The jury is still out on whether or not the U.S. has entered a full-blown recession, but many business leaders are not waiting around to find out. The current economic climate is uniquely challenging because, in addition to rumors about a downturn, executives are dealing with the highest inflation rate in decades, a shortage of qualified talent, and a rapidly shifting picture of what the workplace looks like.
These compounded factors have many companies reevaluating strategies and budgets for the coming months. While some are slashing costs or putting a freeze on hiring, others are looking at the long-term and trying to reconcile future growth plans with caution in the present. Either group may benefit from bringing in outside contractors to accomplish daily tasks, lend expertise or fill temporary roles.
Outsourcing has been embraced by a variety of industries since the early 90s. As the gig economy has picked up steam, contractors have become not only increasingly available but also more knowledgeable and professional. And as businesses take a hard look at how they can be more efficient, outsourcing is a great tool to fill the gaps.
Here are just 5 of the ways bringing on contracted talent can help companies in uncertain times.
1. It’s Less Expensive
The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) estimates that it costs at least $4700 to recruit a new employee. The costs to onboard, the break in productivity, and the emotional toll on both the team integrating with the new hire and the HR team tasked with the hiring process are all above and beyond the SHRM dollar estimate.
Further, full-time employees require salary, benefits, additional taxes to the employer, insurance, training, equipment, and more. Of course, over the long term, contract workers may not be able to fulfill every need of an organization, but in a challenging economic environment, they will definitely save you money.
2. Work Gets Done Faster
Sometimes deadlines crop up that just are not possible to hit. And, if your team is getting smaller due to budget cuts, it is even tougher. Whether it is an overhaul of an existing program, creating new content, redesigning a website, training your team, or something else that has to be done fast, contractors can help. By bringing on more workers, managers can get large volumes of work done in a fraction of the time.
Meeting deadlines still takes planning. An outsourcing firm needs time to find workers with the right skill set, and contract workers cannot just drop all of their other clients in order to turn something around in an unrealistic time frame. However, businesses that strategically plan for large projects through outsourcing will be miles ahead when those deadlines hit.
3. Expert Help When You Need it
Our world is evolving constantly, with new technology, tools, and techniques. Learning every single one of them would be a waste of time for the average worker, and hiring new workers when times are tough is not always an option. Luckily, there are experts available to hire on a short-term basis.
Experts can consult on everything from software to investing, but it is important to take time to find the right expert with enough experience to truly work through your problems. It may help to find an outsourcing agency that specializes in your specific industry to ensure that your needs are met.
4. New Things Are Within Reach
Branching out into new ideas and bringing new products and services into your business can be risky, but without innovation, there is no growth. In a tough economy, CEOs are looking for ways to cut costs, not take on new projects.
That’s where outsourcing comes in. Bringing on contractors in the short term can help your business explore new markets and develop interesting new concepts without investing in more full-time employees.
5. More Flexibility
The bottom line is, when the economy is uncertain, businesses need options in order to stay competitive without ballooning their budget. Through outsourcing, companies can bring on workers when they need them, and cut back when they do not. This allows the business to take on new projects without worrying about maintaining a team of full-time employees.
Staying agile is the key to surviving a downturn, whether or not it becomes a recession. Outsourcing is one way to remain flexible, save money, continue to get everything done, and continue to explore future possibilities.
This article was originally published on HR.com.