Introduction To Hybrid Outsourcing
If your business survived the pandemic, then by now, you must have your entire operation seamlessly running remotely with the help of tools like Zoom, Slack, teamwork, and a plethora of others.
A scenario where you’re at home managing an entire workforce from the palm of your hand, while let’s say, a website developer from your team is cranking code from some cafe place, is no stranger to you. You’re not alone.
Remote Is The New Norm
We have grown accustomed to doing what we need to do from anywhere with the help of technology. Post-pandemic employers that mandate attendance for digital employees are often considered as micromanagers by younger generations which contributes to low employee retention. So to grow your company with quality talent, you must keep your good talent happy, and in post-pandemic terms, this means remote work must be available.
The ability to adapt to a remote working environment enables you to attract and retain talent and opens up opportunities to tap out and either outsource segments of your company or hire freelancers because working with outside providers is now precisely the same as working with your employees, remote.
Pros and cons for hiring an employee vs. tapping for outside help
First, when hiring an in house employee, you must pay a salary regardless of production, so if you have a slow month, you may be upside on employee salary. In contrast, if you were to contract an outside provider for the same job, assuming they offer on-demand service, then during a slow month, you would save portions of the salary that you would have paid the employee.
Another clear benefit of this scenario is avoiding expenses such as benefits, 401k, bonuses, medical, company laptop, furniture, etc. Hiring an employee will incur these costs while contracting a professional will not.
There are more benefits for contracting with a professional such as avoiding training, firing, resigning, sick days, and all the other fun stuff you get to have with your employees.
The benefits of having ” yours ” employees are things like company culture, often physical meetings, and the ability to micromanage. And as we all grew through the pandemic to understand that the latter two are a thing of the past, then a company culture is the only real sacrifice to make when shifting segments to outsourcing, competing with a long list of benefits.
An outside contractor would not contribute to company culture as much as an employee because “you” don’t have as much stake in them as you do with an employee. In other words, you are responsible for a portion of the contractor’s revenue only, vs. 100% of your employee’s income, so naturally, psychologically, and monetarily your employee is 100% dependent on you, and they have everything to lose if they don’t deliver. You basically “own your employee.” This in itself has pros and cons.
And yes some companies would be nowhere without their culture, and some companies offer office environments that are out of this world. Hence, people just want to be in the office every day, but let’s admit, most office environments are pretty ordinary. At best offers mediocre lifestyle compared to Google and Facebook. Hence, people actually prefer working from home (and post-pandemic, rightfully so, after proving the ability to consistently deliver without a mandated attendance to an office building).
The question to ask is how influential is culture to your company
In most cases, a company will have a hard time sustaining and thriving with no culture at all. And the answer for most companies is a hybrid outsourcing solution that complements and enhances existing internal teams.
For example, say you are a marketing agency, and you sell websites to local businesses, and you have a team of in-house web developers, the hybrid solution will then call to keep the in-house developers’ team as-is and hire an outside web developer to use on-demand for when you have a spike in sales or to be able to offer more website related products that the in house developers don’t have enough skills for.
The idea is that your team knows what the outside provider can do and tap into them on-demand for certain tasks or projects. You may want to review and approve outsourcing requests from your team until you get comfortable or as a streamlined process. Before approving an outsourcing request, you can also request an estimated cost/time for a task or project from your outside provider.
Keeping your in-house developers’ team while expanding it only when you need assistance from outsourcing will allow you to keep your company culture and enjoy a degree of the benefits of outsourcing.
A hybrid solution is an “insurance policy” for your IT team.
What happens if one of your in-house developers decides to take on a better job? You are short 50% in your production capabilities. What about the amount of time it’ll now take you to find, hire, and train a new employee? Ugh. These are much less of a worry if you have a hybrid solution in place.
The hybrid solution success relies on your in-house team being in the driver’s seat. They can shut off access to everything for any provider within seconds (there’s an app for that), but as necessary is that to the outside provider, they are both the voice of the agency AND the voice of the client, and without this crucial link, the model won’t work well.
For example, let’s say you are building a new website for ABC Plumbing, and your team meets with the client to gather vision and expectations. Then later, when working with the provider, they represent the client and represent your agency’s voice and expectations. For instance, your company has a protocol for approving outsourced work and facilitating communications with external providers. They must adhere to these consistently with professionalism because they represent the business.
Avoid services that specialize in everything. You don’t want to have all your departments semi-outsourced to the same provider because then you depend on the provider. Instead, try to find a provider that focuses heavily on the service you seek to outsource.
Best of luck.