Imagine you’re sitting at your desk with a stack of resumes beside you and your email pinging non-stop with new applications. You sift through them all and call over the potentially or seemingly best candidates, and every candidate feels like the best. And while you are trying to stay afloat through this deluge of paperwork, there’s a question that keeps nagging in your mind: Is there a simpler way to get people in? Well, how about hiring employees without worrying about legal, compliance, and payroll issues for a specific task or duration, and when it is done, you can say goodbye? Well, this is where staff augmentation comes into play.
It’s a term that’s gaining a lot of traction lately, and for good reason. Staff augmentation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a lifeline for companies needing staff urgently, streamlining the whole hiring process.
So, in this comprehensive blog, we will cover:
- What exactly is staff augmentation?
- How staff augmentation can fix your hiring problem
- What are its drawbacks?
- If or when you should do staff augmentation
- When traditional hiring is better
- What other options are available at your disposal?
So, let’s delve into the article and learn how you can adopt this approach to adapt to a dynamic business landscape.
On this Article
What is Staff Augmentation?
If put simply, staff augmentation is hiring, usually on a temporary basis, external workers from some third party or some IT staff augmentation company or talent platform that does all the hiring formalities, i.e., recruitment, screening, payroll, etc., to outsource a certain task or assignment, scale up your team amid a sudden surge of workload, or have tight deadlines to meet.
How It Works
- Identifying Skill Needed: You identify specific skills or expertise missing in your team, hindering project progression or completion.
- Defining Requirements: You outline clear job descriptions and project requirements, detailing the skills, experience, and expertise needed from external professionals.
- Partnering with IT Staff Augmentation Company: You then collaborate with staffing agencies, explaining your requirements and expectations.
- Selecting Candidate(s): The provider then gives you an array of the most suitable candidates or teams with the required skills and experience to choose from.
- Integration and Collaboration: The selected external professionals or teams then start working for you.
- Project Completion: Once the project is done, you may retain or let them go.
The agency providing the augmented staff is responsible for their pay, while you, as the client, have to pay the agency a negotiated fee for the services rendered. This fee covers the salaries, allowances, and other expenses of the augmented staff.
How An IT Staff Augmentation Company Can Help You
Staff augmentation comes with a plethora of advantages and benefits, so let’s explore them.
Scalability and Flexibility
The most unparalleled benefit of staff augmentation is the flexibility it offers. You can always size up or size down your team as per your workload or project requirements. If you get a sudden surge in workload or need specialized skills for a specific task, you can always hire new talent in hours without going into a lengthy hiring process and recruitment formalities, ensuring you have just the right number of skilled employees or people to have the job done on time.
Traditional hiring comes with a bundle of costs: salaries, benefits, medical insurance, vacation, bonuses, and sometimes even severance pay. Staff augmentation trims down on these expenses. You pay for the services you need without any additional overhead. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the long-term financial commitments associated with permanent hiring, making it a pretty economical choice.
Access to Specialized Skills and Diverse Pool of Talent
Oftentimes, you are missing a specific skill in your team or a skill hard to find in the local job market, but when you go for external employees, you don’t have to look in the vicinity of your location, which means you sometimes have to compromise on your benchmark or lower your yardstick. So whether it is related to the intricacies of advanced coding language or creativity, an IT staff augmentation company already has local and foreign-vetted professionals you can have on your team in no time.
Reduced Training, Management, and Administrative Burden
Traditional hires initially require training to integrate them into your company culture and workflows, while augmented staff are already experienced people; they, if any, require minimal training as they are working or have worked somewhere.
Apart from this, the management burden is also significantly reduced as the augmentation agency oversees administrative tasks such as contracts, payments, tax filings, etc., leaving you to focus solely on your projects.
Speed of Hiring
Staff augmentation is very quick to do; just have your requirements defined, and you can start off your project in no time.
No Long-term Commitment
You are not bound to augmented staff by long-term contacts or commitments; this comes in handy, especially when you need different expertise on short notice.
Drawbacks of Staff Augmentation
While staff augmentation offers a plethora of advantages, it also has drawbacks, to the point that it makes you look back at getting employees the traditional way:
Lack of Integration
One of the drawbacks is the potential disconnect from your company culture. These professionals, although very skilled, may not fully assimilate into your company if working on-site.
Data Security Concerns
Though a reputable IT staff augmentation company has stringent security measures, there is always a fear of breaches of data and security, so vet and select thoroughly and carefully.
Dependency on External Providers
Relying heavily on outsiders might create a dependency that can be risky. If the augmentation stumbles at some point, it can directly affect your projects, so you should maintain a balance between in-house expertise and augmented staff.
Clear communication is the cornerstone of any successful project. With augmented staff, especially if they are remote, miscommunications might arise due to differences in time zones, language barriers, or cultural nuances, so use proactive communication strategies and tools to bridge the gaps effectively.
Though augmented staff join a project midway, it still needs some time to fully assimilate into your workflow. This may lead to temporary disruptions in project continuity, but it differs from person to person.
