Every company needs the right mix of people who know how to get the job done. Assembling a team of professionals takes time and intentionality. In this blog, we’ll discuss strategies that can help you put together a team that will maximize your organization’s creative output.

Define Your Staffing Mix

First, it’s important to understand what a staffing mix is: a utilization of a mix of full time, contract or freelance staff. A strong staffing mix can:

  • Ensure that all resources are fully utilized

  • Make certain the right people doing the right work

  • Provide special capabilities only when you need them

  • Provide flexibility with evolution and scale 

  • Reduce costs and justify financial choices

  • Provide global talent solutions to meet your budget and schedule

When you look at what your internal clients view as central to your team’s value proposition, what comes to mind? Brand knowledge, high-end creative quality, institutional knowledge, cost savings or something else? No matter what your client’s point of view may be, your team has to keep up with growing services diversity and volume of work. This is where a staffing mix comes into play.

Deciding Which Talent Solution Is Right for Your Organization

Before you can decide on a talent mix, you need to evaluate what structures you have in place currently, what your needs are right now and consider what it will take to keep your operations at scale as you continue to grow.

Here are a few points to consider when you’re ready to start deciding what talent mix suits your organization best.

  • I know what I need, and I have the budget

  • I am able to hire FTEs and contingent labor

  • I want to be able to pull from a dedicated pool of talent who understands my business
  • I want resources to flex with my peaks and valleys

Production Studio
  • I want my team to focus on creative work and remove the distraction of production work

  • A large percentage of our requests are repeatable tasks

  • I want to pick up and lift the busywork out of my FTEs and into a ready-to-go solution

  • I want the convenience and service of an agency at low cost and without the frills   

 Managed Solution
  • I don’t have time to hire/fire and onboard talent

  • I need to expand my skill set but don’t have the funds

  • I want to scale to keep pace with requests but don’t have the time

  • I need to lower my FTE headcount due to budget cuts

Types of Talent Mix Strategies

Creating a team of digital, marketing and creative talent isn’t always a linear process. You may have periods of time when your work ebbs and flows, or you may have consistent, growing needs for in-demand talent with specific skills – talent that sometimes can be hard to find. To ensure you are producing high-end creative deliverables on time and at scale, you may want to consider adopting a new talent strategy.


Professionals who have an agreement with and are paid by your company to work with your team for a set period of time or a predefined purpose are contractors. This type of talent can help you work through long-term projects with fixed deadlines or to supplement your staff during specific seasons of time.


When you bring on flex staff, you can pull from their talent on an as-needed basis. This resource is invaluable when you need extra support or specific skills to see a project through.


Someone who works with your team on a contingent basis, rather than an agreed-upon contract, works on specific projects as assigned. This could include freelancers, on-call workers, consultants or someone who can pitch in on a part-time schedule.


Also called Multishoring – another term for mixed staffing models – this staffing model features a blend of offshore, nearshore and onshore teams. This means your organization doesn’t have to be locked in to an older, less efficient staffing structure. In Cella’s 2023 Creative and Marketing In-House Industry Report, two key factors made the difference for industry leaders when it comes to using the multishoring model: 57% said that it reduced costs and additional dedicated resources. To put it simply, a smartshoring approach can help you accomplish more for less.

External Agencies

When you look at what it takes to ensure you are producing work and deliverables but find your bandwidth just won’t meet the demand, an external agency may be the right answer for you. Partnering with a creative agency that has niche skills and expertise that match your company’s goals can be a win-win – freeing you to focus on your own strategic priorities.

Finding the right talent mix can be a gamechanger. Consider each option – or a blend of several of them – to help you get to the right mix of professionals that can increase your productivity and peace of mind that the job is getting done – and done right.

The Big Money Question: Smart Spending for Flexible Skills

You may say, “I’m sold!” In the next breath, though, you may also say, “But my boss will never go for it.”

Not so fast.

When you’re ready to state your case to decision makers, here are a few essential factors to include in your presentation to financially justify adopting a strategic staffing mix:

  • Calculate capacity

  • Display potential for cost avoidance

  • Provide plan for cost savings

  • Base all recommendations of facts and hard data 

Consider what the most impactful operational metrics are that you can capture and report on:

  • Team/department capacity and utilization

  • On-time delivery

  • Outputs

  • Rounds or revisions/rework

  • Project efficiency and effectiveness

  • Cost avoidance/savings

  • ROI

  • Budget variance

  • Error rate

  • Other factors specific to your business

Ongoing Success: Working with a Staffing Mix for the Long Haul

Once you have defined and adopted your staffing mix model, the next step is to continually monitor its progress and performance.

Make a point to evaluate:

  • Requesters / brands

  • Volume of work

  • Complexity of work

  • Capabilities / skills

Depending on your organization's requirements, scale to increase or decrease the following:

  • Full-time employees

  • Hourly employees

  • Freelancers

  • Specialty vendors

When you take time to monitor and keep a close eye on how your staffing mix is performing, you can adjust it to meet your objectives, enhance cost savings and consistently deliver a high-quality product to clients that you can be proud of.

Getting Started

Are you ready to talk about taking the next step and enhance your own staffing mix? Our team of in-house consultants work with companies of all sizes and in-house agencies to strengthen and expand their capabilities through the right people, process, technology and financial management. 

We can equip you with the tools and resources you need to develop a staffing mix that’s right for you.