Business owners are known for wearing many hats, taking on multiple roles, and completing a wide range of tasks in order to keep their company running smoothly. This is especially true of small business owners, who often lack the manpower and overall resources to have designated employees or teams to handle certain jobs. Yet even as a company grows and the number of employees increases, there will be times when a business owner will need to look outside of their company in order to fulfill all of their needs. In cases like this, companies will often turn to outside professionals to make up the difference, utilizing their specialized skills in order to fill the gaps that their existing employees cannot.
However, outsourcing is not always the best option, and with certain tasks, it is preferable to either use existing employees or to implement automation.
The Costs & Benefits of Hiring Outside Professionals
When it comes to outsourcing, the main benefits are the savings involved, both in regard to money and time. Though hiring outside professionals is more expensive in the short-term than relying on in-house employees, in the long run, it is typically less costly. This is because it does not require you to invest in training and allows employees to focus more on core aspects of the business. Also, while an outside team might lack the firsthand knowledge of a company’s inner workings, sometimes having an outside perspective can be exactly what is needed to reinvigorate a business or identify a problem that the regular lock-and-file employees didn’t know was there. Research has continually pointed to diversity as being a key ingredient for innovation and business growth, so just having those additional viewpoints can help with problem-solving and encourage innovative thinking.
One thing to keep in mind though is that this outsider viewpoint can also potentially be a problem. You should always be cautious when hiring an outside professional, as there are plenty out there who produce subpar work, focusing more on speed and quantity rather than overall quality. Granted, if someone is trained in a particular skill or area of knowledge, you can usually expect that they will do a better job than an employee with no experience in this type of work. Still, the quality of outsourced work will ultimately depend on the companies that you work with, so it is essential for you to be selective and do your research before deciding to hire someone.
The Costs & Benefits of Staying “In-House”
The most immediate benefit to sticking with existing employees over hiring outsiders is obvious: putting a company employee on a job will often cost less than whatever an experienced professional is charging, at least in the short term. Plus, an in-house team is always going to have the added benefit of first-hand knowledge of your brand and services, along with just how things are typically run. An outside just isn’t going to have that first-hand knowledge, which can potentially lead to conflicts. This is especially true in customer service positions, as an outsider’s lack of brand knowledge can lead to a negative experience and a bad reputation for a company.
That being said, even though there are certain positions that are best suited to in-house employees, it is virtually impossible to build a team that is fully trained and experienced enough to handle any possible project you encounter. There will almost always be a situation where you need a certain skill or area of expertise and nobody on your team is capable of filling that need. True, you could put in the time to conduct research and educate yourself, or to have someone who works for you do so, but this is time that could go into other facets of the business. It is up to you to decide whether the money saved from staying in-house is worth the lost time that goes into education or R&D.
What Is The Best Choice For Your Situation?
As Wakanow CEO Obinna Ekezie once wrote, the three “vital factors” when it comes to in-house hiring and outsourcing are “cost, expertise, and flexibility.” These main elements will be your guideposts for whether or not outsourcing is worthwhile. There are some scenarios in which staying in-house is the better option, but if you and your team do not have the necessary experience and the task at hand cannot be effectively automated, than it is at least worth considering the option of hiring outside professionals. It might with additional expenses in the short term, but if the task at hand is important, you are saving yourself money in the long term by making sure that it is handled with the care and expertise of a professional.