Leveraging Build, Borrow, or Buy Strategies for Effective Upskilling and Reskilling Initiatives

In today’s rapidly evolving professional landscape, the need for upskilling and reskilling has become imperative for organisations to thrive. Learning and Development (L&D) managers, alongside Heads of HR, face the crucial task of strategising effective methods to address skill gaps within their workforce. One approach gaining traction in this domain is the ‘Build, Borrow, or Buy’ strategy, offering a versatile framework for driving successful upskilling and reskilling programs.

Understanding the ‘Build, Borrow, or Buy’ Strategy


Building skills internally involves nurturing existing talent through training, mentorship, and internal mobility programs. This approach emphasises investing in employees’ development by offering relevant courses, workshops, and resources tailored to their career paths. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, organisations empower their workforce to grow and adapt to changing industry demands.

Leveraging ‘Build’ Strategy:

  • Establishing robust mentorship programs to transfer knowledge from seasoned employees to novices.
  • Creating personalised learning paths through Learning Management Systems (LMS) to cater to individual
    development needs.
  • Encouraging innovation and experimentation within teams to cultivate a culture of learning and skill acquisition.
  • Developing specific learning content for either your online or blended learning initiatives
  • Build a chatbot that adapts to the individual needs of learners, making the learning experience more
    outcome-focused and impactful.


The ‘Borrow’ strategy involves seeking external expertise on a temporary basis to address immediate skill gaps. This approach often includes hiring freelancers, consultants, or contractors with specialised skills for specific projects or time-bound assignments. It allows companies to access niche expertise without committing to long-term employment.

Utilising ‘Borrow’ Strategy:

  • Collaborating with external training providers for short-term workshops or seminars focused on specialised skills.
  • Partnering with online learning platforms to offer access to a vast repository of courses and certifications.
  • Engaging subject matter experts for targeted training sessions to address specific skill deficiencies.
  • Inviting guest Subject Matters Experts to provide specific insights in-house or via webinars
  • If this topic is general enough one can leverage open resources and crowdsourced knowledge


The ‘Buy’ strategy entails hiring new talent externally to fill skill gaps that cannot be fulfilled through internal development or short-term borrowing. This approach is suitable for instances where there is an immediate need for specific skills or when internal development is not feasible within the required timeframe.

Implementing ‘Buy’ Strategy:

  • Conducting strategic hiring to acquire talent possessing the required skill sets and expertise.
  • Collaborating with educational institutions for customised training programs tailored to the organisation’s needs.
  • Subscriptions to online course libraries that can fill the necessary content gaps to ensure robust learner paths
  • Offering attractive incentives and competitive packages to attract top talent from the industry.

Choosing the Right Mix: Tailoring Strategies to Your Organisation’s Needs

To maximize the effectiveness of upskilling and reskilling initiatives, L&D managers and HR heads should assess their organisations specific requirements and blend the ‘Build, Borrow, or Buy’ strategies accordingly. Here are key considerations:

  • Identify Skill Gaps: Conduct comprehensive skill gap assessments to understand the areas needing immediate attention.
  • Cultural Fit: Align the chosen strategy with the organisation’s culture and values to ensure seamless integration.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Evaluate the cost-benefit ratio of each strategy to optimise resource allocation.
  • Long-Term Vision: Balance short-term skill needs with long-term organisational goals for sustained growth.


In the dynamic landscape of upskilling and reskilling, the ‘Build, Borrow, or Buy’ strategy stands as a versatile framework for L&D managers and HR heads to navigate skill development within their organisations. By leveraging a combination of internal development, external expertise, and strategic hiring, companies can effectively address skill gaps, foster a culture of continuous learning, and stay competitive in an ever-evolving industry. Tailoring these strategies to fit the unique needs of their organisation will empower them to succeed in the future of work.


Contact us to find out how we can help you with your “BBB” strategy and planning!

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