To Hire or to Outsource?

To hire or to outsource? With increasing pressure on budgets many employers have been forced to make staff redundant or have had a freeze on headcount……………………..

Most employers are aware of the huge financial and legal obligations when hiring a ‘permanent’ employee but it’s also a common perception that the employee is equally committed and will have some level of loyalty. Equally, because the financial/legal risks of hiring a consultant are smaller, companies sometimes assume that the consultant will be less committed to them than a permanent employee.

Both these assumptions are wrong – some employees flit happily from job to job leaving a trail of incompetent work and disappointed managers in their wake.  And because it’s so much more difficult to fire an employee many managers out up with below par work from their staff because they’re too scared to start any form of disciplinary action. What good is loyalty if your loyal employees don’t actually have the right skills for the job or their previously useful skills have been overtaken by the market?

Consultants live with the constant awareness that a client can terminate their contract at any time, with no comeback. Sometimes they don’t even get paid! It’s therefore in their interests to dot he best possible job they can for their client – to make sure they get asked back next time and to ensure the client succeeds so they can hire them again and will pass the consultants name onto their own contacts.

A more constructive approach, rather than the decision being purely a short term financial one, is to look at the actual job that needs to be done, the skills it requires and the immediate business environment. So, it might be appropriate to hire a permanent employee if:

  • The role you need to fill is an ongoing one that you can see a requirement for stretching over a year or more You’re willing to invest time and money in developing the person you hire so they can progress to more challenging roles on the future
  • Your business is mature enough to provide the right support structures eg. Training, supervision
  • You’re willing to take time to recruit the right person for the role and wait for them to leave their former employee

Alternatively you may want to look for consultancy/interim support when:

  • The task/project involved is short-term of the work load could fluctuate
  • The project requires specialist skills or knowledge that is unlikely to be available in the permanent employee market
  • You need someone experienced  who will be able to do the job without much support
  • You need someone who can take an external, objective view of the project
  • You need to have someone working on the project very quickly

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