Why our TLIA community are focusing on workforce technology in 2023

Anita Underwood Anita Underwood Director, Service Delivery, EMEA

In 2022, we held our first in-person Talent Leadership in Action (TLIA) events in over two years! Not only was it great to welcome so many brilliant procurement, HR, and business leaders back to The Shard in London, it showed how sharing challenges and ideas can be incredibly powerful. As Kelly’s Richard Bradley (our amazing TLIA host) put it, “We haven’t got all the answers. But what I think is really, really cool is we’re going away knowing the right questions or better questions to ask.”

One of the topics that we kept returning to during both our October and December 2022 events was workforce technology – as a tool to aid workforce planning, to connect with talent and to support hybrid and remote workforces. When we asked attendees how hybrid work is impacting their workforce plans, they told us they were “creating seamless technology to power hybrid working”, “exploring new tech hubs to access new talent pools”, “investing in collaborative technology”, and even “embracing metaverse working”.

It’s clear that workforce technology is high on leaders’ priority lists for 2023, but what does this look like in practice? In this blog, I explore the ways technology tools could enable easier access to contingent talent and support collaborative working.

Simplifying access to talent

Access to talent remains a key challenge for leaders as we head into 2023. Worker priorities and mindsets have shifted. As Ollie Henderson, Founder of Future Work/Life, put it during our October TLIA event, “Things have fundamentally shifted and with that – expectations for talent have all changed.” This means that finding ways to increase meaningful access to talent has never been more important, and it’s where workforce technology can be game-changing. A technology-driven managed service provider (MSP) solution that connects organisations with a broad community of leading suppliers who understand their niches, understand local talent markets, and have up-to-the-minute rate analysis can be transformative in accessing great contingent talent. At KellyOCG, we combine the latest workforce technology and deep industry knowledge to build MSP solutions with customised tech stacks that match the needs of the organisations they serve – connecting them with a curated supplier community and making it easier to access hard-to-find talent.

Anticipating trends and analysing performance

Another key use for workforce technology in 2023 will be anticipating trends and analysing past performance. But these tools must be implemented in a way that meaningfully supports agile workforce planning. As TLIA speaker Adam Gibson – Strategic Workforce Planning Lead, E&Y, and author of Agile Workforce Planning – put it, “With an agile workforce planning approach, we’ve got to deliver. The aim of workforce planning is not to deliver a plan; the aim of workforce planning is to deliver the right workforce.” It’s one of the reasons that we have built powerful analytics capability into our one-stop talent portal, Helix UX, helping our clients to understand in granular detail what’s serving them, where they can make meaningful changes, and how they can plan for future workforce needs. With the right analytics capability, an MSP solution can act as ‘one source of truth’, supporting the shift towards a total talent approach and helping leaders and organisations make smarter workforce decisions.

Supporting smaller organisations

For a long time, workforce technology – particularly MSP solutions – has focused on enterprise organisations, seeing smaller and medium size businesses miss out on access to powerful workforce tools. But this picture is changing fast, and now those companies with a contingent workforce of even 100 to 200 people can access the visibility and flexibility that a great MSP programme provides. What’s more, those leaders who are early adopters of new-wave MSP technology could see themselves winning out on access to skills compared to their competitors. At KellyOCG, we are always looking for new ways to support organisations, and we’ve collaborated with the latest generation of workforce technology providers to develop KellyOCG Go MSP, a fast-moving, technology-driven MSP solution designed for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Encouraging collaboration

Many of our conversations with clients over the past months have been around returning to office working vs hybrid and the practicalities of remote work. The truth is the technology already exists for remote and hybrid work to be successful, and it’s been around for a while now. (Though virtual tools like the metaverse may transform collaboration in the future.) Today, it’s about utilising technology effectively to engage and support workers in a way that makes sense for the individual and organisation, while ensuring on-site time has real purpose. Barry Matthews, Open Assembly & CTW, spoke about “heads up”, “heads down”, and “heads together” work at our October event, and that really resonated with the room. If you can focus on doing “heads together” work in person while using tech tools and a hybrid approach to make the other types of work as easy as possible, you’re likely to keep talent engaged for longer. Simply, the remote and hybrid working tools businesses need are already out there; it’s workplace culture that needs to catch up.

Workforce technology continues to grow and evolve, and the pace of change can feel staggeringly fast at times. So, it’s important to remember that technology investment only works when it’s combined with industry know-how and people focus. Technology alone can’t elevate strategic workforce planning if there isn’t an inherent understanding of the people you’re trying to engage and the direction you’re heading in. But fear of failure shouldn’t stop organisations exploring new ideas and looking for that next trailblazing tool. As Ollie Henderson explained, “The most successful companies are those that innovate, that iterate – they’re testing and learning. They’re actually failing just as often as they’re succeeding.”

How will you use new technology to bring your workforce strategy to life in 2023?

I’m already excited to hear more from our brilliant TLIA speakers and members in 2023. If you’re not already a part of TLIA, I’d encourage you to check it out – it’s an exclusive community that brings together senior procurement, HR, talent acquisition, and operational leaders from across Europe to network, learn, and discuss big workforce issues. You can learn more and find out about our next event here.


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