When to Opt for Staff Augmentation
Staff augmentation helps you tackle immediate skill gaps, scale projects rapidly, and have access to specialized expertise without indulging in long-term commitment.
- Short-term Project: If you think a specific assignment or task is just one thing or won’t be a recurring thing, then you should augment and get the task done. Assume you give website development services, and usually your clients have all the content and graphics, i.e., logo, banner, etc., but there comes a client who wants to get all things from one window. Then you can hire a website content writer and a graphic designer who can fulfill your one-time or unexpected needs.
- Specific Task: If you have to get a specific or one-time task that you think will be coming to you anytime soon, staff augmentation is the right choice.
- Expert Required for Short-term: Assume you are providing web services, and there comes a client who has some IoT tasks to incorporate; you can always do staff augmentation.
- Seasonal Demand: If there comes a season with a spike in workload, staff augmentation can be done right away.
- Tight on Budget: If you are on a tight budget and can’t spend much but get an employee for a task, you can augment staff. The augmented staff surely would be some skilled person, and you would have to spend on training, etc.
When Traditional Hiring is Better
There are circumstances and instances when you should integrate people conventionally. Let’s run through them.
- Long-Term Key Roles: When strategic key roles are vacant, go for the traditional way; it inculcates a sense of respect and trust, long-term commitment, and having something of your own at stake.
- Projects with High Confidentiality: If there is a project that you think should not be disclosed to your competitors or others, you may want to hire traditionally, as it instills a sense of responsibility and having something at stake in your employees.
How to Do Staff Augmentation Right
If staff augmentation is done right, it yields great results, so here are a few strategies and practices you should adhere to for seamless staff augmentation.
- Define Clear Objectives and Requirements: An articulately defined job description helps external professionals understand better what is expected from them, minimize misunderstandings, and align you both better.
- Thorough and Rigorous Vetting: Don’t be hasty in hiring; review as many resumes as possible, take technical interviews, and check references to assess skills.
- Transparent Communication: Ensure both your team and external professionals have open and transparent communication. Do regular meetings, be updated on progress, address concerns, and take feedback.
- Emphasize Cultural Integration: Ensure there is a sense of belonging among internal and external workers. Promote collaboration and inclusivity.
- Have a Comprehensive Onboarding Process: Introduce them to key team members and stakeholders. Give orientation about the company’s values, culture, and workflows.
- Set Clear Performance Metrics: Set key performance indicators (KPIs) and specific and measurable goals for the augmented team, and regularly assess their performance against these metrics.
- Implement Data Security Measures: You should have stringent data security protocols to protect sensitive company information and limit access to confidential data based on roles and responsibilities. Ensure external professionals are in compliance with your data security policies to prevent data breaches.
- Ensure Collaborative Work Culture: Promote a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing between your company and external professionals. Create an ambiance where ideas are discussed freely and both leverage each other. Foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and recognition.
- Monitor, Evaluate. Address and Improve: Monitor the progress. Collect feedback. Evaluate performance. Address promptly.
Other Hiring Options Besides Staff Augmentation
Apart from staff augmentation, you have many alternative hiring options at your disposal; each of them has its pros and is suitable under specific circumstances, so let’s run through them.
- Outsource the Whole Project: If you are missing out on a specific skill or are short on time to meet a deadline, you can outsource (give out) the whole project or some part of it to some service provider or agency. Just monitor the progress and have communication throughout.
- Freelancing Platforms: Highly rated and big freelancers on platforms usually have a team behind them working full time, so if you think a specific task can be done by an individual, you can hire a freelancer, but there is so much saturation, so vet thoroughly and carefully; hop on a call with them, read the reviews, and check out their recent work.
- Project-based Contracts: Project-based contracts (suitable for well-defined projects with clear goals and minimal need for ongoing collaboration) are more self-contained than staff augmentation, where you integrate them into your team. You define the project scope, goals, and deliverables, and they work independently to fulfill the requirements.
- Temporary Employment Agencies: If you have an employee for a specific task, but you need his expertise and don’t want to fire and hire someone else, you can hire from temporary employment agencies that have pre-screened candidates.
- Hybrid Models: You can hire traditionally for core strategic roles and then bring in people through different models as needed.
As we’ve dived into the realms of staff augmentation and traditional hiring at length, it’s quite evident that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The key lies in thoroughly weighing the situation and strategically choosing the right approach at the right time.
Here are some quick takeaways for you:
- Traditional hiring lays a foundation for company culture, long-term commitment, and appointing key leadership roles, which is good for building trust, confidentiality, and in-depth integration within the company.
- Staff augmentation helps you meet urgent needs, tackle a sudden spike in workload, and meet deadlines.
- You may go for a blend of both, start with traditional, and then augment your staff as needed.
- Considering the dimensions of the project and its limitations, you should always have doors open for outsourcing, freelancing platforms, project-based contracts, and temporary employment agencies.
So whether you hire conventionally or augment professionals to tackle a pressing project and then extend the augmentation to a pivotal role, remember, your workforce is not just an expense; it’s an investment in the future of your company, so choose wisely and adapt thoughtfully.