The way the world works these days, it can be difficult to predict how many labor hours you will need for the next quarter.
Whether you sell products or services, the global shipping shortages are affecting almost every industry. And if you are suffering from shortages, once you receive what you need to complete orders, everyone has to work extended hours to satisfy customers.
For companies with physical products to assemble and deliver, hiring temporary labor can help in a pinch. But, what about companies selling services, for instance, IT, website design, or digital marketing services? In these cases, staff shortages or temporary needs for contingent workers can be solved using Staff Augmentation services.
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What is Staff Augmentation?
What is the definition of staff augmentation? Staff augmentation is a relatively new term that is very representative of the time we are in. With so many companies continuing to use remote workers even as employees return to workplaces for the first time since the pandemic began in early 2020, employers have found that many of the jobs they thought needed to be performed in-house, actually can be done satisfactorily using remote workers.
This situation is especially true for service companies and those that sell software as a service (SaaS). Technology that was needed to facilitate remote work and project outsourcing was developed in high gear due to the urgent need during the pandemic. And now that people are returning to work, many workers prefer to work from home because it’s more comfortable and convenient. Employers are finding that remote workers and project outsourcing are more cost-effective.
Companies have gotten used to and embraced remote work and remote workers as equal to in-person workers, which has opened up new opportunities for temporary remote workers and project outsourcing. This brings us back to the definition.
Staff augmentation is an outsourcing model for hiring outside workers with skills needed to augment the work capacity and/or production of your company or organization on a temporary basis.
Benefits of Staff Augmentation
How does your company benefit by using staff augmentation even as businesses adapt to rapidly changing circumstances that affect how they do business?
Filling Gaps in Your Team
One of the biggest benefits of staff augmentation is filling in gaps in your team’s roster to keep your work performance up to par.
While this process works well for IT positions, it is just as successful with other positions like procurement, SEO, or content marketing. You can use this model to expand your team of full-time employees, and hire skilled workers from outside your company for the period of time needed to complete a job.
Tech talent augmentation can save your company money over the long run. Using this model, you have the opportunity to hire temporary workers, so you don’t need to hire full-time workers who require health insurance and other benefits.
You can pay for skilled workers for the exact amount of time needed, as you need them, and not a minute more.
With software developers and other tech staff augmentation, your company saves time on internal tasks including many HR department duties like posting jobs, recruiting candidates, interviewing candidates, and the paperwork needed to hire new employees full-time or part-time.
Empower Your Existing Staff
Augmenting staff is unlike outsourcing where you hand over a job completely to an outside team, then wait for them to manage and complete it. Instead, you and your in-house tech talent team maintain more control over every step of the project including how to manage and prioritize it.
Digital marketing staff augmentation can also help you avoid geographical issues like connecting in two different time zones. You can hire staff that comes into your building in-house, or works remotely with your permanent staff in your time zone, all as part of your team.
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Types of Staff Augmentation
As you consider whether SEO staff augmentation will work for your business, it helps to understand the types.
- Commodity Staff Augmentation – You have a task that needs to be performed by reliable workers that don’t need a specific set of skills.
- Skills-Based Staff Augmentation – Your task requires specific skills (multi-lingual, digital marketing, customer service) but not a high level of proficiency.
- Highly-Skilled Staff Augmentation – You need to hire people with advanced skills and considerable training to complete your job.
Types of Staff Augmentation Services
There is a wide range of available staff augmentation services when seeking temporary tech professionals for the needs of your organization’s local team.
Traditional Temporary Services Agencies
Temp agencies have been used to hire entry-level staff for a long time. These agencies work best when you need general staffing for a low-skill level position using specific skills (receptionist, typing, data entry).
Master Vendor Staffing Providers
These providers are large-scale staffing programs run by a single vendor. They provide highly-commoditized labor needs where low cost and scale are most important. With such a high scale, talent quality may be inconsistent.
Gig platforms are online and provide immediate access to independent workers. This resource provides workers for task-based needs for more commoditized skillsets.
Specialized or Boutique Staffing and Consulting Firms
Boutique staffing firms focus on a specialized and highly-skilled talent pool that you call on in a very specific situation. Because they’re so specialized they’re also costly.
On-Demand Talent Platforms
On-demand platforms are also online, although this outsourcing service provider offers access to curated, highly-skilled talent. This platform deploys quickly once contacted, sending highly-skilled individuals where needed.
