In today’s competitive, pressure-driven world, organizations of any scale can benefit from outsourcing some of their tasks. On an individual level, we’ve all been there before—taking on too much responsibility and wishing somebody could relieve us of the more time-consuming or unpalatable tasks. But every company has its own unique needs and circumstances. Just because other businesses are outsourcing their customer service doesn’t mean your team should do, too. Here are three strategies to help you find the right balance between outsourcing and keeping tasks in-house.
Defining and developing core competencies
Most business leaders and seasoned professionals in management will know what core competencies are and that they should be untouchable. These are the things a company does that provide unique value or a competitive edge. Not only do core competencies become more defined as a company grows out of its fledgling state, but they may also adapt and evolve in response to a changing environment. This applies to your organization and any third-party service provider.
Always know what constitutes the sacred core of your work so that you never entrust that to someone outside your team. And whenever you outsource the remaining non-essential tasks, keep track of what the third party’s core competencies are as they, too, may undergo shifts and changes.
Understanding the value of time
When you contemplate outsourcing any amount of work, the first tasks that come to mind tend to be the least desirable ones. Data entry, for example, can be mind-numbing and eventually demoralize any member of your team. But from a practical standpoint, you may want to prioritize outsourcing those tasks that consume the greatest amount of time.
Using methods such as productivity apps, you can have employees track the hours spent on doing various tasks. When aggregated, this data can present a much more accurate picture of exactly where your team’s workforce hours are being allocated. For a small photography company, this is likely to be large batch post-processing of images, which can be effectively outsourced to photo editing firms that specifically cater to photographers. By handing off the biggest time sinks, you can free up considerably more hours for your team to focus on other tasks.
Know your team’s capabilities
Any considerations of outsourcing will always bring up the issue of quality. Some tasks are simply better handled by internal employees who have hands-on experience with products or services at different levels or stages in the process.
If you’ve ever had to contact a company’s customer service only to be put in touch with someone from an external partner, chances are they didn’t have that first-hand, extensive knowledge. The quality of such interactions may suffer as a result of over-reliance on scripted, flowchart-based guidelines. How much does quality matter in any area where you’re looking to outsource? Know your team’s capabilities in this regard; the work may be tedious, but if your current staff can simply perform it much better than anyone else, then there could be a better case for keeping it in-house.
Outsourcing any task, even the most unwanted ones, from your organization’s workload is not a decision to be made lightly, or simply because other companies are doing it too. Be aware of your team’s intrinsic qualities, and you can make the decisions that will have the best positive impact moving forward.