External resources are a key part of a professional services company’s people strategy. Yes, contractors are more expensive than employees, but they offer one priceless advantage: flexibility.
The secret to effective use of external resources is capitalizing on that flexibility. In this article, we’re going to take you through the 3 key reasons to turn to external resource and take full advantage of the flexibility contractors offer:
- Fulfilling niche skill requirements
- Handling peaks in demand
- Speed to mobilize
Reason #1: Fulfilling niche skill requirements
If you have a requirement for a niche skill set — that crops up from time-to-time, but not regularly — bringing in external resource allows you to offer that discipline to clients as and when required, but ensures you’re not stung with the cost of periods of underutilization or the potential headache of an unhappy employee who feels like they’re not being used to the best of their talents.
Over time, if demand for that skill set increases, you can explore the option of bringing it in-house and , capitalize on the extra profit margin it will yield.
Reason #2: Handling peaks in demand
The time to hire is when demand is set to outstrip capacity. The time not to hire is when demand is set to outstrip capacity… for a month. When you’re dealing with a peak i.e. a short-lived spike rather than a sustained requirement for demand, the answer is external resource.
The last thing you want is the complication of hiring only to have to make layoffs shortly afterwards.
Reason #3: Speed to mobilize
Linked to peaks in service demand is the requirement to mobilize quickly. Contractors are often available to start at short notice and can be parachuted in to react more quickly. This saves time in comparison to going out to market to hire, factoring in time to advertize the position, screening candidates, notice periods, onboarding, etc.
Experienced contractors, are used to being dropped into new projects and can hit the ground running.
Contractors can play an important role in your people strategy. Their additional expense is offset by their flexibility, enabling you to handle otherwise problematic scenarios with relative ease.
External resource is one of the six forces central to the capacity vs. demand equation. If you want more information on external resources and how to implement an effective resourcing strategy, download our free whitepaper: Resource Capacity vs. Demand: Mastering the Six Forces.
In this guide, you’ll discover how to master the six forces of resource capacity vs demand and learn the key factors influencing this equation. Topics covered include:
- How a view of live and pipeline projects can be combined to provide clarity on future resourcing demand
- Factors to consider when choosing between internal and external resource, and what the optimum balance looks like
- How roles and skills impact capacity and demand decisions, and how you can effectively audit skill sets within your teams
- Tips on dealing with peaks and troughs in workload and how you can adjust your staffing levels to deal with this