Direct Independent Relationships
This isn’t a platform. These are individual relationships that you cultivate over time with independent contractors who are skilled professionals in their specialized skillset. This relationship requires that you build trust with the contractor, usually after you know the quality of their work.
Staff Augmentation vs. Other Models
How do you decide which model will work best for your need, your situation? This comparison of staff augmentation vs. other staffing models will help guide you.
Staff Augmentation Model
The staff augmentation model allows you to personally select candidates for your remote team and manage them in-house. You control the situation without handling the administrative paperwork and hiring issues that are required if you hired them directly.
This gives you the time and skills you need for your in-house development team, so you can collaborate with your team of augmented staff like you do regularly.
Managed Services Model
With the managed services model, you assign the project to an outsourcing company and they handle all aspects of that assignment.
They use their own team, run data through their system, and manage all of the processes off-site. In this case, you don’t need to use any of your resources or expertise in-house or work with your own remote-work digital marketing team.
When projects are outsourced, you might not know who the personnel are that are assigned to your project implementation, what percentage of the project is completed, and what decision-making is occurring.
Your Own Research & Development Team
Having your own R & D team in-house is convenient because you are maintaining control over every part of their work cycle, and staying updated with their work every step of the way.
However, creating a new R & D team within your company would mean hiring 40 or more new full-time employees possibly in another country with a broader talent pool to draw from in the software development field.
This can potentially lead to legal issues if you aren’t familiar with the hiring laws in that country, plus you face all the risks yourself.
Key Questions When Considering Staff Augmentation
If you are considering implementing staff augmentation for your business, here are the key questions to keep in mind.
What is the difference between staff augmentation and managed services?
Because staff augmentation is a relatively new solution to HR needs, sometimes the language describing it can cause confusion.
One misunderstanding is the difference between staff augmentation and managed services. Managed services are used for specific projects to be delivered on an agreed-upon timeline.
Staff augmentation is concerned with a job description that is paid for on a time and material basis. This model works well when your company needs a specific analysis of marketing data that no one in your company is qualified to analyze. You need a temporary staff member to perform the data analysis and you pay the outsourcing vendor for them at an hourly rate.
If you used a managed-service contractor, they would be hired to create the analysis and meet specific key performance indicators (KPI). Then your business would pay them upon project completion (as your contract specifies).
What is a staff augmentation model?
A staff augmentation model is a powerful tool that can be leveraged by businesses to respond to your organization’s changing needs in an agile fashion. It can be implemented across industries and used for operations, finance, R & D, human resources, marketing, software development, and procurement.
What are the disadvantages of outsourcing?
The disadvantages of outsourcing are all related to the nature of outsourcing. The outsourcing vendor is assigned a project. Then, they run with it, using their own resources and management.
At the end of the project, they give you the completed deliverable. You have no control over personnel, project management, or quality.
How it Works
Here’s how staff augmentation works. It starts with identifying your company’s needs.
1. Identifying Needs
First, you must outline your outsourcing goals clearly. This prepares you to create a team of workers talented in their fields who can bring their skills and energy to your project so you can complete it within your budget in a timely fashion.
2. Sourcing Skilled Talent
Second, carefully select your augmented staff provider. Look for a staffing firm that handles marketing or another field needed, and that properly vets candidates. Proper sourcing gives you peace of mind so you can focus on your project at hand.
3. On-Boarding and Integrating Talent
Once your team is assembled, let everyone know their responsibilities for the project and the roles they will have. This will ensure that there is no confusion on workers’ roles, and everyone is on track. Give your team time to ask questions, and then you will have the opportunity to offer feedback as the project ensues.
4. Ongoing Support
If you want your project completed on time and according to your specifications, you need to continuously provide support to your entire team including your augmented staff. Without a guide, it’s difficult for anyone to complete a project to your specifications no matter what level of talent they have.
How to Succeed with Team Augmentation
The key to success is ensuring everyone is on the same page and communication is a top priority between all parties.
- Choose a vendor that provides your temporary staff with sufficient facilities and equipment whether in-house or remote.
- Ensure that your team is well-integrated with your augmented staff. One way is to provide a camera in the room with your in-house team to facilitate communications.
- Work with your vendor to find the right temporary staff to augment your team.
It takes a combination of good communication, timely reporting, and clear expectations for all parties to successfully integrate your in-house team with your outsourced staff. Qckbot can assist your company with staff augmentation services for your digital marketing and web development needs.