Staff Augmentation in Focus

Businesses are becoming more competitive every day.  Most of the world’s businesses never stop improving not just their services but how they managed their workforce as well. But how do businesses utilize staff augmentation to deliver project goals?

The industry’s most successful businesses are utilizing staff augmentation to control both planned and sudden changes to the business. Any kind of staffing for businesses, whether managed or augmented are both highly complex. Getting the right number of individuals with the right skill set base for both temporary and long term is surely a process that’s complicated enough to give human resource team a headache.

When to Consider Staff Augmentation?

When should a business consider staff augmentation for a software project? Although different situations can give different answers, most staff augmentation development projects fall into one of the following categories of consideration:

  1. The business is unable to retain or hire enough skilled staff to meet its normal workloads.

    Since 1990s, United States economy created a scarcity of competent and skilled technical staff to handle software development projects. For corporations that were installing large software suites, the situation was aggravated by the demand for IT staff with this proficiency. Other businesses also have a recurring problem of retaining qualified workforce for a variety of reasons. In these cases, temporary staff are brought in to fill the existing gaps. They can be viewed as contractors, used until the project completion or until permanent employees are hired.

  2. IT projects need skilled staff for a specific part of project.

    For large scale software system development projects, the IT department might need more coders, testers and designer more than what it currently has. Rather than hiring full-time permanent staff that will entail higher cost, businesses can use contractors to fill in the gaps. Similarly, many businesses used different outside service partners and providers to assist with their software development projects. Unlike the first case, which had an indefinite period, this use of staff augmentation is for a definite period.

  3. The business seeks flexibility in staffing.

    Some industries and companies have a history of boom-and-bust staffing. As the businesses and country’s economic conditions change, major projects are cut to adjust, and staff levels are reduced to make the ends meet. To avoid having to occasionally dismiss employees, businesses tend to keep a core team, and use contractors when needed during the high times. Although, they are paying more daily for the contractual staff, they avoid the higher expense, stress and pain of severing full-time and long-term employees.

  4. IT sector requires specialized knowledge and skill set.

    The field of Information Technology is divided into different industries. Each needing its own staff with specific knowledge and skill set. In most cases, there will be a shortage of staff with the desired skills. While full-time outsourcing is an option, hiring through staff augmentation who will work together with the in-house team will provide knowledge transfer and on-the-job training as well. A primary advantage of this method is the fact that short-term staff augmentation results in a long-term upgrading of the in-house team’s skills.

  5. The business wants to retain every day control of all staff.

    Outsourcing is undeniably successful for businesses, but it is also a fact that there are still some businesses that are not compatible nor comfortable with the complete transfer of tasks and responsibilities. For these situations, staff augmentation can fill the gaps in staffing and expertise levels, without going through a complicated cultural shift. The primary advantage to staff augmentation is the flexibility it gives the businesses and the in-house IT department. Due to the ad hoc and short-term nature of hiring contractors, the team can move on quickly with the project, bringing on additional skilled staff for specific projects and removing them once the project is complete. This flexibility advantage extends to the actual hiring decisions.

Although staff augmentation is an outsourcing method, it has the highest cost among the other outsourcing options. Although this does not affect limited-length projects such as the provision of specialized skills during the project’s critical phase, the use of contractors for semi-permanent staff augmentation can become a challenge.

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

  • Avoiding Recruitment and Training Costs

The recruitment process can be extremely costly. Sourcing skilled applicants, screening the right candidates and finally hiring and training new employees can be a daunting task for the recruitment team. It is more than what it looks more specifically for hiring in the IT industry as the candidates needs to be highly technical and experienced at the same time. Providing other benefits and training to these new employees can harm the business’ budget even more, especially if these employees later realize that they don’t fit for the job or much worst, decided not to stay during the training period. Staff augmentation gives businesses the opportunity to bypass this tedious hiring and training process, saving both the cost, uncertainty and effort put into the hiring process.

  • Filling Specialized Roles with Required Skill Set

The demand for specialized skill sets is increasing as fast as the IT industry is evolving. To stay competitive businesses, need to meet this demand that may be required for one specific project or business need, but not necessarily for the whole business itself. Staff augmentation provides a way for businesses and IT teams to fill these gaps without the commitment to engage the new members of the team and to utilize the same skill set again in the future projects. Staff augmentation method can end as soon as the project is completed or if the company needs it. This can save businesses from an intensive recruitment process and make it possible for them to get the help needed temporarily at a much lower cost.

  • Expanding Industry into Foreign Markets

No owner starts their own business without looking to expand. Setting up the business’ next location whether in the same country or overseas can be a daunting task, especially if the future of the business in the next area is still unclear. Staff augmentation offer businesses the opportunity to have local contract workers familiar with the foreign location to assist with different legal matters in setting up the business as well as other potential problems that may arise when starting to operate in a new business location. Additionally, there is no commitment to pay for the existing employees’ travel costs for nor there is a need disrupt local operations as the hired contractors will take care of what’s needed to be done for the expansion to be completed.

  • Retaining Overall Control over Projects

As mentioned above, outsourcing may be the cheapest and best way to handle different IT projects, but it doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone. There will be some businesses that would still want full control of the project regardless of the team composition. All outsourcing projects can be risky, although most are successful, there still a handful that ends in failure. Staff augmentation can fulfill the company’s need to maintain a full control over the projects compared to complete outsourcing.  

Staff augmentation also allows the interaction between the contracted staff and the internal employees as they work together to complete different projects. This is one biggest advantage of this method as communicating directly within the working team is easier and solving the problem could be faster if there are issues that need to be addressed. This can save time, while also making current employees feel more valued and less threatened by the external aid.

  • Scaling the Team to the Current Project Needs

While being short-staffed can be problematic, being overstaffed can also be a tough situation for the recruitment team. Having to lay off full-time and talented employees can be emotionally taxing for all the parties involved and can tarnish a company’s reputation if employees come to feel that they are not as valued as they thought they would be. Staff augmentation gives businesses the opportunity to temporarily add team members to ramp up the project production and end contract as soon as the required variables are met or when the project is completed. The boundaries, expectations, hiring and project duration is already set from the get-go, avoiding unnecessary conflicts should the contract ended earlier than anticipated. Businesses, as well as contractors need not to worry on emotional stress that can be brought by dismissal as there’s no commitment and expectations set.

Staff augmentation can solve many staffing problems, but at the same time, it also raises several concerns. Utilizing staff augmentation can help you meet business demands efficiently without negative impact to your internal staff or company reputation. This may or may not be the right outsourcing method for your current project, but it can surely be one of the best options available.

Different outsourcing companies offer both managed services and staff augmentation to meet the different needs of a businesses both locally and internationally. With both benefits and concerns, staff augmentation brings, business owners need to carefully consider what they really need for the project to success.

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