When you need to hire experts, especially if they are mid/senior level staff or rare specialists. Then the process can be pretty challenging and time-consuming. Assessing the right talent for the right purpose, sorting through resumes, interviewing, and whatnot can consume a lot of your time, and resources. But, if you’re looking for long-term employees whom you want to retain, then hiring in-house is the best choice. But sometimes, especially for project-based work you might need to staff up real quick to start a project or finish an ongoing project fast. This where Staff Augmentation & Project Outsourcing comes into play.
In this post, we will dive deep into what Stuff Augmentation is. The difference between Staff Augmentation, and Project Outsourcing. Why these staffing models is a good move for your business. When is the right time to use these staffing strategy? The challenges you may face, and their solutions.
Resource/Staff Augmentation VS Project Outsourcing
Staff augmentation means when companies seek external help to expand a team. In order for them to start a project or finish an ongoing project quickly. They usually turn to 2 different hiring models:
Resource Or Staff Augmentation
Also known as Outstaffing this is a type of outsourcing. This model is a brilliant choice when companies need to expand their human resources quickly. But do not want to deal with the liabilities that come with the employees. In most use cases, companies usually have an already existing in-house team. The augmented resources works as an extension of the in-house team. That results in scaling the hiring process, and getting access to pre-qualified experts quickly at a reasonable cost. Typically, for the short-term. But it can be also long-term, depending on your circumstances.
Types of Staff Augmentation
There are two types of Staff Augmentation models:
Remote Augmented resource/staff:
As the name suggests augmented staff who work remotely for a company.
On-Site Augmented resource/staff:
They works with the company on-site. This means the augmented staff works on-site with in-house employees. But is not a direct, or in-house employee of the company.
The Staff Augmentation Model Usually Looks Like
Project Outsourcing is a bit different. In this case, the company, or the project owner already has the project goal planed. To execute, the companies or the project owners takes help from third-party resources. In this model, the company or the project/product owner only cares about the end results of the project. Hands over the project to third-party resources. How the project will play out is no longer his/her concern. This type of deal is usually short-term, and project-based. The transaction is usually done within one or two time payments or based on project milestones.
Project Outsourcing Model Usually Looks Like This
Both Staff Augmentation, and Project Outsourcing have their own benefits. Depending on different circumstances. Project Outsourcing is typically used when companies look for the most cost-effective solution.
Augmented resources are used when companies are looking to avoid overall liabilities and minimize costs, while also being able to manage the workforce directly. While being cost-efficient at the same time.
Why Staff Augmentation is a Good Move?
While both Staff Augmentation, and Project Outsourcing have their own benefits. The former is often the most beneficial. As organizations can hire pre-qualified talents on demand. While minimizing liabilities. Also still being able to directly control, and manage the workforce.
The advantages of Resource Staff Augmentation are countless. Especially in the case of IT projects. Ranging from the most obvious ones such as the ability to hire on-demand. Instant access to world-class talents, time & cost efficiency, etc.
Let’s dive deep into some of the benefits that Staff Augmentation has to offer.
If optimizing resources is one of the objectives. Staff Augmentation is by far the best option. As there’s no need to hire recruitment agencies or eat up in-house recruiters’ time to hire talents for the projects. As these resource staff augmentation firms already have pre-qualified staff in hand. These firms will also deal with all sorts of paperwork regarding the employees.
The staff augmentation process will let you hire as many resources as you need. Also, scale up or down depending on your circumstances. Even though it depends on the contract that you sign with the resource vendor. It’s highly customizable. In terms of budgeting, you have the option to select, negotiate, and agree to payment plans, hourly rates, leave policies, and scaling time, etc.
Direct Control & Communication
For example, if you outsource your software development project to third-party vendors. They will take charge of every detail. Which means you’re basically handing your project to complete strangers. Where you only get to take reports, and status updates on the project. You won’t have much control over how the project is being played out. In the case staff augmentation, however, you have the option to directly communicate, and control the human resources. As the augmented staffs works as an extension of your in-house team. You or your project manager can personally assign tasks, check for updates, and take reports from the augmented team.
An augmented team is the most reliable in case of productivity. As they’ll spend their time & focus on your project. On the hand, your project outsourced vendor may handle a bunch of other projects simultaneously. Rest assured, you’re getting maximum output and direct control. While also reducing costs and liabilities.
