In the current labor shortage, it can be difficult to find experienced and capable full-time employees. It may seem like there is no one left to hire, without spending large amounts of money.
Unfortunately, many businesses may not be willing to consider outsourcing certain roles as a solution to the problem. Much of the stigma attached to outsourcing has to do with overseas outsourcing, which people resent because it “takes away” jobs in the United States. However, outsourcing different roles to different companies with niched skills is becoming more and more common (and acceptable), particularly as the unemployment rate remains so low.
Outsourcing can be particularly helpful when considering staff for shorter-term projects, interim hires, or if a company doesn’t have the resources to pay for full-time work. As companies weigh the options, asking some questions about what they need will help them decide whether hiring full-time employees or an outsourcing firm are the best choice.
Is the project short-term or long-term?
The question that seems easiest to answer is how long a project will last. Is it ongoing, or is there a one-time deadline? But sometimes the situation can be more nuanced than that. Sometimes a project may seem straightforward but ends up being complicated and time-consuming.
Conversely, the project may be more straightforward than originally expected. If you need flexibility on that front, a full-time employee may not be the best option, unless similar work is available for them.
Is the project specialized or niched in some way?
As labor is already scarce, finding an employee with specific expertise can be even more difficult. In those situations, outsourcing is often the most efficient solution. Rather than try to find someone that will commit to your company for only a certain period of time, the consultant you hire can be available for as long as you need, until you no longer require those specialized services. You’re no longer limited by employee availability.
Are there competent professionals available for hire?
Availability obviously plays a huge role in whether you choose to hire someone or outsource to a firm or service provider. Some projects or positions only require unskilled labor, which is relatively easy to come by. But sometimes individuals in a certain field are more in demand than others.
Another factor that plays into competency is whether the individual is cut out for a company’s culture and atmosphere. It can take a long time to find someone that is qualified, but sometimes it takes even longer to find someone qualified and compatible with the company. According to USA Today’s Eric Titner, hiring someone incompatible with the company’s culture can be counterproductive, and waste time.
Even if you’re looking for a long-term employee, you can outsource until you find the right fit, which could take a while, depending on what you’re looking for.
Can the company afford the onboarding and training costs of a new hire?
A new hire is an investment for your company, that’s not in question. But sometimes that investment can turn out bad. According to Forbes’s Ryan Craig, bad hires can cost almost a quarter of a million dollars. Even when a hire doesn’t go bad, it can still cost quite a bit of money to get someone hired and trained. If you have the resources, and the project is long-term, it’s probably worth it, but if not, you may have to outsource.
Does the project have a quick deadline?
If the deadline is approaching before you’ve even recruited the talent you need, that’s a problem. It can take a lot longer to get a new employee up to speed than you may have time for. When you have a rapidly approaching deadline, bringing in solid outsourcing partners can be a strong solution.
Ultimately, both hiring and outsourcing are useful to most businesses, but having a process in place to determine which kind of labor you need is crucial in getting your company the help it needs.