Staff Augmentation: Definition, Benefits, and More

Staff Augmentation: Definition, Benefits, and More

September 26, 2022
Luan Campos
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Staff augmentation allows companies to hire outside individuals on a temporary basis for projects based on business need. Uncover the advantages of this model here.

When your business takes on a project that is too big to handle, you may consider augmenting your staff. IT staff augmentation can help you build an adaptable team that can tackle any project. This article will cover IT staff augmentation, including what it is and how you can use it to improve your team’s capacity.

What Is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation refers to using nonpermanent personnel on individual projects as needed. It’s a common staffing model for tech startups and other companies that may need a large project team for some clients but don’t need to hire a team full-time. Some reasons your organization might consider staff augmentation include:

  • Project-specific capacity
  • Temporary capacity while you build a new team
  • Special skills
  • Part of a strategy

The Benefits of Staff Augmentation for Tech Talent

In an ever-changing world like tech, staff augmentation can help your business weather various economic conditions and take on a broader range of projects than you might be able to with your existing team.

Upcoming IT professionals have come of age in the gig economy, and nearly 35% of the workforce freelances either full-time or in addition to their full-time job. Other potential benefits of augmenting your staff with outside personnel include the following.

Provides You With the Ability to Fill in Gaps in Your Internal Teams

Having access to team members with specialized skills is one of the top reasons your company may consider a staff augmentation model. The tech industry is currently booming, adding jobs at a 69% higher rate than this time in 2021.

Instead of scrambling to find employees for open positions while turning down work or falling behind on your internal projects, you can supplement your team with people who have the skills you need. You don’t have to spend a lot of time sifting through resumes, vetting employees, and hiring while your team falls behind. You can augment your existing team with people whose skills match those that are currently missing. You can also save money on office space and other costs associated with new hiring.

Allows You To Hire on a Temporary Basis

You probably have a skilled team built around the core competencies you need to keep your products and services up and running and to keep your customers happy. But when you’re trying to research and develop new products and services, do a major revamp to existing products, or any other project that requires a bigger team, your in-house staff might not be able to take it on without impacting their current work.

IT staff augmentation lets you hire remote developers who can round out project teams to help you finish big projects. There are many instances in which you might need a custom team that is more robust than what you can offer in-house. An extended team of remote developers can help you meet certain business objectives more quickly, whether you’re trying to get a new product or service to the market or you need to fix a new platform after its initial launch.

Whatever your reason for needing new hires, staff augmentation lets you hire who you need on a project-by-project basis. Your in-house team can serve the project without dropping their daily responsibilities, and you don’t have to hire full-time employees who won’t be busy once the big projects have been completed.

Provides You With the Same Level of Control Over Your Internal Team

Staff augmentation gives you flexibility while also allowing you control over your internal project team. If your staff is continually turning over based on project volume, you have to train and re-train new people at the beginning of each project. You run the risk of losing institutional knowledge that makes each project flow more easily.

If you choose to outsource parts of the project to subcontractors, you may not have as much control over their process, making quality control more cumbersome. You may also have to restrict access to proprietary parts of your products and services, making it more difficult to collaborate.

Staff augmentation outsourcing gives you access to skilled developers while letting your in-house team control the workflow. Since your core team knows the ins and outs of your business, they can be responsible for onboarding the extended team, helping projects kick off more quickly.

Offers You a Competitive Advantage With a Wide Talent Pool to Choose From

If you’re a tech startup, you are likely trying to maximize your seed funding, and you don’t need to blow it on a large team of developers. You may be tempted to offer large salary and benefits packages to stay competitive, but in your early days, you might not have the capital to compete with larger, established firms.

By choosing staff augmentation, you’re not limited to a small pool of professionals. You can tap into professionals whose skills align with your project. But startups aren’t the only tech companies that can benefit from staff augmentation. Larger companies can use this strategy to recruit highly specified experts for specific projects and/or tasks.

With staff augmentation, you’re not limited to professionals in your geographic region. You can tap into a team of people from all over the world and have them work remotely on various projects.

The Cons of Staff Augmentation

For all its benefits, staff augmentation does have some drawbacks. Before you start your staff augmentation strategy, consider some of the challenges you might face.

Longer Time to Ramp Up

Although staff augmentation gives your internal team more control over institutional knowledge and project management, this model can add time to the project startup. You will need time to get the extended team up to speed about your company and its products.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may also have to spend some time training your team about your clients and end users. Your remote teams need to understand how clients and customers use your product or service so they can develop products and solutions that meet these needs.

Other factors that can slow down project startup include:

  • Periods of oversight that take internal team members away from their daily responsibilities
  • Limited contextual knowledge
  • Possible communication issues between the internal team and remote staff

Some Projects Require Long-Term Commitments

If you need your extended team for a long-term project, it may be more cost-effective for you to hire additional full-time employees rather than deploying a staff augmentation model. Supplementing your internal team with remote workers for the long haul costs more than simply hiring a new employee. The skilled developers who can come in and fill these positions often charge more per hour, so if you’re using them for long-term projects, it could end up eating through your project budget.

Staff augmentation is a great solution for short-term projects and projects where you need a team member with highly specific skills. But it might not be the best long-term strategy. Before you decide how to supplement your staff, assess your long-term business objectives. If you’re planning on seriously ramping up research and development, or if you see a large volume of new customers, you may want to consider hiring full-time people for your team.

How Does the Staff Augmentation Model Compare to Traditional Outsourcing?

