Deep dive into the pros and cons of staff augmentation & managed services and determine the right outsourcing model for your team.
What is Staff Augmentation? & Is This Hiring Solution Right for Your Company?
Staff augmentation is when a company hires temporary staff to help complete one or more projects.
The main purpose of staff augmentation is to quickly and easily find and hire new staff at short notice. It is also a useful way to acquire staff with specialist skills, knowledge, and expertise that would otherwise be difficult to obtain from a permanent employee. And it is a great way to increase the size and capabilities of an existing workforce without the need to commit to a permanent employee and pay for associated benefits like sick leave and holidays.
There are many unique advantages and challenges that come with staff augmentation. While it is a cost-effective way to acquire the necessary staff to complete a short-term project, the same approach could end up being more complicated – and expensive – than hiring permanent staff.
In this article, you will learn what staff augmentation is, how it works, its unique advantages and challenges, and how to choose a staff augmentation partner.
What is Staff Augmentation?
Staff augmentation is when a company makes use of outside personnel to boost the size and capabilities of its existing workforce. The augmented staff works for the company on a temporary basis, whether it be for a few weeks, months, or even a year.
As the augmented staff is not an official employee of your company, they may need access to the same in-house systems as your employees so that they can become a natural extension of your in-house development team and work together in harmony with them.
Depending on the approach that you take to acquire augmented staff, you may be responsible for onboarding and managing them while ensuring they are paid on time and at the correct amount. This means you have more control over your temporary staff, but you are also accountable for their performance.
How Does Staff Augmentation Work?
There are many steps that a company must take in order to hire augmented staff. Ideally, these steps should be carried out in sequential order so that you can accurately identify why you need to augment staff in the first place, secure the right tech talent, and then make sure they work well with your existing team.
Also, hiring augmented staff should be a collaborative development process, so be sure to involve not just the higher-ups in your company but also the team that will be working directly with the augmented staff. Everyone’s input counts, no matter how little or how much they will be involved with the temporary staff. This way, you will reap the full benefits of staff augmentation.
Here are the steps you should follow for flexible team augmentation services.
Identify the Skill Gaps in Your Existing Resources
What skills, knowledge, or expertise do you lack in your existing team that your augmented staff can help fill? Think about the specifics of your project and the kind of project outsourcing that needs to be sorted out for specific tasks.
For example, if your project is to develop and release a mobile application for iOS devices, then you will need a dedicated software team that has relevant skills and experience in that field, such as the ability to work with programming languages like Objective-C and Swift.
Be sure to consult the relevant team and the people in charge of managing that specific project so that they can advise you on the specialist skills and knowledge that they require.
Find and Hire Temporary Staff
There are a few solutions you can go about finding and hiring augmented staff.
If you have an in-house HR department, they could carry out the recruitment process for you by writing the job description, advertising the role, screening candidates, and then hiring the best people for the job. This approach may be best if you have the in-house capabilities to properly recruit temporary staff.
Alternatively, if you lack the necessary time and resources to recruit augmented staff, then consider reaching out to an IT staff augmentation company. These are companies that already have an in-house talent pool of suitably qualified augmented staff. And if you need industry-specific personnel, then the company will most likely have staff that covers a wide range of fields, as is the case for software development with experts in software QA and testing, programming, UI/UX design, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to name a few.
When you approach a staff augmentation company, you simply tell them what you need. They will then prepare a shortlist of potential candidates based on your predefined requirements. You will have the chance to interview each candidate and provide feedback until you are satisfied with your final choices. From there, the company will work with you to make sure that the transition is seamless and that the augmented staff has everything they need to start working for you.
These days, remote augmented staff are in abundance, so there is no shortage of remote tech talent to choose from. And you are not limited by regional restrictions, either. This means you will have an easier time filling the skilled technical resources in your business without worrying about relocation costs.
Maintain Communication with Your Augmented Staff
By far, the best way to get the most out of your augmented staff is to maintain clear, open, and honest communication with them. That means staying in touch with them on a regular basis, whether that be on a daily or weekly basis. Your augmented staff should have a clear understanding of their role, their performance expectations, and how their contribution fits within the grand scheme of the whole project.
