IT Strategy

Top Pros and Cons of Staff Augmentation

Is it possible to augment the engineering teams in a short time, getting the best talent while staying on budget?

What is IT Staff Augmentation?

Nowadays, finding the right candidates to fill IT positions can be challenging and demanding. Plus, great developers and engineers are hard to find, competitive to hire, and expensive. But, is it possible to augment the engineering teams in a short time, getting the best talent while staying on budget? 

Yes! This is possible through IT staff augmentation solutions. But what exactly is staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation is the use of talent outside your organization on a temporary basis to increase the capacity of your company. In other words, it is a flexible solution for businesses that experience regular shifts in demand, where individuals or teams are hired to fill short-term positions or supplement a team on a particular project.

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Staff augmentation has become an increasingly popular choice for businesses for various reasons. For starters, hiring on a temporary basis is ideal for teams to quickly scale up to overcome unexpected challenges without sacrificing the quality of their work.

But what are the specific IT staff augmentation benefits? We have gathered a list of pros and cons of staff augmentation for you to decide if this is a model you would like to explore for your business.

Advantages of Staff Augmentation

IT Staff augmentation offers numerous solutions and advantages for existing businesses on a short-term basis. For many companies, the benefits of choosing staff augmentation can be compelling, if not to say game-changers. Here are 5 benefits of staff augmentation you should look at while deciding if staff augmentation is the right solution for you.

Scalability

The last few years have taught us that those businesses with agile and flexible solutions are better suited to face challenges than those still working with rigid models. Having the ability to scale upwards or downwards depending on the demand can help companies to sort out any obstacle by adding strategic resources where they are needed. 

Let's say your project grows exponentially from one day to the next, staff augmentation allows you to react simultaneously by allowing you to grow your team as needed by adding new skilled talent. On the other hand, if the demand drops, staff augmentation allows you to scale down your team as needed without the need to fire direct hires.

World-Class Talent

Nearshore staff augmentation solutions allow companies to extend their IT teams with highly skilled global tech talent, allowing them to gain access to a wide talent pool no matter where they are based. By adopting a nearshore staff augmentation model, companies can broaden their pool of talent by finding a more capable workforce in other regions.

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For example, Latin America has succeeded to make its mark in the IT field. Latin America is producing big amounts of engineering talent day by day. For example, Mexican universities are nearly producing as many computer sciences graduates as American ones, and outside of education, Mexico and Brazil have a combined workforce of just under three-quarters of a million technology specialists. This makes a good pool of highly qualified and very experienced workers within the reach of companies HR team’s hands.

Cost-Effective

One of the most visible advantages of Staff Augmentation solutions is the ability it gives to companies to save money and optimize their resources. In-house employees typically cost 1.25 to 1.4 times the salary when you account for all the benefits that are typically offered. By hiring temporary staff to deal with specific tasks, companies can spare benefits which ultimately lower the costs. 

Also, the scalability staff augmentation solutions give the flexibility to businesses to grow or lower their teams to match the demand. This ramping and reduction of team members along a project would be highly costly and almost unsustainable if done solely with in-house employees—imagine the money spent on compensations and recruitment processes alone.

On the other hand, staff augmentation solutions can quickly and easily resolve all resourcing problems to match the timely demands of companies with fluctuating staffing needs, without the need of breaking the bank.

Expertise

When a project needs specialized skills, sometimes companies don't have the in-house talent to meet the challenge. IT staff augmentation solutions allow HR teams to hire outside engineers and developers with the right expertise on a per-project basis, without the need to teach or develop these supplemented employees with new skills, as they’re specifically being hired for their pre-existing skillset.

Bringing additional team members will complement the missing required skills your team lacks or that could be costly for your company to acquire otherwise. Plus, staff augmentation helps to reduce the costs and liabilities of directly employing a larger staff. 

Integration

Sometimes when companies take on new hires, it is challenging for the new employees to adapt and for those already working to collaborate with the newest members. Through staff augmentation, you can have added “resources” that will adapt and integrate perfectly into your team and company culture.

When done efficiently, coordinating efforts between the staffing company and yours can be seamless and bring important benefits like time-saving, increased efficiency, and team collaboration. In other words, with staff augmentation services your temporary team members fall into step more effectively and more quickly than new hires.

Disadvantages of Staff Sugmentation

It is clear that there are plenty of IT staff augmentation benefits for companies looking to overcome their tech talent shortage, however not everything is hunky dory and it is only fair to look at some disadvantages of the staff augmentation model.

Internal Training

Even though staff augmentation allows companies to access IT staff with the needed expertise on a per-project basis, usually this new “elements” are not familiarized with the new company’s processes, so training the new staff will be required for them to be fully integrated. This process of translating business rules, explaining the company’s internal process and familiarizing the new team members with the existing way of working can consume a good chunk of your HR team; however, some instruments such as guides and short explanatory videos can help to ease the process.

Internal Knowledge

It’s not all about the required skills to fulfill a project, the previous knowledge connected to the work or client is also a crucial element of the project success. One of the backlashes of staff augmentations centers in the temporary nature of the solution. When working with project-specific employees, there’s a possibility that all the required background knowledge for the project is not communicated effectively to the new members.

Companies must make sure to give some time for anyone new to a project to catch up to speed and be as involved as possible. Having said that, having a relying staff augmentation partner can solve this as they will take care of filling this knowledge gap as much as possible during the recruiting process so HR teams don’t need to worry about it. 

Management

It is true that when engaging independent talent, companies usually avoid burdensome onboarding and time-consuming administrative procedures, however, recruiting numerous individuals may lead to a heavy burden of management tasks. Why? Well, the more staff a company gets, the more people they have to manage. 

When new workers join a company, regardless of their type of contract, there is an expansion in the resources for oversight of them and the team work as a whole. However, management should be easy with the right training and guidance. Also, a strong Project Manager with the capacity of coordinating your team and processes can be a game-changer.

Higher Long-term Cost

As stated above, the staff augmentation process is considered more cost-saving compared with other hiring models. However, there are a few drawbacks money-wise. First of all, let’s keep in mind that staff augmentation solutions are supposed to be short term and project-based, therefore if the project turns out to be longer than expected, then it could start adding some additional labor costs—after all, highly-talented workers can be quite expensive.

Also, if the communication with the staffing agency is not clear, staff augmentation services can come with some additional costs that can substantially add to the budget. However, like all things, this can be negotiated from the very beginning with the agency.

Summing up, the benefits of staff augmentation services are plenty. It is a great solution for short-term projects as it keeps cost down and allows companies with flexibility to up and down scale as needed. However, there is no “one size fits all” solution. If you are considering staff augmentation might be a good solution for your business, make sure to understand the advantages and disadvantages and to research for the best partner to fit your needs. 

Are you ready to explore our staff augmentation solutions? Talk to us and let us help you build or extend your development team with ease. We support companies of all sizes that need agile teams of the best engineers. Let’s ride the tech wave and make great things happen – together.

IT and talent solutions
Intersog is a leading IT solutions provider in the United States and beyond. The company has provided agile software engineering and staffing services for Fortune 500 corporations, tech startups, and SaaS businesses for over fifteen years. Why Intersog.