When Should You Hire a Specialist?

When Should You Hire a Specialist?

Are you ready to bring in someone new to your team? When you're working on a project that's frustrating you because of a lack of specialist knowledge or skills, it could be time to recruit a new employee. How do you know when you should bring in a specialist to your insurance agency? 

What Skills or Experience Does This Position Require? 

If the specific task requires a lot of specialized knowledge or skills that are acquired over years of practice, it could require a specialist that you hire. As you look at what frustrates you about a project, consider what gaps need to be filled and how you can easily fill them with current employees. You could need an independent contractor or specialist staff person if: 

  • You're spending a lot of time trying to complete tasks that could easily be completed by a specialist in the area.

  • Your employees spend most of their hours working on a multitude of small specialist roles that they can't effectively complete.

  • Your business has goals, but you can't reach them because you lack the expertise in a specific area.

How Much Time Do My Existing Employees Have Available? 

Your employees have the skills you require; however, they're just too busy to exercise those skills in the best possible way. For instance, your administrative assistant is a whiz at marketing, but he's always having to file paperwork and work with clients who walk in the front door. According to Entrepreneur, "If the billable time of current full-time employees is at or above 85 percent and the profit margins are at least 50 percent, those are good indicators that the company is ready to add another full-time employee." 

Look at the gaps your employees have in their schedules and the specializations that they're currently juggling. Could one of those specialties become a full-time position?

Can An Existing Employee Fill This Gap? 

Sometimes, you have a need for an employee who has a specific skill, and no one on your staff knows how to do this particular task. For instance, if you have contracted a business to build you a website but you're not sure how to update small events on your site, you will need to spend money asking a web specialist to do this for you. That can be an expensive proposition.

Before you hire a web specialist to work for your agency, ask yourself whether an existing employee could be trained to fill this gap. Your current employees understand the history and ethics of your organization and are an excellent cultural fit with your business and your customers. Look at the return on investment for this training. If you know that you can pay for a $1,000 course and a week of training time and save hundreds of dollars a month in contractor fees, training an existing employee could be worthwhile. 

One caveat: Make sure that employee is planning to grow with your company instead of leaving after the training is complete.

Is the Work Project-Focused? 

If the work is project-focused, it makes more sense for you to work with an independent contractor rather than an employee. Independent contractors generally use their own work equipment and receive no benefits from an employer. They maintain independence over their own schedule. The benefit of working with an independent contractor is that the contractor can join you for a specific project and then leave until you need that person again. 

However, if you find that more and more projects are coming up that require that skill set, you could consider hiring an employee who has that specific skill set so that you'll have someone who's usually available and who is committed to the development of your company.

If your company is growing but that growth is inconsistent, you will find that bringing on a contractor allows you to scale your business up and down as you need to do so. According to Entrepreneur, "If the company can scale its business for growth, it becomes more flexible in being able to accept a large opportunity that comes along by quickly adding more resources."

At American Agents Alliance, we help you find the right people for your insurance agency. Talk with us about your hiring needs, and we can help attract the right people to the job. Contact us today to learn more.

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