The main difference between staff augmentation and traditional outsourcing is that outsourced talent typically work for another company, while staff augmentation vendors help you find skilled talent, but your internal team is responsible for managing them.

In the traditional outsourcing model, you would work with another firm whose skilled professionals can handle certain aspects of your project. You may build a relationship with certain vendors you know you can trust, but ultimately, you have less control over their work and their process. Since you’re not the one recruiting, training, and vetting new employees, you run the risk of the vendor assigning team members who may be more difficult to get up to speed.

You also risk working with people whose standards aren’t at the same level as your in-house employees. If one of them makes a coding error or another mistake, your team may have to spend hours fixing it, potentially hindering your reputation with clients.  

Traditional outsourcing does offer some pros, however. Since you don’t have to manage team members, your internal employees have more free time for their daily responsibilities. You also have access to specialized resources without having to recruit and onboard employees.

This model may also be more affordable than staff augmentation, particularly on long-term projects. You often negotiate costs upfront with your preferred vendor, and you can include contract language to help you keep your budget from getting out of hand.

Before you decide how to supplement your project team, do a comparison of staff augmentation vs. IT outsourcing for your specific project. Consider:

  • Your project goals
  • Your existing resources
  • Your overall project budget
  • How long you expect the project to last
  • Technical resources you may be missing on your team

These factors will help you determine which of these outsourcing models is most beneficial to your company.

What Does the Screening Process Look Like for Staff Augmentation?

The resource and staff augmentation process flow will look similar to your traditional recruiting and hiring process, but you’re staffing employees as contractors rather than setting them up as full-time employees in your company. Here is the typical process.

Determine Your Needs

Like any other job posting, you’ll start by evaluating your goals for the new hire. Creating a job description will help you identify which technical skills you need to round out your team. You may also consider looking for remote developers with soft skills including teamwork, communication, and time management.

You want a remote team with the skills needed to do your job, but you also need people who can work well with your team.

Post Your Job

You can post your job on a variety of job boards, including LinkedIn, Upwork, or any other online boards you commonly use to recruit team members. But make sure you indicate that this is a project-specific contract position. Make it clear that you are hiring freelance people who will be employed for a short time, and don’t promise benefits or perks that come with full-time employment.

Evaluate Resumes and Schedule Interviews

Once you’ve posted your job, you will start receiving resumes. Depending on where you posted your listing, you may be able to filter out people who are not qualified. Many job boards let you filter resumes by keywords, skills and other factors.

Look through the mix of technical skills and soft skills needed to accomplish your project goals. Then schedule interviews to screen applicants and narrow down your pool of workers. While this process seems time-consuming, you want to find contract employees who fit into your team and who can do what you need them to do.

Hire and Onboard Your Remote Team

Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can offer temporary positions to your contract team. If they accept the position, collect their information and have them sign necessary legal documents. Not all companies onboard contract employees in the same way. You may have a contractor fill out tax documents and direct deposit forms, while another company might just pay them and let them handle taxes on their own.

Whatever your onboarding process for contractors, consider having any remote team members sign NDAs and other legal documents regarding proprietary and sensitive information.

Use a Staff Augmentation Service

If the thought of recruiting, vetting, interviewing, and hiring a remote team seems too labor-intensive, consider working with a staff augmentation service. These services handle the recruiting and vetting process for you, letting you call them and tap into their vast network when you need to pull together an extended team.

When Are Staff Augmentation Services the Way to Go?

Staff augmentation is a great solution when you need highly skilled workers for short-term projects. If you already have a network of trusted contractors you use on projects, you may choose to keep using them. But your personal connections may not be enough for every gap within your team.

If you need a large team for technical projects that need a lot of work, you may consider a staff augmentation service. This way, you can build robust remote development teams with all the skills for your project. You can find people to fill in every gap in your project while leaving the team management duties to people you trust within your company. You don’t have to risk subpar work from an outsourced firm you can’t manage directly.  

A staff augmentation service usually has access to a larger network of skilled professionals than you would have on your own. You don’t have to spend time posting on multiple job boards, hoping that your post connects with the right professional for your job. You can work with someone who knows their resources and can match you up with the best people for your job.

Staffing augmentation services may include gig platforms, traditional recruiting agencies and temporary job providers, or specialized staffing and consulting platforms. Some have more robust networks than others, so consider your needs before choosing an option.

For tech firms, finding freelance workers with the right skills for your project is critical and can have a big impact on your project. You need professionals with the technical skills required to code and program, but you may also want someone with experience in your specific industry. If you’re hiring for a fintech project, you may not have the same needs as a company working in e-commerce.

Using a specialized staffing augmentation service helps you cast a wider net, and you will likely reach professionals you might not find if you try to do it yourself.  You likely have a wide range of resources you use for staffing and outsourcing. Use these resources when you need to add to your team for increased project volume or when you have a very specific gap to fill for a short time.

Let Revelo Help You

Revelo is a tech company that connects Latin America-based software developers to U.S. companies. We have a network of over 300,000 pre-vetted tech professionals ready to jump into your project and round out your team. We’ve placed developers across three continents, and we know what it takes to staff projects.

Revelo has the largest online platform that enables you to source, hire, and manage English-speaking Latin America-based development professionals. With some staffing augmenting services, you may be working with professionals who are in time zones on the opposite side of the world. Our professionals align with your time zone, so your team can keep regular hours while effectively managing projects in real time.

Our time to hire usually lasts no longer than three weeks, so you can get your team up and running in a hurry. If staff augmentation is right for your company, contact us and find out how we can help you.

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