Taking on a project yourself appeals to anyone who thinks of themselves as creative, industrious, or simply wants to save some money. There is an entire DIY network that will give you a wide variety of ideas and steps to take on projects for almost every aspect of your home. It goes without saying that what does not appear on the DIY Network are the mistakes, talent gaps, and disasters.
Organizations grow and change and as they do, how best to meet the needs can change and many leaders think that it’s not that hard to take on some of the projects themselves. It also goes without saying that few articles are written about the mistakes made when leaders take on projects that end in mistakes, talent gaps, and disasters.
I recently did a search online to see what the take was on hiring expertise vs DIY. I learned that for every niche, (construction, SEO, website creation, public relations, accounting, remodeling, or social media) I could read an article that would help me decide.
As your organization grows and its needs change, the leadership has to decide the same thing: develop in-house talent, hire talent, or find a consultant. How can you know which is best?
Sometimes, it simply comes down to cost. But the real cost is not just measured in the amount of money you will spend.
KEEP the work in-house and have it performed by existing staff
HIRE new staff to perform the work , or
OUTSOURCE the work, bringing in the expertise.
To figure this out, you will need an answer to the question ”What is the maximum you can pay someone else to do this job, and be at least as well off as if you did it yourself?” Buying outsourced work must be less than or equal to the incremental, avoidable costs added to the derived benefit (i.e. profit) that occurs from freeing up resources. When considering outsourcing, the benefits are both quantifiable and qualitative.
There are almost as many reasons to hire someone new as there are reasons not to hire a new employee. It makes sense to outsource work if it is seasonal or cyclical, if there is not enough of the work to require a full-time person, or the work is easily separated from other functions of the organization like janitorial services or accounting services, or if the expertise for the job is difficult to find and hire (e.g. a grant writer, organizational development initiative).
There are some practical reasons why outsourcing is appealing including not having to deal with the many requirements of the IRS, unemployment and workers compensation, and federal and state legalities that are involved with employing people.
So when might you need to hire expertise?
– When you want an outside, yet informed and objective opinion;
– When you want skills and expertise, or fresh ideas that you do not have;
– When you need short-term or periodic or on-going assistance; or
– When you are in the planning or evaluation phase of a project or operations.
When making a decision, remember that DIY comes with a cost. It takes people away from what they do well and puts them into a position where there will be a learning curve in order for them to learn how to do the new thing well. It is important to remember that the definition of a learning curve is a body of knowledge learned and over time. Learning also requires some experience, and some experience comes with mistakes in order to develop expertise That should be factored in to the decision.