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What is staff augmentation?

Do you have a short-term project on your hands? Do you need to get into an I.T. project but you are afraid to hire someone full-time or even half-time because it will be over in a matter of months? Are you afraid to leave this person without a job once everything is over because there are no positions available?

This is the "bread and butter" for companies focused on technology, software development and others. If you feel identified, keep reading because definitely that "gorilla you carry on your back" for all the stress involved in hiring staff will disappear.

What is staff augmentation?

It is defined as a business decision, based on a strategy, which focuses on obtaining professionals mainly in the short-term to fulfill a specific project, although in some cases it is also used for long-term projects. Once finished, there is no need to go through any cumbersome procedure. C'est fini! Time is money!

This allows companies not to go through the trouble of firing the project manager nor invest in labor insurance, which is already given by the company that will be providing the service.

Let's detail the benefits that your company will have when implementing staff augmentation.

1. Project length: This model can help you, as mentioned above, for short-term projects. However, it is possible to use this same method for long-term projects as long as an agreement is reached with the contracted company, but for this we recommend that you choose to use outsourcing services.

2. Flexibility of schedules: Not only in "project periods" its necessary to take into account staff augmentation.

Have you ever felt that loneliness invades you during holidays? Probably you have, because most employees "fly without wings" to the "land of vacations" but with staff augmentation you can easily hire personnel to support you, in case of an emergency, because let's face it, there are always emergencies and they appear at the worst moments.

3. Space optimization: Having a physical office requires a very high investment and although teleworking relieves some expenses, not everyone has that possibility. Including IT companies that, yes or yes, need to maintain physical spaces to work.

4. Lifesaver in the selection process: Here comes the famous phrase in job vacancies, "immediate availability".

Staff augmentation can also apply to fill the vacant position while the selection process takes place. Let's remember that everything done in a hurry, almost never goes well.

5. Experienced and skilled employees: It is possible to select the ideal profile of the person(s) with whom you will work.

You can choose between international and national people, but ALL of them with an enviable expertise and the best thing is that a process that can take months to conclude is significantly shortened with this method.

6. Total and absolute control: The time of authoritarianism is over, as to want to be a "Dominator" but a good leader is aware of everything that happens, without obfuscating. Staff augmentation will allow you to have control over the development of the project, the daily progress and other details, through advanced communication tools.

Staff augmentation is divided into two types: Short-term or long-term, although it’s also divided into Offshore and On-site.

Let's dig a little deeper in this. When we talk about short or long term, we refer to the extent of the project that needs to be done, which is measured by the level of difficulty to carry it out.

After defining the extent of the project, it is important to mention this point to the candidate companies.

Another way to identify its types is if it will be done offshore, where the specialists work remotely, specifically on the project you assign them.

On the other hand, it can be on-site, since it’s never a bad thing to receive a team of experts in the company, to work hand in hand with them. Of course, you must be prepared with the assigned space, equipment, hardware, software and other necessary tools to work effectively, but it’s totally worth it.

"Help! How do I know if I need it? It catches my eye but I'm not sure if it's going to fit my company's specific needs."

Calm down people, calm down. There are ways to identify if this model is indeed the right fit for your company.

Some of the most common scenarios where staff augmentation may be a perfect fit for your company are as follows:

  • They are in "savings mode" and paying for additional collaborators is impossible.

  • You are going to launch a new project that sounds very promising but to realize it, you need additional staff.

  • The project requires very specific knowledge.

  • Testing a product before launching it.

  • The people on the payroll are not capable of performing the specific tasks required for the project.

At this point you may be thinking, "Okay, okay. I think I'm convinced and I definitely need it, but how do I hire the perfect company?"

This is like marrying the right person, so you should take your time in choosing the right company. Don't last "forever" either, right? Just take your time to evaluate all the variables below before proceeding:

1. Identify the needs you have: Many times we tend to think that everything is perfect, but there will always be shortcomings, which should not scare us. They just weren't necessary until now and that's great because it tells us that we are on the "right track", so the more objectives, the better.

The problem can be something as simple as the absence of a specific skill/knowledge, or the number of personnel, all of which can be completely solved with this model.

2. Recommendations: We must do it always and with everything! Research the company's social networks, read client recommendations, testimonials, portfolio of clients they have worked with, company blog, CEO's mom's phone number...Ok, that last one obviously not, but the more informed they are about the company, the more clearly they will be able to choose one.

3. Define if they are looking for a short or long term relationship with the company: Remember that staff augmentation is normally used for short term and project based relationships but it can also work on a long term basis, depending on the agreement made with the company they hire.

4. Choose several options: Remember, it is never good to go with the first option. In this case, the first company we find.

Get at least 5 companies that catch your attention, whether they are "nearshore or offshore" and have all the services you are looking for.

5. Contact them: Call and clarify all your doubts! You can make a list of relevant questions, including pricing issues, benefits offered and contract details, if you go ahead.

6. List of cons and pros: The "millennial technique" of cons and pros will never cease to be useful when making a decision. Once the interview with each of the 5 selected companies is concluded, it is time to evaluate which of them will be "the chosen one" to "fight the battle" that you will so happily assign to them.

Take everything into account! Even the smallest detail, because in the end, you must be sure that you will be completely satisfied with this decision.

After this there is no turning back and "crying in the valley" if it doesn't work out.

7. Finalizing the negotiations and signing the contract: You have already made the decision and you are sure that you want to go ahead with a specific company.

That company that the more you get to know and establish contact with, the more you are convinced of "its perfection" for the project you want to undertake.

One knows, without the need to be enraptured by it, that it is the right company because as the person in charge of the contracting, all the previously selected requirements were taken into consideration in order to successfully conclude the project.

We are already more than familiar with all the benefits of staff augmentation; however, it is always good to be fully aware of the big picture. Here are some other important aspects to take into account if you are thinking of implementing staff augmentation:

1. Personnel management burdens: Whether you want to or not, you will always need guidance to carry out the project and there must be a dedicated person to lead this "temporary team". As long as he/she is aware that it will be an additional burden to the previously assigned tasks.

2. Training is always a requirement: Even though the hired team or specialist comes with all the required knowledge "out of the box," it is necessary to train them at least a little bit on topics such as the tools they use, specific processes, internal company regulations, among others.

3. Lack of organizational culture: Every workplace has a culture that is defined by aspects such as the values, mission and objectives of each employee, as well as those of the company. Both are always aligned with each other to create a harmonious environment between the company and its employees.

4. Pricing: Ok, this is not really a disadvantage per se because it is also considered a benefit. Basically it all depends on the length of the project, that's why staff augmentation is not so recommendable in the long term, since "knowledge has a cost" and it is usually high.

As you can see, the above points are actually few, while the positives are many and weighty.

Now that the picture is clear, it is time to decide whether your company will take the leap into this world of staff augmentation.

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