Staff Augmentation: A Complete Guide to Sourcing the Right Talent

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Fred Monnier
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Fred Monnier
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Chief Staffing Operations Officer
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Staff augmentation is a great option for companies looking to fill employment roles quickly. Staff augmentation can provide a relatively quick and cost-effective solution, whether extra team members are needed for specific projects, during peak periods, to fill skills gaps, or to contribute specialized skills.
Published on
April 12, 2023
Updated on
April 11, 2024

As new technologies and techniques emerge, companies find it more challenging to remain competitive with a static in-house staff. Companies can consider multiple options to solve their problems, such as hiring more employees, contracting freelancers, and utilizing staff augmentation. 

Staff augmentation allows companies to fill skill sets and experience gaps on their internal team with professionals on a short-term basis. Staff augmentation enables businesses to maintain a competitive edge while minimizing costs and foregoing long-term commitments. 

This article explains staff augmentation, its benefits, the different types, and how to use it successfully. 

What Is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is a business strategy where companies temporarily supplement their in-house staff with additional external employees. These augmented employees integrate into the team for a specific period or project, allowing the company to solve issues including lack of specialization in particular areas, skill gaps, and increased workloads. While staff augmentation is a beneficial solution in various industries, it is especially advantageous in software development, where external employees can bring knowledge about emerging technologies. 

This outsourcing model offers businesses a quick fix to various problems without requiring them to go through a formal recruiting and hiring process. Businesses that utilize IT staff augmentation services can scale their workforce up and down as needed to remain competitive and flexible in times of uncertainty. It also allows businesses to avoid costs associated with permanent hires, such as long-term salaries and employee benefits. 

Staff Augmentation vs. Outsourcing

Although the two terms are similar, staff augmentation and outsourcing explain different approaches to addressing the needs of a business. Outsourcing is a business strategy where a company delegates tasks or practices project outsourcing to an external company, whereas staff augmentation integrates external professionals with in-house employees. With outsourcing, an external organization handles project management, focusing solely on results and deliverables. 

Companies utilizing an outsourcing approach will have less direct oversight of the project but can hold the outsourcing company accountable for results. Businesses that utilize staff augmentation will have full control over the external staff members as they integrate directly into that company’s workforce for the duration of their contracts.

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

Businesses incorporating staff augmentation into their workforce can benefit in several ways. While the upsides of staff augmentation will vary depending on the specific project and industry, some of the more notable advantages include:

  • Flexibility: Staff augmentation allows businesses to quickly adapt and respond to fluctuating project demands and workloads. Companies can scale external staff up or down per demand without compromising quality.
  • Specialization: When projects require specific specializations that an in-house team doesn’t possess, staff augmentation offers a simple way to fulfill those needs. By bringing in professionals with specialized talents for a short time, companies can ensure high-quality deliverables without spending time and money on a drawn-out hiring process.
  • Cost-effective: Staff augmentation enables companies to save on costs by only hiring professionals as needed. Bringing on full-time, new employees requires companies to cover expenses such as healthcare, retirement, and paid leave, but with staff augmentation, companies don’t need to pay for these additional benefits.
  • Faster execution: Businesses can use staff augmentation to bring in external employees who are skilled professionals and can contribute immediately. Without an extensive training or initiation process, external staff can quickly help businesses meet tight deadlines.
  • Risk mitigation: Staff augmentation is an excellent way for companies to mitigate risks. When issues such as a staff shortage or a lack of expertise arise, staff augmentation can help alleviate the risk of not meeting deadlines.  

When to Consider Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation can be advantageous for companies in a variety of situations. When businesses encounter issues, such as needing specialized professionals to complete a project, requiring additional workforce to meet project deadlines, or bridging work gaps while onboarding new full-time employees, utilizing staff augmentation is an excellent solution. 

Here are some of the most common reasons to consider staff augmentation:

  • Short-term projects: Utilizing staff augmentation for short-term projects allows companies to forego long-term commitments and a lengthy time-to-hire. External software engineers can quickly integrate with an existing team to help them speed up development and complete projects within the designated timeframe.
  • Specialized skills: Companies use staff augmentation to fill competency and skill gaps. An IT team may only need an employee with a particular skill set, such as knowledge of a specific programming language, for a specific project, making staff augmentation an excellent option once they've identified skill gaps
  • Peak periods: In periods of high demand, businesses can use staff augmentation to deal with increased workloads. For example, when a company implements new technology or a system upgrade, additional IT professionals may join a team to help handle the increased demand and ensure the company has the right expertise to navigate the transition to the new system.
  • Fast scalability: Staff augmentation enables quick scalability for companies that need to quickly adapt to project demands or business needs. Businesses can scale their operations to meet accelerated project timelines or increased workloads and scale back down afterward to save on costs.
  • Bridge full-time hires: Because recruitment and hiring processes can be lengthy and complicated, staff augmentation allows professionals to fill workforce gaps temporarily while an organization searches for permanent candidates. This approach enables businesses to maintain operational efficiency while finding long-term employees. 

Types of Staff Augmentation

All types of staff augmentation involve bringing in external labor to fulfill a company's immediate needs without going through lengthy recruitment and hiring processes requiring long-term commitments. The kind of staff augmentation that best suits a company depends on their demands. The three main types of staff augmentation are commodity-based, skill-based, and highly skilled.

