Next-generation MSPs can transform talent management.

Talent management has transformed over time. Are we on the edge of a total talent revolution?


Talk of total talent management has been around for a number of years. But not every organisation has been able to put it into practice successfully. Historically, talent – especially contingent talent – has been sourced, recruited and managed with barriers and challenges. Generally, there have been difficulties in creating engaged and accessible talent communities with barriers to internal mobility and visibility.

There seems to be a new generation of MSPs ready to make change happen.

What is total talent management?

Total talent management aims to integrate permanent recruitment or recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) with contingent talent or managed service provider (MSP) solutions. Essentially, it creates a blended, more integrated and inclusive approach to talent management. This then allows organisations to break down some of natural barriers that stop different types of talent being matched with different types of opportunities.

An effective total management strategy enhances the ability to be more flexible and responsive to changing business and market needs. This is because organisations have the capability to fill roles efficiently and manage costs with greater agility.

A 2018 McKinsey Survey, supported by an article entitled ‘What is Total Talent Management’, explained that there are three key practices that organisations need to embrace to deliver an integrated approach to total talent management:

  1. Rapid allocation of talent—that is, being able to move people among strategic projects quickly as priorities emerge and fade.
  2. HR’s involvement in creating a positive employee experience.
  3. A strategically minded HR team.

According to the research, organisations with all three practices in place (only 17% of the sample) are vastly more likely than their peers to say that overall performance, plus total shareholder returns, has an edge on their competition.

Since 2018, the concept of total talent management has taken time to cement its status as a viable strategy. This is especially evident within HR and talent acquisition teams. So the question is, what has changed?

The impact of technology on talent management

In every aspect of recruitment, technology is making an impact. The breadth of new products, services and platforms that are disrupting the market – and the talent supply chain – is breath-taking.

For many organisations, technology is accelerating the rate of change and driving progress towards a total talent management strategy. Often, the key to unlocking the potential of new technologies is having a Managed Service Partner in place. A MSP understands technology capabilities, data management and migration challenges and provides expertise for managing integrations and implementations.

Whether you are talking about harnessing a VMS for visibility and compliance; a talent community to build external engagement and foster internal mobility; or a programmatic platform to build, optimise and drive creative attraction strategies, the technology roadmap for TA teams needs to lead to a single destination: total talent management.

The growth of talent intelligence

The growth of talent intelligence is a by-product of the acceleration in new and emerging technologies. Better data is ensuring that TA teams are better equipped to manage talent into their organisation more proactively. Teams can build a more detailed picture of the talent landscape and skills available to them, whether contingent or permanent, as well as driving more visibility and accountability through the supply chain.

Predictive analytics tools are also beginning to have a more significant impact in recruitment, empowering organisations to identify the best candidates, reduce bias and make more informed hiring decisions. It is easier, faster and more cost effective to connect the right candidates with the right opportunities – regardless of whether those candidates are contingent or permanent.

Improvements in talent intelligence and how data can be used are fuelling the drive towards total talent management.

How has the role of an MSP changed?

Organisations have the power and the opportunity to change how they hire. Yet these are also uncertain times, where decision-making is difficult and making the wrong decision can have repercussions right across the organisation. This is where MSPs need to step up and help their clients navigate through some difficult terrain.

A traditional MSP relationship is transactional and usually managed through Procurement. A new-generation MSP is proactive, technology-led and capable of leading the discussion with HR around how organisations can do more to attract, engage and retain contingent workers. Add in the capability to deliver RPO services, and fill permanent roles, and the door is opening towards a new, more agile way of building talent solutions.

Ultimately, a new kind of MSP is becoming home to a new kind of front-line recruiter. Recruitment teams are now better equipped than ever to contribute to the decisions around hiring talent at an earlier stage. With an overview of the technology, the talent communities and the skills required by the business to deliver greater strategic value, recruiters can work alongside hiring managers to understand a role and make recommendations on the best solution.


Delivering a total talent management solution is a possibility for more organisations – provided they partner with a talent solution provider that can underpin that solution with the technology, data and brand management needed to elevate and enable recruitment teams.

Moving forward, this is how MSPs will change the game. Helping their clients to harness and optimise an accessible, real-time, total talent intelligence model, while at the same time driving closer connections to both permanent and contingent workers through a unified, values-driven talent brand.

If you need support choosing the right MSP program for you, get in touch with us and we can help you.