Learn about staff augmentation services and how they can help you
Technology moves fast, so fast that it makes it incredibly hard to keep your team up to speed on the ever-changing needs of the business. This is where staff augmentation services can come into play and be the droplet or two of rocket fuel in your development engine.
Staff augmentation services can come in many different flavours though. So it’s important to understand what’s out there and what makes the most sense for your team and organizational needs.
Today we’ll touch on how the different types of staff augmentation work, what are some benefits you can expect, and how to go about finding a staff augmentation service that works for you.
Understanding Staff Augmentation
In a nutshell, staff augmentation is an extra weapon in your arsenal for tackling business problems. A strategic staffing solution to bring in external personnel to supplement your existing team. Whether that be a short-term engagement or a long-term partnership, it can be whatever is needed for your team at that point in time.
A strategic staff augmentation service allows you to be flexible, and scalable, and ultimately move faster. It reduces the overhead of bringing in and managing people in-house. Helping you to fill a skills gap and bring in specific expertise when and where required.
Staff Augmentation vs. Traditional Hiring
We all know how the traditional hiring process goes…
- Figure out what you need
- Write a job description
- Review job description with ‘n’ number of stakeholders
- Send version ‘Job description FINAL v6 FINAL FINAL’ to HR
- Incorporate feedback from HR
- Get HR to post job listing
- HR reviews candidates
- HR sends candidates for you to pick
- HR screens candidates
- You go through 2-3 rounds of interviews
… and this is all before you even have someone in the seat! Then the onboarding starts…
Then this is how staffing with a great staff augmentation service can look:
- Figure out what you need
- Have a debrief with your staff augmentation partner
- They pull candidates from their pre-vetted talent pool
- You interview them
Now, this is an extreme example. But, if you’re a hiring manager in an enterprise organization – the above scenario is not uncommon.
If you’ve found yourself a great staff augmentation service and they’ve put in the work to build the relationship with your org. They’ll start to know what you’re looking for and what kind of candidates will fit your culture and expectations.
Benefits of Staff Augmentation
Let’s touch on a few benefits of using a staff augmentation service for your team. If you want to go deeper on this, check out my post on the ‘Benefits of Staff Augmentation’.
With a staff augmentation service, you have the power as the customer. You can dictate when and where you need extra workforce power. As your roadmap and budget ebbs and flows, you can easily adjust your team with augmented staff. You don’t have to figure out where to place people say if work dries up in a particular area. These augmented staff can go back to their agency until they’re needed again.
Staff augmentation services can cause initial sticker shock, but once you start comparing the cost over the lifetime of an employee’s tenure. You’ll find that staff augmentation becomes much more cost-effective.
Factoring in recruitment costs (as touched on above), onboarding, and training – the cost of full-time staff adds up quickly. Also, with augmented staff – you have a predefined end date for their time. You don’t have to think about a recurring cost beyond that.
Access to Expertise
Every so often you’ll run into a roadblock. A new technology, framework, or just business problem that you don’t know how to solve. This is a great example of where staff augmentation services can provide you a much-needed gap closer. Why would you go through the arduous process of bringing on someone in full-time for a gap that may not even exist in 3-6 months time?
Types of Staff Augmentation
Short-term Staff Augmentation
If you’re looking to fill a gap for less than 6 months, then a short-term staff augmentation would be right for you. It’s an ideal way to make sure a project gets across the line or inversely, if you’re looking to give an initiative or new team a boost before taking it on in-house.
Long-term Staff Augmentation
For anything more than 6 months, look for long-term staff augmentation services. With the right staff augmentation partner, they should be able to give you better rates for a longer engagement. If you’re in the process of annual operations planning (AOP) you might want to line up some resources that can be with you for that financial year to ensure that you hit those annual OKRs.
Project-Based Staff Augmentation
This is where things can get confused with professional services engagements. In a professional services project, the vendor will essentially execute on the initiative end-to-end. This means discovery, project management, analysis, development etc. Whereas a project-based staff augmentation service is based upon the ‘driving’ of the project being in-house with the addition of augmented staff to fill key roles.
The benefit here is that you’ll likely have a budget assigned to specific projects, so you know exactly how much these augmented roles will cost.
Full-time Equivalent Staff Augmentation
Full-time equivalent staff augmentation is when companies hire augmented staff to work full-time as if they were permanent employees. Full-time equivalent staff augmentation is ideal for companies that need to scale their workforce permanently, but do not want to incur the costs of traditional hiring.
This last engagement model is the least likely scenario for a staff augmentation service. But essentially, if you’re looking to bring on some personnel to supplement your team but you want to avoid the cost and pain of recruitment, onboarding, and training. Then a full-time equivalent staff augmentation will work for you.
However, in the long run it usually makes more sense to go through the traditional hiring process. As good people in your team will likely become ingrained in your processes and be critical pillars of your team’s success. You don’t want to have the viability of your team built around a third party. In this instance, it’s worth investing in the full-time hiring process to find someone long term.
Note: I know this doesn’t make sense for me to say for a company offering staff augmentation services… but it’s true! The model doesn’t work in every scenario!
Challenges with Staff Augmentation
Although staff augmentation has many benefits, its not always unicorns and rainbows.
There are also some challenges that you could run into. Here are some common challenges of staff augmentation services and how to overcome them:
Integration of Augmented Staff into Company Culture
Your augmented staff may not be familiar with the company culture, which sometimes leads to integration issues. Depending on your organization, you may have a strong company vision, mission and culture that you expect all employees to align with, even third party contractors.
To overcome this challenge, you should ensure that you set expectations with your services partner and work together to form an onboarding process that is fast but also incorporates key elements of company culture.
Communication and Management
Communication and management can be challenging when working with augmented staff. So make sure you and your services partner have clear expectations on how and when you’ll communicate. And ensure that there’s the intent behind communications, not just communications for the sake of it. After all, you want to reduce unnecessary overhead right?
Also, make sure that your services partner assigns you a single point of contact to work with if you ever run into any issues with your augmented staff.
If you’re looking to accelerate your delivery with augmented staff, make sure that you understand the different engagement models available and what fits your needs. Whether it be short or long term, find a services partner that is willing to tailor their services for you. Over time this relationship will make scaling teams up and down a breeze and help reduce the headache of accurately resourcing for your roadmap.
Need to quickly bring on some cloud and DevOps to supercharge your team? Give us a shout at Autimo. We’re made up of augmenters and augmentees (that’s not a word!), so we know what works and what doesn’t.