Commodity

Commodity-based staff augmentation is a business strategy where external employees join an in-house development team to fill roles that are not particularly specialized or skilled. External employees must perform basic tasks, requiring skill sets widely available in the job market. Companies often utilize commodity-based staff augmentation when they need extra staff to fill positions quickly, such as when there is a shortage of employees or during peak periods. Commodity-based staff augmentation allows for flexibility as businesses can quickly scale their workforces up or down to meet demands without long-term commitments.

Skill-Based

Skill-based staff augmentation brings in external skilled workers to supplement in-house staff. These experienced professionals fill skill gaps existing staff lack, helping companies stay at the forefront of technology and meet specific objectives to increase competitiveness. In software development, external employees may bring knowledge of a new programming language or technical expertise in a new technology, such as cloud computing or artificial intelligence. Like commodity-based staff augmentation, skill-based staff augmentation doesn’t require long-term commitments but allows companies to remain flexible and access cutting-edge knowledge when needed.

Highly-Skilled

Highly skilled staff augmentation involves the temporary hiring of professionals with advanced or specialized skills that will help a company overcome complex challenges. The individuals brought in will have specific skill sets that highly exceed the standard level of knowledge, such as expertise in advanced predictive analytics or complex financial modeling. These external professionals may be utilized as consultants for both short- and long-term periods, providing a high level of insight and proficiency.

Staff Augmentation Services

There are various forms of IT staff augmentation models. The best model for a business will depend on the type of project and the business's needs. These models vary depending on the external employee's location, and role, as well as the project duration. Here are some common staff augmentation services. 

Project-Based Staff Augmentation

Project-based staff augmentation takes place when companies bring in external talent on a project-by-project basis. Companies may choose to utilize project-based staff augmentation to bring in employees with specialized skill sets that aren’t available on the current in-house team. If delays or other issues threaten a project’s quality or on-time completion, companies can hire temporary employees for the duration of the project to ensure it meets necessary quality standards and deadlines.

Remote Staff Augmentation

Remote staff augmentation occurs when a company hires temporary professionals from remote locations to join their in-house staff. Hiring remote workers can reduce costs such as office space and physical resources. It also allows companies to access global talent, offering contact with specialized or specific talent that may not be available in local talent pools. Remote staff augmentation is an excellent choice for companies looking to briefly scale up their workforce flexibly.

On-Site Staff Augmentation

Unlike remote staff augmentation, on-site staff augmentation brings in external professionals to work on the company premises. While this may require more costs than hiring remote workers, it offers the opportunity to collaborate directly with team members, sometimes resulting in better integration and collaboration depending on the type of project. On-site staff augmentation is essential for projects that require face-to-face interaction and close communication.

Team-Based Staff Augmentation

Companies that utilize team augmentation hire several staff members, or an entire team, to work on a specific part of a project. Team-based staff augmentation provides a full range of roles and skills that complement each other and can handle various tasks. Team-based staff augmentation is an excellent choice for large-scale projects or when a project needs rapid scaling. 

The Staff Augmentation Process

When a company decides that staff augmentation will be beneficial to its operation, it will go through the staff augmentation process to bring in external employees. Hiring managers must follow a number of steps to determine the best type of staff augmentation and obtain the necessary talent. The staff augmentation process requires the hiring manager to begin by assessing the company's needs and continue until the onboarding of successful candidates.

Assess Needs

A company must first consider its needs to determine what type of staff augmentation it needs. Determining project goals and timelines can give insight into the length of time that it will require extra help, and a skills gap analysis offers further insight. Companies should clearly understand the project requirements and then consider the current resources available through the in-house staff. 

Determine Required Roles 

Once the hiring manager has determined the project scope, timeline, and specific needs, they must determine the required roles. They must decide how many employees  the project requires and consider factors about the external talent, such as their specific abilities and their work location.  

Source Talent

Once hiring managers have a clear idea of the type of staff they need to bring in, they can begin to source talent. Talent sourcing is the process of finding and connecting with potential talent. Hiring managers will often work with a service provider to determine which potential candidates fill their project needs. After selecting several suitable candidates, hiring managers can interview them, asking specific questions related to the tasks and project objectives.

Onboard Staff

The final step in the staff augmentation process is to onboard the selected candidates. Onboarding involves integrating external employees into the in-house staff through training and meetings, and managing any HR-related administrative tasks. Onboarding aims to get the external employees up to speed on the company’s workflow, culture, and goals so they can assimilate with the company workforce and contribute right away.

Leverage Revelo for IT Staff Augmentation 

Staff augmentation presents many advantages to the companies that utilize it. Businesses can scale their staff to meet market demands without worrying about long-term commitments, while time and cost saving. Companies interested in using staff augmentation for their IT department or software development teams should consider using a talent agency like Revelo.

At Revelo, we match businesses with Latin American developers who are highly skilled and U.S.-time-zone-aligned. Our pre-vetted talent pool contains developers with the technical know-how, soft skills, and English proficiency needed to fill the skill gaps in your team. Revelo assists with onboarding tasks, including payroll, benefits administration, local compliance, and taxes. We also provide assistance throughout the developer’s tenure with your company to ensure retention and engagement. 

Contact Revelo today to learn how we can help your company with its tech talent staffing needs.

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