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Hiring In-House Vs. Outsourcing Admin: A Short Handbook For Execs Making This Key Decision

You’ve finally made the decision to find a brilliant executive assistant to free you up for the highest-value work — congrats!

This article will help you answer the next question senior leaders ask: should I hire in-house or outsource this position?

In short, it comes down to:

  • How soon do you need support?
  • Do you want someone in-office or remote?
  • What is your budget?
  • How much time and effort are you prepared to invest in the hiring process?

Hiring in-house invariably takes more time and requires more effort upfront, not to mention the costs of hiring combined with the costs of bringing on an employee. SHRM reports that the total cost to hire a new employee can be three to four times the position’s salary.

Outsourcing can be a quicker, more cost-effective alternative (especially if you don’t need someone full time), but you’ll still need to do your own due diligence and research on the individual or company you’re sourcing from. Not to mention the compliance risks.

Luckily, there’s a third option that gives you the best of both worlds — premium subscription staffing. This new hiring model gives you access to personally matched, highly experienced fractional executive assistants without any hiring headaches or compliance issues. Best of all, you can be up and running in about a week.

We’ll take a closer look at all your options for hiring in-house vs. outsourcing admin, including pros and cons, so you can make the best decision.

Defining An In-House Team Vs. Outsourced Employees

At its most basic, an in-house team is what you know best. It’s your own in-house employee, the staff you have working with you now. You hired them directly, and they’re on your payroll.

Outsourcing team members means using an external team, such as a freelancer, independent contractor, staffing agency, temp agency, project-based hire (think: Fiverr and UpWork), or a mix of each.

Outsourcing, whether for specific projects or for positions, is a fast way for a company to stay competitive by getting the help they need without the long process (and expense) of hiring.

When Should A Company Use An In-House Team?

There are advantages to building internal teams.

When you hire your own employees, you’re building a team that fits your specific requirements, hiring people who meet your standards. In-house teams are plugged into your company culture, and know how internal processes work.

If you find the right external partner, this can still be true — but temporary workers and freelancers seldom fit this bill like an in-house hire.

A more important question might be to ask what your business objectives are.

That is, what aspects of your company seem to naturally require a dedicated team that’s only working for you?

Using in-house staff makes the most sense when:

  • Client privacy or protecting proprietary information is mission critical.
  • Projects are specialized enough to require in-house specialists.
  • A complex project requires direct and immediate access to your team at a moment’s notice.
  • You need specific availability from your team, whether that is in time or location.

Building internal teams is a long-term commitment, and is best suited for situations where you are on a consistent growth track, steady budget, and without the need to remain flexible or adapt quickly to sudden changes.

When Is A Staffing Service Or Outsourced Option Ideal?

There are times when outsourcing is the best choice.

Outsourcing provides you access to a larger pool of talent to choose from than you might be able to find locally or within your current team.

Because of the many options you have for outsourcing, whether project or position-based, you can find a competitive advantage by finding the best fit.

Outsourcing a team member makes the most sense when:

  • You need help immediately, and don’t have time for the full hiring process.
  • Cost savings is important, and your budget doesn’t or needs don’t fit hiring in-house team members.
  • You need specialized experience that your in-house team doesn’t have.
  • You have one-off projects that don’t warrant new hires, but the work still needs done.
  • Your industry or situation fluctuates up and down and makes hiring strategy difficult right now.
  • You need help with basic admin tasks.
  • You need a talented, high-level executive assistant with the flexibility to increase or decrease hours as needed.

Outsourcing gives you flexibility during times of growth or sudden changes when you need to build out or contract your team quickly.

The Costs Of Hiring In-House And The Benefits Of Outsourcing

It seems pretty straightforward, the difference between going in-house or outsourcing.

As a business owner or senior exec, it might seem that going in-house is the safest route, the one where you’d have the most control of process and output.

However, hiring in-house comes with significant costs, both in time and money.

Recruiting takes time and money. Interviews eat up the calendar and clock just to find a potential employee. Team member training and onboarding can be expensive. Let’s not forget benefits and payroll expenses.

It doesn’t stop there.

The US Small Business Administration estimates that, ultimately, an employee costs you 1.25 to 1.4 times what you pay them.

That’s tough to hear when you’re in a position of growth and you can’t afford not to get additional help.

Read more: How Much Does An Executive Assistant Cost?

Use Executive Assistants To Free Up Time For Important Projects

There are two basic roadblocks for most leaders when it comes to outsourcing:

  1. Quality and security issues.
  2. The headache of dealing with outsourced team members (pay, legal compliance, longevity, onboarding, etc.)

If the thought of outsourcing work on complicated projects makes you a little anxious, that’s understandable.

Dealing with contractors, temp agencies, or overseas project-based help comes with a significant burden.

Things like privacy, security, and compliance with employment laws regarding 1099 contractors are just a few things that come to mind. It’s important to remember that outsourcing takes many forms.

Not all outsourced options are created equal, in other words.

This is where subscription staffing starts to shine. Using a remote executive assistant from Boldly mitigates these concerns.

Subscription Staffing — A Better Way To Outsource For Fast, Trusted Talent

Let’s rewind for a minute and go back to why you’re outsourcing an executive assistant in the first place.

If we look at the ROI of an executive assistant, what’s your time worth? In the end, will it take you more time to hire or manage an outsourced executive assistant than you’d be able to spend on strategic tasks?

At Boldly, we’ve taken care of all of that.

An experienced, premium executive assistant doesn’t need to have any impact on your core business functions. They’re able to jump into your regular processes and company culture seamlessly. In other words, they can take tasks and run with them.

Since we’re fully aware of the reasons business owners are leery of outsourcing their team, we’ve built Boldly to specifically answer common concerns.

  • Team members are our W2 employees. We handle all employment and compliance issues, not you.
  • We’ve built a strong company culture, which includes salary and benefits. Team members are focused on what you need, not looking for additional side gigs.
  • We have a strict vetting process, which means our U.S.-based team is highly skilled, has C-suite or Fortune 500 experience, and passes a security check.
  • Our team members have been with us (and our clients) for years; we have some of the highest retention rates in the industry.
  • Subscription staffing allows you to adjust hours based on need, not a locked-in budget-unfriendly contract.
  • We personally match your new team member with you so it’s a good fit both in terms of skills and personality, having someone up and running within a few days.

The question of hiring in-house vs. outsourcing admin depends on your situation, but it also depends on who you turn to for remote staffing.

We’d love to chat with you and help you find your next great team member. In less than a week, you can see your time freed up and get back to focusing on your business instead of your to-do list.

About the author Katie Hill is a Content Writer at Boldly, which offers Premium Subscription Staffing for demanding executives and founders. When she isn't writing about remote work or productivity, she can be found adventuring in Colorado's backcountry.

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