In-house designers often relate a common dreaded scenario where the bean counters at their companies, arguing that the creative team is not a “core competency”, get their way and everyone in the group gets outsourced and laid off. Unfortunately the above script actually plays out much more often than it should. The most rational response to this possibility would seem to be to dust off your portfolio, update your resume and start networking like a banshee.
But let’s say you like your company (the Finance wonks notwithstanding) and you don’t want to leave. There is another tack you may want to consider. It is entirely feasible that you and the others in your in-house team can incorporate as an onsite agency and continue to do what you’ve always done for your company – just not as corporate headcount.
The truth is, you are being dumped because your company wants to eliminate overhead – primarily your benefits, the HR support needed to administer those benefits and the layer of management needed to, well, manage your team. Of course they’re looking to lower other expenses as well but most outside options won’t be able to deliver those coveted cost savings.
So here’s the play. Circle the wagons, meet with your team and figure out, with the help of an accountant and lawyer, what your total costs would be (sans rent and other corporate amenities) and see if you can beat the hourly rate you’ve charged as an in-house group. If it’s not lower, then go on to bigger and better opportunities.
If it’s lower than your current rate, then you can make a sound fiscal argument with the number crunchers for you to continue your tenure at your company as an independently owned and operated creative shop. Not only are there cost savings, but you can assert that your company gets to hold onto all of the in-house department’s branding, procedural and institutional knowledge which would be lost in an outsourcing exercise. Now what bureaucratic bobble-head could argue with that?