Solving the talent shortage with the Triple B strategy

Build, Buy, Borrow with on-demand talent 

By Kevin MacIntyre, Content Lab

The talent shortage is real and businesses are searching for strategies to find and retain the employees they need to grow their businesses and meet their goals.

According to research by Manpower Group, 41 percent of the organizations surveyed stated that they cannot find the talent they need for their organization. 

Shortages affecting large and small business

Large organizations (250+ employees) are struggling. More than half (58%) of organizations surveyed said they could not find the talent they needed. 

Small and medium-sized businesses – the drivers of the Canadian economy – are also grappling with shortages. Even before the pandemic, 40 percent of SMEs identified skill shortages as a major competitive challenge.

Typically, human resource departments have focussed on attracting and retaining permanent, full-time employees to build and maintain talent pipelines.

But with changes in demographics, technology and accelerating business cycles, this approach isn’t meeting the needs of organizations that require highly-skilled talent for projects that must be completed on rapid timelines.

The Triple B approach blends talent acquisition strategies

Companies are employing the Build, Buy, Borrow strategy to overcome talent shortages to improve pipelines for relevant talent.

  1. Build  this involves developing talent within the organization. Internal candidates can be trained and up-skilled for new roles. The advantage of this is that they already know the organization and the sector/ecosystem of the business.
  2. Buy – the employer seeks talent outside the organization to fill roles that cannot be curated internally. This allows organizations to source to source specialized skillsets available from experienced talent. This is a faster route to solving talent challenges because candidates are already experienced.
  3. Borrow – organizations restructure to normalize the hiring of external contractors. They develop relationships with communities of on-demand talent and organizations that have access to this talent. These workers are available for projects and interim roles and work part-time, freelance, and on contract. This complements existing skillsets within the organization.


The hidden workforce can help businesses encountering talent shortages

Organizations that blend project workers with permanent employees get the best of both worlds: highly-skilled expertise with continuity. 

Manpower Group also found that 56 percent of organizations studied are seeking talent from different age ranges and geographies.

The Triple B approach to talent building addresses this by leveraging “boomerang” workers who have left positions after long careers. Many of these people return to work on a project-by-project basis on term contracts. 

This cohort is sometimes identified as the hidden workforce. It is a rich resource that businesses can tap to acquire experienced workers with in-demand skill sets.

See the Manpower Group study here. is an on-demand business talent source. Clients with an immediate need for experienced talent trust us to source professionals for project, interim and part-time roles. Each professional in our national database has more than 20 years of business experience. We provide our clients two-four vetted professionals in 10 business days or less

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