VectorVMS, Cindy spent six years with Manpower as a regional director, overseeing multiple branches and large contingent workforce programs. She also served as a government solutions executive, blending public and private talent solutions for clients in the public sector.