Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: Which Is Right for Your Company?

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Bruna Vasconcelos
Bruna Vasconcelos
Head of People

Table of Contents

Consulting and staff augmentation are two different styles and approaches to finding and hiring employees. Here's a great breakdown of both of them, and which will fit your company's style more.
Published on
June 2, 2023
Updated on
April 11, 2024

Over the last few years, different staffing models have emerged in the human resources and recruiting industry. Two — staff augmentation and consulting — are gaining popularity. Both will add staff to meet your long-term or temporary goals, but key differences exist between these models.

What's the right choice for your company? There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Staff augmentation and consulting each offer unique advantages to different types of organizations.

This article will discuss staff augmentation vs. consulting by exploring the advantages and drawbacks of each and providing advice on what might be the best fit for your company.

What Is Staff Augmentation?

Simply put, staff augmentation adds extra staff to an existing team. It implies hiring staff members with specific skill sets who can work on a particular project or offer additional support in areas where staff shortages occur. Staff augmentation can address specific staffing gaps, reduce workloads, and increase staff capabilities. It can be a cost-effective solution, especially for temporary hires that don’t need extensive in-house training.

A good example of staff augmentation in the IT industry is hiring remote developers to assist in developing, testing, and deploying a software solution. This staff joins the team for a specific period, such as a year or even a few months, and can supply the expertise needed to get the project off the ground without hiring full-time staff.

The distinguishing features of staff augmentation include the following:

  • They work for a limited time 
  • They only receive payment for the hours they put in
  • They don't receive regular employee benefits like paid leave and vacations
  • They are expected to complete the assigned tasks within a specific timeline

What Is Consulting?

In contrast to staff augmentation, consulting involves hiring a consulting agency or an individual who provides advice and guidance on a particular issue or project. The consultant is usually expected to have an extensive knowledge base and experience in their field and the ability to offer unbiased advice. Unlike staff augmentation, the consultant isn't necessarily expected to be involved in the execution of the project but, rather, provide strategic advice about how to move forward.

For example, a company may hire an IT consultant to develop a new software product roadmap. The consultant would analyze the project's current status and advise on how to move forward, what changes need to be made, and which technologies your organization should implement.

The distinguishing features of using a consultant include the following:

  • They provide specialized advice to clients.
  • They receive payment for the duration of services and for the results they deliver.
  • They work independently and aren’t necessarily part of the staff.
  • They are expected to supply unbiased advice without being swayed by corporate interests.

What Is Staff Augmentation in Consulting?

While the two concepts, staff augmentation and consulting, are indeed distinct, staff augmentation in consulting is an emerging concept that combines the two. It involves bringing on staff with specialized expertise to provide strategic guidance and hands-on assistance. Put simply, this model offers the best of both staff augmentation and consulting.

The staff member is expected to offer strategic advice and practical execution while on staff. This helps to create a more collaborative and efficient process, as the staff member can give feedback on current projects and help develop strategies for future ones. These staff members can also offer a unique perspective on the project and be more attuned to the company's objectives, often leading to better results.

Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: Choosing the Right Fit

Now that you better understand staff augmentation and consulting, it's time to decide which is the best fit for your company. While both can be beneficial in certain scenarios, the right choice will depend heavily on your project and the size of your team. Nonetheless, looking at the advantages and drawbacks of each model can help you make the best decision for your organization.

Staff Augmentation Pros

Some advantages of staff augmentation may include the following:

  • Cost-effective solution for staff shortages
  • Allows for on-demand staff with specific skill sets
  • It can be used on a short-term or long-term basis
  • Minimal training, as they are experienced in the required field
  • Less commitment and risk than hiring full-time staff

Staff Augmentation Cons

Some disadvantages to staff augmentation may include the following:

  • They may not be attuned to company objectives and goals, which could lead to misalignment with the project
  • They may not have an in-depth understanding of the company's operations and culture, leading to a lack of productivity
  • Existing staff may resent the augmentation staff, as they seem to be taking away their jobs
  • It can be more expensive in the long term if staff augmentation staff is used for long-term projects

Consulting Pros

Some advantages of hiring a consultant include the following:

  • It can help take the burden off staff from developing strategies and plans, letting the team stay focused
  • It can offer an external perspective on the project, often leading to more creative solutions
  • It can bring in specialized knowledge and experience that staff may not have
  • It can provide a non-biased view of the project, which existing team members may not be able to provide

Consulting Cons

Some disadvantages to working with a consult may include:

  • It is usually more expensive than staff augmentation.
  • The consultant will not be as well acquainted with the company's operations and culture, which may lead to reduced efficiency.
  • It can be difficult to oversee the consultant's progress and results as they work independently.
  • The consultant may not always provide unbiased advice, as the company’s corporate interests may influence them.
  • It can make staff feel disconnected from the project, as they are not directly involved in the execution.

When to Choose Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation is most appropriate if you need staff with specific skill sets and experience to fulfill a particular project or complete tasks in areas where staff shortages exist. It is also a great solution for companies needing ad-hoc or short-term staff but not looking to hire full-time staff.

When to Choose Consulting

Consulting is a great option for your company if it needs external expertise and advice on moving forward with a project, such as specialized advice on developing a product or service. It is also a smart choice if in-house staff feel overwhelmed by their workloads and need an external perspective to move forward.

Nearshore Staff Augmentation With Revelo

Ultimately, choosing staff augmentation vs. consulting will depend on the needs and goals of your company. Both models have advantages and drawbacks, so consider which would best fit your company. If you decide to take the staff augmentation route, then Revelo can help.

Nearshore staff augmentation is a great way to quickly staff your team with experienced software developers and engineers by tapping into a global talent pool. At Revelo, our service matches U.S. tech companies with vetted remote software engineers in Latin America. We provide staff augmentation services tailored to meet our client's needs and help them staff their tech team with qualified professionals.

Ready to staff your tech team with vetted remote software engineers? Reach out to us, and let us help you get started.

Need to source and hire remote software developers?

Get matched with vetted candidates within 3 days.

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