Buy, build or borrow?

Two-thirds of employers’ report that some employees lack the skills to do their job well, according to a Summer 2022 survey by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, and only one-in-five firms are confident that everyone in their organisation is fully skilled.

In the context of a red-hot labour market, it is increasingly apparent that employers are often having to choose the best available candidates rather than those who fully meet the brief. Over half of employers surveyed report difficulties hiring due to the lack of candidates with the preferred level of skills, qualifications, or experience.

This provides a dilemma. No one wants to turn away business, but how should organisations approach resourcing given these limitations?

Buy, build, or borrow is a straightforward decision-making matrix that can help Essex business leaders to approach this topic:

• Should we build capability by developing the skills of our existing people?
• Should we buy new skills by hiring fresh talent into the organisation?
• Should we borrow these skills on a short-term basis through contract workers or outsourcing?

Beyond these three core options, there are a series of secondary considerations that can optimise how each organisation uses the skills available to it:

• Is it possible to automate tasks or roles affected by skills gaps?
• Can tasks be performed remotely?
• How do we retain those with the most important skills?
• How do we maximise the contribution from key performers and rising stars?

Both ‘buy’ and ‘borrow’ approaches are limited by the availability of skills at an affordable price, so ‘build’ becomes the optimum solution by widening the pool of talent available and providing a clear roadmap to increased skills availability.

At Pitman Training, we are increasingly collaborating with our clients to answer these questions and help expand the range of skills available to them.

This partnership approach enables organisations to hire fresh talent based on attitude and potential, with upskilling to address skills gaps built into onboarding approaches for new hires.

Our clients can ensure that new colleagues receive structured training to achieve globally recognised qualifications and certification, plus ongoing coaching to translate potential into performance. Blending formal training with social and experiential workplace learning activities provides the most effective combination for long-lasting performance improvement.

From a commercial perspective, the overall balance of salary, talent acquisition and skills development costs can make this an attractive proposition for addressing talent and skills shortages, improving workforce skills, and boosting staff retention.

Locally at Amazon in Tilbury, Pitman Training are supporting the creation of the next generation of software developers and data analysts. This approach provides Amazon employees with high quality tech education on a flexible part-time basis so that they can progress to more sophisticated roles within their chosen career path.

If your business has a talent and skills challenge that needs a fresh approach, we’re here to help. An exploratory conversation with our workforce development specialists can help identify whether we’re able to help get new skills into your business faster.