When you should outsource tasks (and when you shouldn't)

Jan 20, 2022
min read

What comes to mind when you think of outsourced work? To customers, it might be synonymous with poor service. To a growing business who needs extra help in a specialized area, it can be perceived as quite the opposite. 

Is outsourcing risky? Is it just as beneficial for businesses as it is for their clients? And when should you even consider outsourcing, anyway? We’re breaking down all the myths and how-to’s right here, so read on to learn more. 

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing involves a company contracting a task or defined portion of work to an external professional, company, or service. 

Arrangements will vary, though the professional is typically paid on a project-by-project basis and is not a member of the employer’s payroll. 

Why outsource?

A common misconception of outsourcing is that it correlates with businesses trying to cut costs or corners. But when done ethically and thoughtfully, outsourcing can be a great asset to your growing business.   

Sure, outsourcing has the potential to save you money, but there are several reasons why it could be a good option:  

  • Lessens the time it costs to train new employees 
  • Benefit of working with professionals with expertise in certain areas when hiring them full-time isn’t an option
  • Finding talent you end up onboarding full-time 
  • Eases up workloads and allows you to focus your energy on running your business

In-house vs outsourcing: Figuring out what’s right for your business

While outsourcing has its perks, it’s easy to fall victim to the idea that it means duties will always be done more effectively and at a lower cost – that’s not always the case. So, here are a few questions to ask first to help you assess when to outsource, and when it’s better to utilize in-house resources. 

Will it make my team more efficient?

If something is taking your internal team too long to do, it likely makes sense to outsource it. Especially if the task is highly specialized and your existing employees don't have the expertise to take care of it, bringing on someone temporarily who spends their time immersed in that particular area is the way to go. That way, you’re able to put your energy into what you do best.

Could it do more harm than good? 

An outsourcing initiative is only worth pursuing if it can create a strategic advantage. If it’s merely used as a band-aid solution to deal with larger issues that could hurt your business in the long run, it isn’t worth it. 

We recommend keeping tasks related to your essential business functions in-house. Otherwise, your team will become reliant on outside help, which can hurt your company’s culture and overall health. Giving your employees tasks that are critical to the business’ success is essential in keeping them engaged and motivated to do great work. 

What are the risks?

When deciding whether to hire in-house staff or outsource, it’s important to look at your business needs and weigh the pros and cons. 

An important thing to remember is to not get caught up in what other companies are doing and assume what’s best for them is best for you. Just because a competitor doesn’t outsource a production team for an ad, for example, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t – it could be that their content marketer has experience in that area and they’re able to leverage their strengths. 

The bottom line

Deciding whether outsourcing, like any business decision, is right for your company comes down to a thorough evaluation of your needs. 

Is the risk greater than the reward? Are you hindering your own growth by handing off essential business functions? We recommend seeking out help for mundane tasks that don’t play a role in your competitive advantage, and figure out what’s best for your business. 

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Hey there 👋 my name is Andrea Bartlett.

I’m the Director of HR at Humi, and I’m obsessed with all things people and human resources. Throughout my time working in a range of industries, I’ve learned that one thing is clear: the world of work is changing and HR professionals are leading the charge. 

I believe that businesses should know their people as well as they know their product. But people are complex, and the solutions aren’t always easy. That’s how Think with Humi will help. 

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