Engagement - HR Strategy

Hire Versus Build

Which talent strategy is best for our company? Should talent be directly bought? Or should it be consciously built and developed within the organisation?

Jul 06 2020

  • Talent is one of the most important assets of an organisation, it's key to define its strategy.

  • Every company could need some level of hiring to achieve success.

  • Part of the HR strategy is to find a balance between build and hire, including freelancers and consultants.

If all companies could bring back time and choose an ideal scenario when becoming a start-up, I am pretty sure it would be to count with the right people with the right skillset at their initial stages to guarantee that as the company evolved and their business expanded, the impact of these early-stages hires would flourish, too.

Talent is one of the most important assets of an organisation, it needs to be correctly chosen, looked after, guided, supported, defended and preserved. Its impact is far too high.

Which talent strategy is best for our company? Should talent be directly bought? Or should it be consciously built and developed within the organisation? Essentially, hire or build?


Hiring -or buying- talent means to look for talent outside of the organisation.


  • Can provide experience and skills not currently found in the company
  • Can bring a fresh set of eyes and a brand new perspective in the organisation. This new perspective could be the solution to previous problems not possibly fixed before.
  • Contributes to initiating a new way of thinking. It is not something new to hear that employees with years in the organisation might not be able to take it to the "next stage".


  • It's costly and considering there is a high demand for top talent, companies are forced to pay expensive charges to acquire the specific skills, seniority and experience they are looking for.
  • It's a time-consuming process: connecting, meeting, screening and hiring a new worker. It even should entail a previous step where requirements, skills, education and any other attributes are defined.
  • Causes an "issue of culture", a lost in institutional knowledge. New employees don't know the company and its' culture, its' unwritten rules, customs and habits. And it takes time for them to walk the learning curve and figure out the organisation's culture.
  • Makes companies run a risk: buying talent can be interpreted as if employee development isn't valued and promoted, provoking valuable workers' decision to leave.


Building talent means to train and internally develop current employees to assume new or different responsibilities, concentrating on building their skills and experience.


  • Typically it's less expensive than hiring
  • Has a positive impact on employee engagement. Workers seize for organisations willing to invest in their development and success, and where their hard work, and the rest of the team members', is valued and recognised.
  • Contributes to developing a company's succession plan


  • Takes time. Training and development take a while. Skills and experience are not mastered immediately.
  • It's more complex than hiring. It implies to assign a considerable amount of time and resources to detect what the organisation needs, identify employees' current skills, the desirable skills for each position and the existing gaps. And later, decide the path to fulfil those gaps.
  • Requires a stable workforce and it can be risky to invest resources to develop talented workers who could leave the company.
  • Companies need to make sure they count with the appropriate infrastructure, manager's abilities, coaching and guidance to develop workers professionally.

Which option is the best? Which one should you choose?

There isn't an unequivocal resolution to the aforementioned question.

Organisations dealing with urgency might not be able to build talent.

Companies dealing with limited budgets might not be able to hire the talent they need.

Every company could need some level of hiring in their talent strategy to achieve success. Especially when they find themselves having to replace a high-level manager or experienced employee with a determined and specific knowledge, and realizing there is no one in the organisation to cover this position. Urgency and search for talent at high scales lead to hiring.


Companies must get a grip on this matter and build their talent strategy. Decide which roles will be filled with internal resources and which ones will be external. Also, analyse the balance of the workforce between full-time employees and freelancers, consultants and part-time resources. Building a talent strategy will also lead to offering clear career development, increasing employee engagement, retaining motivated workers and developing a succession plan.

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