There has been a lot of talk recently about how “this market” has fundamentally changed how work gets done. Companies are hiring less and outsourcing more because they don’t want the commitment (and the overhead) that full-time employees bring to the bottom line, especially if they are in need of a specific area of expertise, or are experiencing seasonal activity.
This approach supposedly enables managers to cherry-pick, sample, and “rent” skills – or bodies – they may not have in their respective shops – and to cut everyone loose when some perfect chunk of work is miraculously produced (or they run out of money).
This may all be true in theory but, as in most things, there is a smart way to do it, and there’s a way to do it that creates unachievable expectations, poor results, and a big hole in the budget.
Smart managers understand they may be able to outsource the arm and legs (and mouth), but the brain (and spine, for that matter) of an organization and/or department has to remain in the house, making informed decisions on overall strategy and implementation. You cannot expect a bunch of self-described experts (with their own agendas) who do not understand the core business to come in and create a masterpiece that fits your needs. The result? You will likely spend more time (that you do not have) educating your new friends and trying to patch something together, only to either fail at that or neglect the other 863 tasks that you have on your plate (which is why you needed help in the first place). Or both.
Smart managers also understand that, while a consultant can’t transfer twenty years of experience in two weeks, the right one could certainly help the company (key point: help the company) do some of the things they can’t (due to a shortage of labor, expertise, or both). When you “rent” the expertise, you also pay for the right to glean as much knowledge and insight as you can get.
In short: The most successful outsourcers maintain the accountability to get things done, utilizing the outside help to guide, teach…and do some of the work.
David is a marketing communications professional with more than twenty years of leadership experience in companies of all sizes, with particular expertise in lead generation and management, marketing operations management, turnaround management, marketing/advertising, brand research and management, public relations, and communications metrics and analytics.
Specialties: Lead generation, turnaround management, marketing strategy, brand research, strategy implementation and management, crisis communications, online and offline advertising strategy and management, marketing analytics, public relations strategy and management, and media relations.