Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, the global workforce has experienced unprecedented transformation. Companies were forced to innovate and adapt rapidly, and quickly embraced virtual work arrangements. Workforces are bound by geography less than ever before, and this new, borderless freedom is rewriting work dynamics for both workers and employers.
Talent procurement strategies are also rapidly evolving to best engage this new workforce reality. How can organisations leverage global talent to stay ahead? It starts with understanding contingent workforces, valuing employees’ experiences, and focusing on diversity and inclusion initiatives to accommodate a diverse, globally distributed talent community.
Defining Global Talent Management
As a result of the pandemic, talent shortages and mobility of staff on a global scale have become top-of-mind issues for the talent procurement community. Organisations are wondering how to develop their global talent management strategies to effectively address these issues. Global talent management refers to “the activities and processes that involve the systematic identification of key positions which significantly contribute to the organisation’s sustainable competitive advantage, and the identification, attraction, selection, recruitment, development, and retention of talented individuals on a global scale to effectively fill in these roles.”
A borderless, flexible workforce means that comprehensive global talent management strategies are now essential for the successful procurement of talent. Localised talent shortages and extremely mobile workforces are becoming the norm, and recruiters that are not developing and adapting their approaches are rapidly falling behind. Successful global talent management should include strategically employing contingent workers, investing in employee experiences and integration, and building diversity and inclusion into hiring practices.
Utilising Contingent Workforces
The growth in global talent management goes hand in hand with the enormous increase in the use of contingent workers. Nearly 80% of employers expect to continue to use contingent workers, with many of those actively planning to increase the scope of their contingent workforce.
New technologies and rapidly changing business practices now demand employers to be able to quickly evolve and adapt. Businesses need a flexible workforce: this includes full-time and part-time employees, and a mix of agencies, freelancers, and independent contractors for staffing volume that can rise and fall to meet the unique demands of any given project. Formalising a contingent workforce strategy allows businesses to efficiently fill knowledge gaps, increase productivity, and quickly scale operations successfully.
There are a few different options available when utilising contingent workforces, including:
- Freelancers/Contractors: Freelancers and contractors are neither employees of the company for which the work is performed nor employees of a partner organisation. They are typically highly skilled, and can fill critical talent gaps, but may require significant administrative oversight to manage invoices and project deliverables.
- Corp-to-Corp Suppliers: Using a corp-to-corp supplier means paying a corporation or LLC, rather than an individual, as you would for independent contractors. Corp-to-corp arrangements are ideal if you need a larger, cohesive team extending beyond independent contractors. Corp-to-corp suppliers also reduce misclassification risk by contracting with a vetted corporation rather than multiple independent 1099 contractors.
- Staffing Agencies: Contingent workers are supplied by staffing agencies, typically used for short-term projects, filling talent gaps, and fuelling rapid growth. Contingent workers can reduce expenses relative to contracted workers and training new employees, but may demand more thoughtful approaches to team and culture building within organisations.
The Employee Experience
To stand out and attract talent not limited by geography, emphasising the employee experience needs to be a focus of any global talent management strategy. This can include implementing re-skilling initiatives, integrating contingent workers to feel like part of the core team, streamlining processes, and authentic support from leadership. Focusing on the employee experience is as high a business priority as the customer experience. As it improves, the ability to attract and retain top talent will grow, as will team productivity and satisfaction.
When thinking about the experience of your global workforce, start with your processes in mind. Are your hiring, onboarding, and training processes welcoming and seamless? Are your project management processes cohesive and easy to understand? Taking time to streamline these processes can ensure a smooth transition and a positive experience for incoming workers.
An optimal employee experience also requires good communication. This is even more important when teams are remotely distributed across the globe. Your communications tools and practices should be consistent throughout the organisation and give everyone the tools needed to succeed in flexible and remote working arrangements. Supportive communication is also critical to the employee experience: when internal staff and contingent workers have demonstrable support and are made to feel valued by leadership, engagement and productivity increase.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion initiatives are becoming a top priority for organisations and should be at the center of global talent strategies. Implementing diversity and inclusion hiring practices will increase the size of your talent pool and can attract diverse, talented candidates that you may not otherwise consider due to biased recruiting and hiring practices. A diverse workforce can also help companies increase productivity and hit ambitious business goals.
Employees increasingly value diversity and inclusion: working for organisations with shared values can boost employee happiness and performance. A 2018 study analysing 1,000 companies found that organisations ranking higher for diversity and inclusion have a 35% greater chance for success over competitors in long-term profitability and value creation. Companies ranking high for gender diversity on their executive teams were also 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than those ranking in the bottom 25%.
Diversity and inclusion doesn’t just stop with hiring practices, however. As part of a successful global talent strategy, it must be a philosophy that pervades the entire organisation, not merely lip service. Actions to embed diversity within an organisation’s culture should include:
- Reflecting diversity in the company’s leadership
- Listening to employees: learn and respond to the needs and experiences of both full-time and contingent workers
- Observing varying cultural holidays and celebrations
- Providing staff with educational resources on diversity
Interested in diving deeper into global talent management strategies that will future-proof you and your clients? Sign up for the Staffing Industry Analysts’ CWS Summit, and join us for our panel discussion: “The Talent Playbook: Compliant and Powerful Strategies to Leverage the Global Talent Community” to learn from the experts at People 2.0.
This article originally appeared on the People2.0 website.