On his blog, Steve Boese recently shared a chart showing the actual number of job openings in the U.S. As much as we talk about the recruiting market becoming a challenge, we can see the stats to back it up. Which raises the question, when organizations need to acquire talent, what’s the best method?
Typically, a company has three options to choose from: buy, build, or borrow. They can “buy” talent – meaning hire someone as an employee. They can “build” talent – which involves training employees to assume those responsibilities. Or they can “borrow” talent – suggesting that they would find a freelancer or consultant to do the work. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of them.
BUY the talent necessary to be successful (i.e. hire an employee)
Advantage: A new employee brings fresh eyes, skills (ideally) and ideas to the organization.
Disadvantage: Depending upon the position, it can be expensive not only to find the candidates but in terms of salary, relocation, perks and bonuses.
BUILD the talent within the organization (i.e. train employees to do the work)
Advantage: Investing in current employees can have a positive impact on corporate culture.
Disadvantage: Training takes time. This has to be considered.
BORROW the talent when needed (i.e. find a consultant or contractor)
Advantage: This is a great option for specialty or niche work and can be very cost-effective.
Disadvantage: It’s important to keep even “on-call” talent engaged. Otherwise they won’t be there for you when you need them.
The decision to build, borrow or buy comes down to two factors: time and resources. Organizations with limited time might not be in a position to build talent. Companies with limited budgets might not be able to buy the talent they need.
Companies that want to have options when it comes to talent need to start thinking about their current and future skills needs. And plan accordingly. For example, if the organization wants to build their own talent pipelines then they have to start planning for how they are going to actually do that. It might involve replacement planning, succession planning, talent pools, training resources, dedicated training staff, etc. You get the point.
There’s a terrific book called “Build, Borrow or Buy: Solving the Growth Dilemma” by Laurence Capron and Will Mitchell. While the book talks about acquiring talent during organizational growth, the same principles apply when you’re just trying to find the best talent period.
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The companies that will win the talent wars are the ones that will have the most options. They will build, borrow, and buy talent. They won’t let time or resources dictate the outcome because they’re planning for it right now.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby