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Should You Rent or Own Your Employees?

Own the Employee

Employees of an organization have an advantage that a consultant or contractor will never have—an employee should know your business. An employee should understand your business processes, both from an information-systems standpoint and also from a line-of-business standpoint. This type of knowledge is invaluable. Employees can perform business process reengineering, or changing and improving your business processes. Employees know how your business works and likely have ideas for improvement.

It’s Your Turn. Do you leverage the business knowledge of your existing employees to improve business practices?

An employee also has a level of commitment that may not be matched by a consultant (myself excepted, of course). Employees of an organization have a definite interest in helping the company succeed; their livelihoods depend on that survival. Another consideration for an employee is that an organization can move an employee around, perhaps to a different department or a different role within a department. This can be more difficult to do with a contractor.

It’s Your Turn. How long have your employees been a part of your company? I’m particularly curious about employees that have been through system or software changes.

An employee may also be less expensive than a contractor. Of course, the HR department would be the final judge of that, including the cost of benefits, vacations, training, bonuses and so on. But a consultant or contractor will generally charge more than the “run rate” of an employee.

It’s Your Turn. Do you feel that employees are more cost-effective than contracting with a consulting firm or an independent contractor? Do your employees provide better value for the day-to-day operations of your organization?

Michael Ryan is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine. Michael can be reached at



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