Filling Your Talent Needs with “Build” Recruiting Tactics


This is the second post in a 3-part series by HR Bartender, Sharlyn Lauby. Sharlyn breaks down the Recruiting Strategy Tactics “Buy”, “Build”, and “Borrow”. This second post looks at how companies can leverage the “Build” tactic to meet hiring demands and what extra benefits their existing employees can gain. Enjoy!

More than half of human resources professionals are having challenges finding qualified candidates, according to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Not finding skilled talent to fill open jobs has an impact on the business. A study from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) found that 87 percent of organizations reported the skills gap was affecting their ability to deliver customer service, business growth, and service delivery. As a result, organizations are starting to focus on building the skills of their current workforce. This doesn’t mean they’re abandoning the “buy” recruiting tactic we discussed in the first part of this series. Far from it. But it does mean that relying solely on bringing talent in from the outside might not accomplish organizational goals. Building talent from within the organization is the second part of our three-part series on recruiting strategy.

Read Sharlyn’s First Post Here: Using a “Buy” Recruiting Tactic to Find Talent

The Pros and Cons to “Building” Talent

Organizations that focus on building talent can concentrate on building the skills and experience they need. It’s an incredibly good use of organizational resources. For that reason, building talent can be less expensive than buying it.

Building talent is also great for employee morale, which can have a positive impact on employee engagement. Employees want to know that the organization is willing to invest in their success. They like to see their hard work (and the hard work of others) recognized.

On the downside, building talent can take a while. Chances are the skills and experiences you want employees to learn aren’t quick to master. That doesn’t mean they can’t; it simply means that it takes time. It also means that companies need to have a clear sense of what they need. This can be incredibly difficult to identify. Many industries are moving so fast to keep up, that they struggle to know what they will need six months from now much less two years from now. That impacts their ability to develop internal talent.

Read: Brand Building from the Inside Out

When to Use a “Build” Strategy

First and foremost, a build recruiting tactic will work best when the organization’s goals allow for a long-term development plan. For example, if the business knows that over the next decade, they will shift from ABC to XYZ. This allows them time to identify the skills that employees currently have, the ones they will need, and a path to bridge the gap. It also allows them to allocate resources over time to address skills gaps and needs.

The build tactic also works very well when the workforce is stable. Obviously, organizations don’t want to train and develop people so they will leave. That being said, this isn’t a discussion about zero turnover. There will always be some sort of turnover. Organizations cannot be afraid to develop talent for fear of being poached. In fact, the opposite is true – developing talent is a way to engage and retain employees.

Finally, the build tactic works to help the company develop their succession plan. According to the HR People + Strategy Executive Network, two-thirds of U.S. public and private companies admit they have no formal succession plans in place for senior management. It only seems logical that, if companies aren’t planning for the departure of senior executives, they’re probably not dedicating significant resources toward succession planning (or replacement planning) for the rest of the organization.


“Build” Your Talent

Organizations need to plan for the eventuality that the remainder of the Baby Boomer generation is going to leave the workplace. Pew Research reports that 10,000 people each day turn of retirement age. While they’re not all leaving at the same time… someday, they will leave. The best time to think about the future of talent in your organization is when you can address it proactively.

Even if you’re sourcing and selecting the best candidates right now, at some point, you might need to consider a build strategy. It’s better to think about it now because it takes time to develop and see the results. Plan ahead and put build tactics in place long before you need them.

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