What is Staff Augmentation? Using Outside Personnel Right

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What is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is the process of hiring a skilled professional to work onsite at your company on a contractual agreement. It gives you a powerful alternative to full-time employment. By leveraging expert contract workers and outsourced services, you can enhance your existing team’s capabilities for a given project.

The practice is already very common, especially in the IT industry. Its popularity comes from the ease with which you can hire tech talent without a full-time contract. 

At the same time, you get to manage them directly for the timeframe in which they’ll provide their services to your company.

Freelancing is on the rise, and you can go that route too. However, it’s much easier and safer to choose a vendor like Five Pack if you need staff augmentation for your mobile app development.

You get the certainty that the personnel was already vetted, and you have options for both quick projects and long-term engagements.

It’s really just staffing on-demand, without any employer burdens attached. No health insurance, no 401Ks, no ongoing training. Just experts that are there to get a job done.

How Does Staff Augmentation Help Your Business

There are multiple scenarios in which you can leverage the advantages of staff augmentation. 

For example:

  1. If your team of developers needs help with another part of your software product, you could spend a good chunk of time searching for a candidate. It isn’t easy to come across local talent for full-time employment, and the demand for it is strong to begin with. So, you can just augment your existing team with temporary members.
  2. You’re looking for someone that’s a specialist in a niche technology, or for a very particular project. Traditional recruitment will be lengthy, you’ll probably need to offer a substantial salary, and perhaps that employee’s niche skill set wouldn’t fit with your other projects. Instead, choose staff augmentation.
  3. You’re catering to seasonal businesses, working on a contract-by-contract basis, or just need a big push to meet a deadline. The way to fill in surges and spikes of extra work is through temporary staff augmentation.
  4. You want to expand your current team and build-up candidates with great potential, but you need skilled staff in the meantime too. You can use staff augmentation for longer periods of time too.
  5. You want to increase your company’s competitiveness by rapidly decreasing your development time. Having a team of almost exclusively augmented employees gives you the flexibility to always increase speed to market. You can completely change your personnel depending on the project and required knowledge.

Direct benefits

Flexibility is potentially the #1 benefit of staff augmentation. The pool of IT professionals from which you can choose is instantly greater. UX/UI designers, full-stack developers, project managers, QA engineers, scrum masters, they’re all a few clicks away!

Additionally, if you end up thinking you’d prefer a different developer, it’s way easier to change them too.

The cost is transparent. No admin or training expenses, no need to provide working spaces or other facilities and benefits. You pay the vendor the agreed amount, and you get the work done by the expert(s). It’s as simple as that.

Your IP rights are unaffected. Everything that’s being developed or worked on belongs strictly to you. You don’t have to worry about IP protection training either, as augmented staff doesn’t get access to sensitive information.

Productivity levels remain high. Staff augmentation isn’t the same as just outsourcing your work to someone else and forgetting about it. The specialists become a direct part of your team, and only your team. They’re not working for other projects of other companies in the meantime, and you also get to manage them.

Pros And Cons of Staff Augmentation

When it comes down to it, no organizational strategy is going to be the unquestionable overall best. There’s just the best way to proceed for your company. 

Staff augmentation is oftentimes the way to go, but it’s not without its faults either. In the end, it’s up to you to decide if this is the correct option for your business. 

Consulting with your hiring managers and project managers about current requirements and staffing needs is a great starting point.

Here are some extra considerations to keep in mind:

High skilled augmented team will quickly understand and improve a project. Very complex or context-heavy projects may not be the best fit for staff augmentation. Your full-time team could actually end up explaining the background situation more than working.
You’re no longer looking for employees that are a generally good fit for all of your work. Instead, you pick and choose specialists based on the project. While you can also hire temporary staff for long term projects (1+ year), it might turn out to be more expensive than full time employees at that point.
Your augmented resources can also act as mentors to your full-time employees. They can show them how a task is done correctly, etc. Sustainability can become an issue. The higher the dependency on a third party, the more you’ll be affected by their turn over rate.
Augmented staff doesn’t have to be fired. After the work you paid for is done, they’ll be allocated to another company, another project. No extra paperwork!
Temporary workforce is a great morale booster for full-time employees. It shows you’re serious about keeping them employed, and bringing in extra help as needed.
If you’re particularly busy during one or two quarters of the year, you can bring in extra staff then. No need to bear the constant cost of full-time employees year-round if it’s not profitable.
A low-risk way of potentially finding a new employee.


