It is not uncommon for companies to outsource tasks pertaining to administration, sales, marketing and human resources. In most cases, with HR tasks, it is easier to hire external professionals to file taxes, recruit applicants, hire new employees and manage all payroll-related duties.
If you have not yet thought about whether you should outsource these tasks or trust others to manage them via outsourcing, there is no better time than the present. If you are not sure whether it is best for you to handle these tasks on behalf of your own company, keep reading to better understand the pros and cons of outsourcing your ho-hum tasks at work.
Taking the plunge
If you are still trying to decide whether to outsource some if not most of your work-related tasks, ask yourself the following questions as you explore the possibility of outsourcing:
Is the task I am thinking about outsourcing considered a primary service or core offer of my business? If so, it is wise to allocate the completion of this duty internally.
Does the task potentially result in a competitive advantage for my business? If the answer is yes, do not outsource this task.
Will outsourcing this task free up time that my team can spend on far more profitable activities?
Will it cost my business less in the long run to outsource this task rather than hire additional internal personnel?
Is the task a one-time duty or will it be a recurring task that I need someone to tend to on a regular basis?
Some advantages of outsourcing are as follows:
- Saves money, time, labor and the costs of hiring or training employees.
- Is economically efficient.
- Offers the opportunity to have tasks completed by specialists.
- Delegates individual tasks to one person.
- Has faster turnaround times.
Here are some downsides to consider:
- Inconsistent standards.
- Lack of adherence to deadlines.
- Potentially less transparency overall.
- Inconsistent or subpar communication.
- Communication across multiple time zones.
- Likely few or no face-to-face meetings.
- Compromises team morale in some cases.
- No personal investment in the overall success of your business as an outsourcer.
A real partnership
The most successful outsourcing relationships emulate business partnerships. A general rule of thumb is that you should establish agreed-upon standards, predetermined deliverables and concrete metrics so that the work performed by those you outsource to does not fall short of expectations. No matter whether you hire a freelancer or outsource to a professional IT team, milestones are imperative, as are benchmarks.
Also, if your specific goals are accurately measured, attacking additional targets later on or adding more tasks to the mix will be easy. Plus, you will be able to measure their rates of success as well. It all comes down to defining a framework and then putting it into practice.
Once the framework is in place, make an effort to monitor your partnerships with the outsourced individuals over time. Take the time to review their work consistently enough to ensure that their efforts are yielding positive benefits for your business.
Also, continue to update the processes that are in place the same way you would when reviewing an employee in your office. Exchange updates, discuss the details of what has been accomplished thus far and have conversations about how effectively the work was done. Always ask yourself whether there are tasks that can be managed more smoothly or accomplished with greater efficiency as well.
Running a tight ship
You might not have what it takes to execute your company’s current workload with those who currently work for the business.
So let’s suppose you want to onboard people who, together, can create a full team of hires to tackle all the work that must be done. This may sound ideal, but it could be rather unrealistic to bring new employees on board as quickly as you need their help. Not only will it take several months to hire everyone, but it will also take another handful of months to train them and teach them how operations work.
However, when you outsource, the process of onboarding help is far faster. You could be looking at weeks, if not days, as opposed to multiple months.
Plus, those who work as outsourcers likely already have considerable experience in the field anyway, which they have gained over the years from serving clients with businesses similar to yours. In other words, you can both scale up with speed and scale down safely without putting emotional tolls on your business.
The goal is to take mundane tasks off of your employees’ to-do lists, which is ultimately a win-win for not only your firm but for your employees as well, because doing so will free them from having to focus on mind-numbing and boring activities. In turn, they will have more opportunities to turn their attention toward more important and core activities instead.
The goal is to set up an environment in which your employees can spend far more time and exert a lot more effort toward more pressing and engaging matters, as opposed to constantly repeating the same duties and tending to repetitive matters.
Additionally, outsourcing can help you accomplish more while spending less. For instance, even prior to the implementation of work-from-home measures as a result of the pandemic, which upended what we knew as office routines at the time, a lot of companies were starting to realize that maintaining a physical workspace for employees was very expensive, especially when you view it from a daily perspective.
The amount of time, energy, effort and money it takes to uphold office spaces, no matter how large your company is, can be extreme. All these resources can feel wasted when offices are not always utilized by those who work for the company.
Whether people are away from the physical workplace due to being on vacation, taking sick leave, needing to work from home due to a lack of child care or traveling for business reasons, paying for an office that is not used to its full capacity can feel like a waste.
Many teams prefer to outsource a large number of tasks. Just remember this one golden rule throughout: You cannot outsource accountability.
Everything falls onto you and your company at the end of the day, so while you can outsource almost every task imaginable, make sure the work that is being completed on behalf of your company is professional, impressive and thorough.
Regardless of what you outsource, you cannot offload your responsibility. Keep in mind that it is still your show to run, and everything will fall back on you, so make sure your clients are pleased with the final product that is delivered.