28th August 2020
Build or Buy? What’s your Underlying Talent Strategy
“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” Michael Porter
While Talent Management always requires trade-offs, the heart of your strategy must be grounded in either Building Talent or Buying it in. There is no right or wrong or good or bad in this decision. Both paths are equally valid. Both have Pros and Cons. The strategy trap is being caught in the middle and not pursuing either path effectively.
“Strategy is just a fancy word for coming up with a long-term plan and putting it into action.” Ellie Pidot
And in practice no talent strategy is 100% Build or Buy. There is always a dynamic to manage. The table below outlines just a few of the considerations that come into play in making a choice on where to focus.
“Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy.” Jimmy Spithill
The key to success in talent management is to choose a strategy, stick to it, ensure that you stay ahead of the game, and that you differentiate your organisation from your competition for talent.
While there is no ‘right or wrong’ strategy, there is good or bad execution of strategy. What’s more, even if your strategy is to build talent, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to recruit well. And vice versa.
Staying ahead of the game also means having the discipline and capability to objectively review your performance and make decisions on how to revitalise your execution.
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Winston Churchill
Your underlying Build strategy is effective if can say ‘Yes’ to the following (and “I don’t know’ is a ‘No’)
- You recruit externally for less than 10% of your senior roles, and
- Your ‘Promotion and Development Move’ rate is in the range of 15% to 20%, and
- You allocate more people and financial resource to employee development than recruitment, and
- Your Succession Plan has a ‘Ready Now’ candidate for every critical role.
Your underlying Buy strategy is effective if can say ‘Yes’ to the following (and “I don’t know’ is a ‘No’)
- You have pools of great external talent identified and ready to bring in as required, and
- Recruitment is primarily ‘proactive’, and you hire great people just to get them onboard, and
- Your managers are all great talent scouts and can ‘sell’ the organisation to recruits, and,
- Your employment brand is attractive to the best talent.
If you answered ‘No’ to any of the statements related to your talent strategy maybe it is time to pause, take stock and reframe your approach.
“In reality strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell.” Jack Welch
If you feel your organisation may be in a talent strategy trap and would like to have an open-ended discussion on how you might sharpen your strategy and supporting processes, feel free to get in touch.