In-House or Outsource: Considerations for Your Next Hire

If you’re like many marketing and communications departments, there comes a time when you get tasked with a new project or hit a saturation point in your current workload where you can struggle to efficiently manage your workload.

Then comes the inevitable conversation, part financial, part philosophical, mostly to answer this question: is it time to bring on more staff or outsource to a freelancer or agency.

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you mull this over:

  • Budget + TimingAccording to a study conducted by SHRM (the Society of Human Resources Management), the average cost to hire a new employee is $4,129, while the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days. Does your organization have that kind of capital and time up-front?
  • Business Case –If you’re asking yourself the inhouse or outsource question, you should also ponder if the need is temporary. Could the scope change and will the work be valuable to the organization moving forward? Hiring an agency, for example, is hiring the expertise of a collective group of people – so when things happen, chances are your account team can staff accordingly. A new hire likely will not be able to do give you that kind of flexibility.
  • Personnel – Be introspective for a second: how are YOU as a manager? Do you want to manage new hire(s), or would you rather manage one account executive? Also, and with luck this isn’t the main consideration, but it’s easier to stop an agreement with an outsourced entity than to fire an inhouse resource.
  • Optics – Quality of the work aside, will contracting out or hiring a freelancer have a negative impact on your client or customer’s perception of you and your business?
  • Contractual Obligations – Some contracts or letters of agreement have clauses that stipulate rules surrounding subcontractors. If an assignment comes up with a customer or client that has a rigid agreement, your decision may be made for you.

All of these considerations boil down to what’s right for your organization from a cost and efficiency stand point. If hiring someone is sustainable from a business perspective and you have the time to make a good hire – have at it. If you have any doubts, then negotiate a contact with a freelancer or partner organization and test the waters before making a longer-term agreement.

Casey Prentice

A self-proclaimed organizational junkie and data geek who confesses to a secret desire to be a professional organizer, Casey enjoys account management, writing, editing and digital content strategy. Her agency work has helped clients like Virginia’s Community Colleges, VCUarts and Swedish Match.

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