Fill-up Workforce Gap
If your existing workforce has gaps, staffing up quick is a way to improve the workforce. Then Staff augmentation is a great model for you. This will not only help you fill up the gaps, but also save resources, and scale up and down. While ensuring quality at the same time.
Pay For What You Need
Staff augmentation also allows you to save money over time. In this model, hiring full-time employees isn’t always necessary. Which can cost you a lot, if you don’t need full-time workers. You can also hire temporary employees, and only pay them for what you need, or as long as you need.
Challenges With Augmented Team
If you avoid the key challenges that your company may face with this process. Then you may not be able to fully leverage the role of staff augmentation.
Language & Time Zone Barrier
If you’re offshoring the augmented team, then language & time might be a barrier. In that case, you need to ensure the fact that the team or the staff that you’re hiring is fluent in the language you speak or vice versa. Another great barrier that you may face is time. As you’re offshoring, your time zone, and the time zone of the staff or the team that you’re hiring will not be the same. Then you need to clearly make sure if the staff that you’re about to hire can adjust with your time zone or not. Time may not always become a very big barrier as some work can be done with minimal monitoring. All you need is flexible time for meetings.
Third-party resource augmentation companies must abide by all the policies, and protocols in NDAs. Undertake frequent security audits to maintain hundred percent confidentiality.
Poor quality work has the possibility of creating delays, and security risks. Companies that prioritize cost reduction over quality criteria are set to face this issue. To avoid this companies can pre-assess the capability of the augmented team. Make sure they’re trained enough, and their capabilities are up to par or not. Other than that to ensure quality defining an SQA service level agreement is a must.
How It Works
To reach your organizational goals you must have a skilled human resource at your disposal. To actually make this staffing model work at your favor you need to have a proper framework. Let’s take a closer look at how this works
Define Your Needs
First of all, you need to understand what you’re actually looking to accomplish with the augmented resources. How the augmented team will aid the company. Once you clearly have your outsourcing goals outlined. You’ll have a clear picture of how you can build a team full of talented individuals. Who has the skills, creativity, and communication capability to turn your project into success within a set time, and budget.
Choose the Right Vendor
When it comes to sourcing, this is the time you want to become extra cautious while choosing the right augmented firm to source your employees. You need to make sure they properly vet their employees. Because you are undertaking a cost in the long run. You must make sure of the experience, and the reputation of the firm that you want to source your employees from.
- Onboard Properly
Once you have finally sourced the talents. Now, you have to properly onboard them. You must be clear with who is playing what role in the project. Who reports to whom, and how exactly the project will play out? That’ll help you cut out confusion, and miscommunication, and keep the project on track in a healthy, and cohesive environment.
- Provide Leadership
Even the most skilled talents need proper leadership and motivation. To make sure the project plays out at your terms, specifications, and deadlines. You can not leave your augmented employees at their own discretion. You must provide proper leadership and ongoing support to keep the workforce motivated. Also, make them fulfill your organizational goals.
Know When To Use Staff Augmentation Model
Knowing when it’s the right time to use augmented resources makes all the difference. Augmented staff or team will fit you if:
- You Already Have an In-House Team
If you already have a team of in-house employees to work on your project. Then extending the workforce staff augmentation can be a great solution for you. As you already have a trusted team, augmented staff will work as an extension of your in-house workforce. Further boosting productivity, filling the gaps in your existing team, and optimizing time.
- You Have a Capable Manager at Your Side
It’s not necessary to always have an in-house team to make staff augmentation work. One of the core meanings of staff augmentation is directly managing augmented employees. This allows them to have full control over product development, and team management. To do this you have to be highly tech-savvy yourself, or have a Product/Project Manager at your side. The product/Project should have considerable experience, and domain knowledge. In simple words, you either have to be, or have to have someone at your side who knows what they’re doing.
- You’re in need of Rare or Highly Skilled Professionals
Depending on the complexity of your project. You may require highly skilled people, or people with rare skills to work on your projects either for the short or long term. Hiring these extraordinary talents is not always a piece of cake and is hard to find. On top of that, it can cost you a fortune to obtain them as well. The augmented staff model will allow you to get access to world-class expertise in a short period of time. While also having the option to scale on demand, and reduce cost.
- You Want Better Control
If having full control over the project is one of your objectives while optimizing resources. Staff augmentation is your way to go. As you’ll have a clear picture of all the players on the team and who will report to who.
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