Your company’s talent strategy is directly affected by your perceptions of people — people as capital, people as resources, people as talent, and people as cost. Below are six types of talent strategies, what my coauthors, Barry Lawrence and Bharani Nagarathnam, and I call the 6 Bs, which are rooted in different propositions: Buy, Build, Borrow, Bounce, Bind, and Boost. They come from our research study for NAW called, Optimizing Human Capital Development: A Distributor’s Guide to Building Sustainable Competitive Advantage Through Talent Strategy.

  1. Buy. This strategy is about external sourcing. In other words, instead of focusing on developing current employees, the company recruits talent from outside.
  2. Build. This strategy is the opposite of the buy strategy and focuses on internal sourcing. In other words, the company focuses on building its talent pipeline from within.
  3. Borrow. This is a strategy commonly known as outsourcing. Unlike the buy strategy, the company hires temporary/seasonal employees as a solution for meeting its time-sensitive or short-term needs.
  4. Bounce. This is an outplacing strategy that can take two formats: voluntary and involuntary. Examples of voluntary outplacing include retirement and departure for a different employer. Involuntary outplacing, however, is often the result of the unsatisfactory performance demonstrated by an employee, leading to his or her dismissal by the employer.
  5. Bind. This strategy focuses on employee retention. These days, companies offer a diversity of incentives/rewards/recognition programs in an attempt to retain their top performers.
  6. Boost. This is a strategy for promotion. Employee promotion takes various forms. In addition to traditional hierarchical progression, today’s organizations are actively seeking innovative ways of promoting their employees. The ideas of job enrichment, job enlargement, job rotation, and high-potential development programs fit into this category.

So, which talent strategy has your company adopted? What is the value underpinning your strategy decisions? There is no right or wrong talent strategy, since each organization faces different issues that are context sensitive. The key is to know what you want to achieve and find the best talent strategy to get you there.