The Different Types Of SA Available

Staff augmentation is a great one stop shop. Regardless of your industry or the level of skill your talent pool should have, there’s always a group of people to choose from.

Low skill ceiling You need reliable and professional workers to perform tasks that aren’t difficult. Construction work, retail, manual labor, waiters for events, data entry jobs, assistants, etc.
Medium skill ceiling You need augmented staff that’s familiar with office work. They should know how to use computers (Google Drive, Microsoft Office, emails, etc), but nothing too complicated. Mid-level programming, transcriptions, making reports, call centre agents, outreach specialists, etc.
High skill ceiling Your temporary personnel must have extensive training and experience. Tasks are difficult. Engineers, law experts, SEO specialists, designers, copywriters, etc.


SA isn’t just for the IT niche anymore. With its proven effectiveness, many industries are looking to bring in temporary workforces, and the practice is likely to expand more and more.


Choosing The Right SA Model For Your Business

So, what’s the model that will best suit your business? Of course, that depends! How complicated are the roles for which you need staff augmenting? What will the precise tasks be, and for how long do you need the extra personnel?

Do you need 50 people for relatively low paying jobs that only require minimum instructions? Or, do you have a complex project in need of 2 specialists that’ll be a considerable cost?

All of these facets and more are crucial to selecting an SA plan that will increase your company’s ROI.

4 available options

Gig platforms are online tools that give you direct access to freelancers. You have access to a wider variety of choices, but this is also a disadvantage. It becomes unclear who’s actually an expert, and it’s harder to find personnel for high-skill projects.

On-demand talent platforms (like ours!) are a source of curated specialists that are highly-skilled at their job. These platforms are characterized by a quality-first approach, with flexible personnel and scalable solutions.

Master vendor staffing providers are large-scale organizations who place a lot of commodity workers at your disposal. These can be a go-to solution for low cost manual labor or other physical-intensive work.

Traditional staffing providers are your in-between organizations. They can provide augmented staff with mid-range skills, suitable for projects that aren’t time sensitive or very important.

4 Aspects To Keep in Mind

The project’s length

Contingent workforces tend to lose their value and cost efficiency when projects take several months or years. Generally, you’ll want to use staff augmentation to fill gaps in skill and expertise for short periods and time-essential work. 

Sometimes though, you don’t have the required full-time employees for a long-term project. Just try discussing complete outsourcing with your augmented staff provider. For example, at Five Pack, we also offer independent custom mobile app development.

The project’s complexity

Just because someone is skilled, it doesn’t mean they can perform any task without understanding the underlying concept. Ramp-up time can become very costly, very fast. 

Before committing to augmented staff for context-heavy projects, make sure you have the proper procedures in place to bring them up to speed efficiently. 

The nature of the project

If a project relies heavily on your business’s trade secrets, patents, or other IP, you should be very careful drafting up the contract.

Generally, you have nothing to fear. Augmented resources have less access to your company’s databases than full-time employees, and you’re legally protected anyway. 

However, if your project’s nature is really based around secrecy, make sure that the contingent workforce’s access is managed appropriately.

Staff Augmentation is NOT managed services

Staff augmentation is a newer practice in itself, even if the concept of working with freelancers and temporary employees goes way back. So, some people confuse it with the idea of managed services.

This is incorrect, and the easiest way to understand the difference is through a comparison.

If you bring in an SEO specialist to do a keyword research for your brand and you pay them by hour, that’s SA. They delivered a piece of work, you pay them, deal closed.

A managed services SEO specialist would also have to ensure that those keywords are used in a broader marketing strategy. The strategy would then be implemented. If, after that, your platform’s organic traffic increases, the specialist gets paid.

In other words, managed services is outsourcing, another great option in itself.

use of alternative labor

Ready to Succeed?

Staff augmentation is an amazing approach. It gives your organization the agility and flexibility that it needs in order to succeed in the fast-paced and ever changing business world of today.

If you’re in need of diligent & quality-driven mobile apps experts, we’re the ones you need to contact. Improve your team today with an augmented workforce, or even direct hires!

We look forward to hearing from you and building great apps together!

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