In order to stay in touch with your augmented staff, it is best to use at least one piece of team collaboration software. Popular examples of team collaboration software include Slack, Monday, and Trello, but there are many more out there. The most important part is that both your in-house team and your augmented staff can communicate on the same collaboration platform. And that you have an easy way to assign tasks, monitor progress, and provide feedback.
Some staff augmentation services have their own project management tools and project managers, which you can access at any time to monitor the progress of your project. This ensures that you know what your augmented staff are doing, how well they are doing it, and what they should be doing next to satisfy the project goals.
And once the project is complete, the staff augmentation company will take care of de-transitioning the staff away from your company back into their own talent pool.
What Are the Pros & Cons of Staff Augmentation Services?
There are many advantages to using staff augmentation to enhance the size and skills of your existing workforce. But just like any recruiting method, the move does come with unique risks and challenges. That is why it is important to understand the risks involved, prepare for them, and avoid falling into the traps. This is a list of the pros and cons of staff augmentation and managed services.
Pros of the Staff Augmentation Model
Allows your company to quickly upscale. Without jumping through the hoops of the traditional hiring process – i.e., writing job descriptions, advertising, screening candidates, and onboarding – let an outsourcing vendor take care of preparing and transitioning candidates for you.
Your company gains access to specialist skills, knowledge, and expertise that may be harder to find in a permanent employee. And you only need to have these staff on board for a short period of time. So, you only pay for the time that you need the specialist talent for, providing numerous cost savings.
Hiring augmented staff can help diversify your existing talent pool and increase the flexibility of your workforce. They have the potential to bring new ideas to the table, new ways of thinking, new ways of solving problems, and new ways of innovating in areas that have previously not been explored. This doesn’t mean that they intend to replace your existing way of working. But they have the potential to innovate in ways that could yield surprising results.
Cons of the Staff Augmentation Model
There is a chance that augmented staff may not fit in with your in-house team. The best method to avoid this problem is to be transparent about the type of worker(s) you are looking for. This way, the staff augmentation partner can shortlist the best candidates for you and then give you the freedom to make the right choice.
Augmented staff may not have the deep, ingrained historical knowledge of a project that your in-house team has. This may include in-depth knowledge about the existing code, UI, or design elements and the known bugs and issues that need resolving. It is important to get your augmented staff up-to-speed on the history of the project and the technical specifications of your project to avoid this becoming a problem.
Bringing in outside help can increase the risk of third-party data breaches and the leaking of sensitive information, such as Intellectual Property (IP). Your contract agreement with your staff augmentation partner should have in place rules, guidelines, and procedures to protect you from digital threats. And there should be a clause that gives you viable legal recourse in the extremely unlikely event of an unauthorized data breach due to the presence of augmented staff. Having access restrictions in place for your augmented staff is another way to prevent data breaches by only giving them access to the services that they need to work on the project.
Is Staff Augmentation Right for Your Company?
The decision to bring augmented staff into your company is not one that should be made lightly. But when done correctly, the decision can present numerous benefits to your workforce. You gain access to specialist talent that you previously did not have, you enhance the capabilities of your existing workforce, and you only bring onboard the new staff for as long as you need them, thus avoiding unnecessary waste on expenses.
Of course, you need to be aware of the challenges that come with hiring augmented staff, such as the risk of miscommunication and potential data privacy concerns. But, by clearly outlining your expectations of the role, having in place a solid contractual agreement, and maintaining regular communication with your augmented team, you are more likely to achieve a successful outcome.
At Orient Software, our staff augmentation services are designed to take the stress and hassle out of expanding your existing IT workforce and give you the necessary software development skills that you need to complete your project on time and within budget.
Just tell us what you need, and our project managers will send you a list of potential candidates. You can interview them personally, get to know them, and then make an informed choice on your project outsourcing needs.
From there, we will take care of the formalities, and they will become a natural extension of your team. You can then stay in touch with them through our proprietary project management tools. And once the project is complete, we will transition your augmented staff back to our talent pool so that they no longer have access to your project and systems.
For more information about our IT staff augmentation services, contact us today.
Topics: IT Staff Augmentation
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