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An Overview of Staff Augmentation

Technology has always been a rapidly developing career path for those that choose to follow it. IT jobs have exploded beyond our wildest imagination since the onset of the computer en masse and the introduction of the Internet. With that comes the challenge of building out strong teams that can cater to many ongoing functions within a company. The ability to work from home was something that, at one point, was a pipe dream or usually involved taking surveys or being a “mystery shopper.” Now in 2022, it’s not unusual to have an entirely distributed workforce without an office of any kind, relying solely on various communication applications and software systems to perform essential job functions. This is made stronger by cloud infrastructure and an ever-evolving mobile workflow.

For many companies, it is still essential to maintain a strong, dedicated in-house workforce for daily operational success. For others, smaller in-house teams are preferred while outsourcing to other companies or employees, usually, contractors are beneficial and can help fill in hiring gaps should those arise.

But if we take a step back, are companies leaving potential growth by not having an entirely in-house team? Or is staff augmentation here to stay?

What is Staff Augmentation?

We’re sure you’ve heard of staff augmentation, hiring outside developers, technicians, or any other type of employee to fill a talent gap. Sometimes it’s used temporarily, and other times call for more long-term endeavors with the potential, for some, to turn into full-time employment.

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation can get tricky depending on the goal of the company. On the one hand, short-term outsourcing could be beneficial when staff members are out on vacation, or a specialist skill set is needed for a particular project. Long-term outsourcing can be helpful for extended assignments or a longer-term stopgap between the time in-house staff is trained or hired for that outsourced role.

Staff augmentation is also more cost-effective in most cases. This is because an augmentation firm usually handles the distribution of funds for payroll, and companies pay them a monthly fee. This saves the business from providing benefits but also disperses a lot of the tax burden usually associated with on-staff personnel.

Problems and Things to Look Out For

One problem companies may face while looking to fill talent gaps is the length of commitments. The shorter the term, the more it usually costs. In some cases, like a six-week project that needs talent ASAP, it may be cheaper to hire an independent contractor or completely outsource the work. Some staff augmentation firms provide talent in blocks of time, which may require keeping staff for specific time frames (eight weeks minimum, for example) and could be more expensive than necessary.

Is Staff Augmentation Worth It?

That’s the million-dollar question, and for good reason: It’s an incredibly valuable service that helps fill a gap for a company. Just remember to assess the needs of your business to see if staff augmentation is right for you. The time to find dedicated in-house staff is often filled with multiple-stage interviews, salary and benefits negotiations, and ongoing training.

The benefit of hiring in-house talent is that you’ll get the right candidate for the job you’re hiring for, and they’ll hopefully stick around to become an invaluable asset to your team. But when situations that need experienced talent immediately arise, staff augmentation and outsourcing can prove to be the right thing at the right time.

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