Often times, when we are talking about outsourcing a department or keeping it in-house, we talk as if the only way to go is binary. In other words, we think you have to go EITHER outsourced OR in-house. In reality, however, there are many, many companies that combine the two and that get fantastic results from this.
For example, a company that has a more than decent in-house IT department soon discovers that they do not have the right people for a certain job or an aspect of a job that needs to be done. They understand that this is a temporary need and that after a year or so, they will have no need for the additional people they would have to take on. Instead, they decide to go outsourced and bring in some help from the outside for the time being.
And this does not have to be a temporary solution at all. For instance, a company decides that they could outsource a part of their software development for whatever the reason – lack of local talent, lower costs of an outsourced development or anything else. So, they end up with a development team that is half in-house and half outsourced.
While this is not as an unusual combination as you might think, there are still a few things that need to be done the right way so as to get the most out of it.
Treat Everyone Fairly
When a company starts employing a mix of in-house and outsourced, there is a certain bias towards the in-house folks and this is perfectly understandable. These are “the colleagues”, people who spend time with the rest of the company, people who have friends in the company and people who are considered to be more a part of the company than the outsourced team.
In some situation, this natural bias towards the in-house team can be quite harmful. For example, if the two teams work on a project and the in-house team is not pulling their weight, many managers and company executives may think that it was the outsourced team’s fault, especially if the in-house team is not ready to own up to their mistakes.
If you are combining the two teams, make sure that you treat them the same when work is in question. Just because one of the parts of your team is not physically present when you celebrate employees’ birthdays does not mean they should be blamed it they are not responsible.
Proper communication is always paramount when you hire an outsourced partner. If you are doing the whole in-house feat. outsourced thing, communication becomes even more important. A daily email blast will not do and you will have to invest in some sort of collaboration software. You can check out a very interesting example of just the type of software at this link. By employing some sort of collaboration software, everyone will be on the same page and it will be far easier to coordinate everyone’s efforts so that the targets are met and goals are achieved.
Of course, you will also encourage both your outsourced part of the team and your in-house people to communicate any problems that they are encountering. If someone has a suggestion on how this mix could deliver even better results, make sure you hear them out. This way, you will hear some truly great things that might boost the productivity of your combined team manifold.
Track the Results
As is often the case, employing this interesting mix of in-house and outsourced should only be done if the results justify it. In order to decide whether this is the case, you will need to determine your KPIs and track the results to find out whether the KPIs are met. Perhaps you will find out that it might actually make more sense to hire an additional team that will work in-house or maybe an exclusively outsourced team would work the best?
Just make sure this hybrid approach is working for you. If it is not, cut it as soon as you are certain it will not pick up the pace.
Sometimes you just need to make difficult business decisions.