I’m definitely a fan of outsourcing. My business model kind of depends on other people liking it too!
That’s not to say that everything can be outsourced. On the contrary, I think there’s a number of jobs that shouldn’t leave the realm of employees. Here they are:
Jobs Within Your Organization’s Core Competencies
If you say you’re the best at what you do, you shouldn’t have someone outside your organization doing it for you. Here’s an example: What if you found out that I didn’t build the website you’re reading this off of? If I linked to the developer, it would basically turn my entire website into an ad for a competitor. If I didn’t, I would be lying by omission to potential clients by implying that my contractor’s skills were my own. Whew, good thing I built this thing myself!
Your business’ core competencies are the things you’re willing to invest in doing well yourself. Hiring specialists as employees will ensure they stick around and can constantly work on improving your organization’s expertise.
Jobs Where Knowing the Organization is Necessary
I like to think of myself as a decent writer, but I do everything within my power to avoid writing copy for clients.* One thing I’ve learned is that it usually takes about four times as long for an outsider to accurately portray a company/product/brand etc. than it would take for someone within the company to describe the same thing.
Even when I write content for clients, I have to make sure it gets approved by someone within the company before it goes live in case I’ve misunderstood some aspect their product or service. Long story short – You need someone inside your company to make sure what’s written about your company is accurate.
*Copy editing for SEO is another story!
Jobs That Interact with the Public on Your Behalf
I’ll make sure your Facebook page looks great and is full of helpful information, but I’m not going to write any posts for you. Both tasks deal with Facebook, but one is social media branding while the other is public relations.
Simply put, outsourcing public relations is a bad idea. Since I don’t know the organization as well as any employee would, I’m one of the least qualified people to tell people about what’s going on! Social media is also where people air their grievances and expect a response within an hour. I would do your brand a disservice, and save you no effort, if I called in any time anyone submitted a complaint. On the other hand, I could only provide vague non-answers to complaints myself if I fielded the complaints without contacting anyone.
Otherwise, it’s worth considering whether or not you really need to add someone else to your payroll just to solve a problem.
Do you have any outsourcing horror stories to share? Have you successfully outsourced any of the kinds of jobs I mentioned? Let me know in a comment!