A holistic approach to blended workforce management

by External28 Aug 2013

The talent supply chain

This quest for logistical ease is essentially a question of managing the talent supply chain.  It involves connecting a person to a position or project, embracing each step from procurement to the pay life cycle. When working smoothly, the supply chain ensures that organisations find, attract, manage, pay and add value that delivers a point of difference and competitive advantage to the organisation, and to the acquired talent. 


There are three distinct phases that comprise the supply chain. These are:


1. Pre-engagement

Pre-engagement (also known as the acquisition phase) starts with the sourcing and acquisition of talent. Whether looking for a permanent employee or a member of the contingent workforce, business should simply want the best talent available for the role. The right people need to be found and delivered with urgency, ease and containment of cost.

This isn't always straightforward, especially when dealing with a global talent pool. For instance, an organisation must be nimble enough to find that rare subsea engineer in the Oil and Gas hub of Aberdeen, Scotland, where these skills are prevalent, and connect that person to a project in the North West shelf of Australia. This entails a search and selection component, a migration component and a mobility component. All these events need to be connected.

Now try repeating this 10, 20, 100 or maybe 200 times per year, for each and every position the organisation needs to fill. This is where a defined process helps. Consider:

  • Do you want to take an insourcing or outsourcing approach to recruitment?
  • Should you create a preferred supplier agreement (PSA), establish a managed service program (MSP) or engage in recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)?
  • What technology is required for each of these options?
  • What are the likely costs to the business? 


In its Analyst Insight report, “Driving a Blended Workforce Strategy: a Total Talent Approach”, leading industry research organisation, Aberdeen Group, suggests HR could find it beneficial to involve the procurement or purchasing department when dealing with contractual arrangements and statements of work for contingent workers. As the report notes, purchasing is well-versed in contract management and is likely to have broad experience working with suppliers on milestones and delivery dates. 


  1. Engagement

Having found your talented people during pre-engagement, you now need to get down to the business of working with them. The engagement phase is when risk mitigation comes into play and during this time the workforce needs to be engaged and managed within a regulatory framework that can often be complex and an inhibitor for business.

The engagement process is a specialist area. Whether you take on employees, independent contractors, professionals with an ABN, or individuals on a visa-based engagement, they need to be correctly and seamlessly administered.

The process demands an understanding of the contingent worker DNA. These workers demand flexibility, maximum income, and to be treated with a respect that both acknowledges and augments their professional and lifestyle requirements. 

On an ongoing basis, organisations will need to constantly work hard to attract, retain and remunerate their workforce. Every organisation wants to be the workplace of choice among its peers. However, organisations need to develop their own value proposition and create a point of difference to attract and retain the best talent. At the same time, management will need to seriously consider how they can become the workplace of choice for all workers, whether, permanent or contingent.

Increasingly, technology will be a critical element in supporting rapid engagement and if deployed successfully can boost productivity through process efficiency in meeting the changing needs of both the organisation and its workforce.

However, visibility of spend will also remain essential throughout the engagement process.


  1. Post engagement

Post-engagement, once the pre-engagement and engagement phases have connected a person to a position or project, focuses on talent management. This is when the organisation needs the surety of uninterrupted business.

Good analytics and reporting become important for monitoring performance. Management needs visibility across the entire workforce – both contingent and permanent – to ensure thorough and effective workforce planning. 

The organisation also needs to develop best practices to deal with workforce challenges that extend to areas such as:

  • Talent transfer across the business – the ability to have visibility within an organisation to transfer key talent from one project to another. Availability is key in this process
  • Scheduling to ensure certainty of work
  • Offboarding and outplacement as contract/employment come to their inevitable conclusion


Each of these three phases functions in tandem over a long period of time. All should be viewed collectively and their impact on subsequent phases understood. This is where a formal strategy and input from across the business can help. Technology is another important enabler. Each phase should be connected elegantly using workforce solutions to deliver best reach, best talent, best process, and best outcomes for all in the supply chain.

While the idea of a blended workforce heralds significant change for many organisations, it is an approach ideally suited to our current competitive and uncertain times. The business case for using contingent and permanent employees is well documented. With holistic management and a keen view to the entire supply chain, a blended workforce will readily deliver cost, flexibility and agility benefits for the business.


Request your free copy of the whitepaper ‘Blended Workforces: A Strategic Weapon for Corporate Success’ by emailing enquiries@entitysolutions.com.au .


About the author

Matthew Franceschini is the CEO of Entity Solutions.

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