Four keys to your extended workforce

The digital era has brought such rapid technological progress – and with it, such rapidly evolving trends and needs – that you have to constantly calibrate your workforce to remain competitive. Some skills you need in-house at all times; others quite often; yet others only once in a blue moon. Projects and teams change like the seasons. How are you supposed to manage all the different people through all the ups and downs?

As usual, the business world is solving the challenge by unveiling a new set of acronyms.


Also as usual, when you look behind the acronyms, you discover that they’re not exactly rocket science. Quite the contrary. The bottom lines are common-sense-level simple. Makes you wonder why not every organisation on the planet figured these things out a long time ago.

Let’s wonder together.

Total Talent Management (TTM)
This simply means that, in managing your workforce, you manage the people who work for you. All of them. Including the 5-30% (or more) made up by your contingent workforce.

Sounds like a given. But not so fast – that’s not how it works at many organisations today.

Employees are categorised as Human Resources. HR vet them, manage every last detail of their work situation and generate a treasure trove of data on them. Contingent workers, meanwhile, are referred to the same category as Paper Clips and Printer Paper. They’re treated as purchases, that is. Procurement procure their services, and that’s that. More often than companies and government agencies care to admit, the data generated doesn’t go far beyond an invoice.

This new school of thought, TTM, thinks that’s a bad idea.

We agree.

Total Workforce Optimisation (TWO)
What competencies do you need? And who should be employed and who should be on contract work? That’s what Total Workforce Optimisation, aka TWO, is all about. According to US-based Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), TWO is “an emerging model of talent or workforce management that includes an organisation’s management of ‘permanently hired’ workers as well as ‘contingent’ workers […]”

You’d have thought that figuring out the right mix of talent should have been a priority since the advent of consulting. Yet another sign of how the contingent workforce, until recently, has been treated as an afterthought. So, here we are.

TWO. Remember the name.

Total Talent Acquisition (TTA)
If you’re going to create the right mix of workers, you’re going to need a unified strategy to sourcing consultants in parallel with new employees. That is, you need Total Talent Acquisition, TTA.

If TWO is your shopping list, TTA is the shop – and your shopping skills. Because it’s not enough to know who you need in what position; you also need to know where and how to secure the specified talent at the best price (anything short of this might warrant a brand-new acronym, TWC, Total Workforce Compromise).

So, in summary: Total Talent Management (TTM) requires you to know what is the perfect mix of hired and contingent workers (TWO) and to master recruitment in both verticals (TTA). This means getting HR and Procurement on the same page, providing everyone with transparent data on the contingent workforce, and standardising a digital workflow for accessing, benchmarking, hiring and managing all your consultants.

The importance of this can’t be overstated: on a global scale, the contingent workforce already accounts for over 40% of total labour costs at large companies, and competition for top talent – both for employment and contract work – is getting fiercer by the day.

Luckily, yet another acronym is coming to the rescue.

Vendor Management System (VMS)
For most organisations, the missing link is a Vendor Management System. This is a cloud-based, fully scalable complete solution for the organisation, hiring, management, payment and analysis of your entire contingent workforce. A VMS provides you with all the data you need for Total Workforce Optimisation, and the market access and speed you need for Total Talent Acquisition.

Vakanta’s VMS cover all these bases in one intuitive digital workflow:

  • Network
    Consolidate all vendors, create preferred suppliers and standardise your communications.
  • Find
    Target the right suppliers with the right requests, secure the best rate – and play it GDPR-safe
  • Hire
    Streamline hiring and onboarding through a uniform and efficient process.
  • Manage
    Access real-time data on all consultants and stay in control of required actions.
  • Pay
    Receive standardised invoices, streamline approvals and use flexible payments for specialised contractors.
  • Analyse
    Combine real-time data with historical records to make strategic decisions for the future.

As you can tell, Vakanta VMS not only provides you with the data and talent you need for Total Talent Management – it also saves countless manhours and ensures consistency by digitising and standardising manual tasks. And it’s not about reinventing the wheel. We’ve developed Vakanta VMS in close collaboration with some of Sweden’s most innovative companies, digitising the manual procedures that are already second nature to hiring managers and procurement officers.

Breaking through to Total Talent Management
So, what gives? Why doesn’t every organisation use a solution such as Vakanta VMS? Why doesn’t every organisation master Total Talent Management? In our experience, there are three main reasons:

The first is that organisations don’t know what they’re missing. If you’ve never seen the wealth of data, and the strategic and purchasing power a VMS provides, you can’t tell how much room for improvement there is. Things seem to plod along reasonably well anyway, so you do… nothing.

The second is that there is no given project owner when it comes to implementing a VMS. The question straddles hiring managers, project managers, HR and Procurement, and everyone’s responsibility easily becomes no one’s responsibility. Especially when there are ad-hoc, individual “systems” in place (Excel sheets, CVs in various folders, personal contact lists…) – no one wants to rock the boat.

The third reason is that VMS, Vendor Management System, is an unfortunate term. It conjures images of yet another piece of complex digital infrastructure on top of your already tall tech stack. (That’s why, at Vakanta, we’re using the term “VMS” less and less, instead describing what our solution represents: an intuitive digital workflow that seamlessly integrates into your ecosystem of business applications.)

With the contingent workforce becoming increasingly critical to value creation, you cannot afford to let such psychological and cultural barriers get in the way of Total Talent Management.

It’s time to break down the silos between hiring managers, HR and Procurement.

Be the one who dares speak up.