I've heard people at various companies say it more than once.
After producing a video using expensive external consultants instead of using the in-house production team: "We had this video produced by professionals."
After calling in an expensive external photographer instead of using the in-house photographer: "We had these photos professionally done."
And yesterday, from a Very Important Person, bragging on the outcome of a project that could easily have been done by an in-house team: "We hired professionals to get this done."
Some of these people are, no doubt, saying they hired "a professional" as short-hand for "an outside vendor." Even so, especially when you have in-house teams capable of producing the same work, saying, "We hired professionals to complete this project" implies:
- Getting professional results requires going outside the company.
- Therefore, your own employees are not professionals.
Here's the deal: even though I've agreed to come to work for you, I'm a professional. Even though your creative team gets their paycheck from you, they're professionals, too.
(And if you don't think of us as professionals, well, there's no one to blame but you. Why in the world would you hire people who aren't professional? And if someone's proven to be unprofessional over time ... why are you keeping such a person on staff?)
Fact is, you've got professionals in-house. But if you don't treat your creative team members as professionals -- or if you insist on building a culture that suggests *real* professionals work elsewhere -- don't be surprised if, one day, hiring expensive outside vendors is suddenly your only option.