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Can you outsource a manager?

blue question markThe general answer is yes, you can outsource a managerial role but there are some exceptions and industry-specific challenges.

By outsourcing I simply mean having someone take on a managerial role as a contractor rather than an employee. Often this means they work remotely (ie not in the business premises) but that is not always the case.

For example, I do the Communications Manager role (including being listed on an org chart) for some companies who don’t need a full time person – I write their materials and manage the relevant suppliers (designers and printers mostly) from a distance.

Outsourcing a manager role may not be effective in every case of course:

  • a remote manager will be challenged to oversee staff in many situations
  • a retail manger needs to be in the shop to deal with customer issues
  • a production manager would need to be near the production line to ensure it is working and for any problem solving
  • a senior manager (eg general manager) who is not an employee may be less effective because they are not as invested in the business they are managing

So next time you are considering a full time employee manager, think about whether or not you could outsource that role effectively.

If you have outsourced a managerial role, even on a short term basis, how did it go? Woud you do it again?