Staff augmentation: Everything you need to know

At BorderlessMind, we’re outsourcing specialists. As such, we often get asked about staff augmentation and whether it’s a good option. Augmentation vs outsourcing is so similar that often people think they are the same thing. However, they are not.

While both are similar services, there are some subtle differences that should be understood. Augmentation is a form of outsourcing that gives businesses full control on the skills that they hire for. It offers a great way for businesses to add team members to their arsenal, without having to commit to hiring full-time employees. It is a form of outsourcing, and a strategy around how to hire workers.

Interested in learning more? You’ve come to the right place. We’re running through the most common questions we get asked about augmentation to help you make the decision whether to outsource in this way.

Take a look…

Staff Augmentation: What is it?

In short, augmentation is an outsourcing strategy. It is a strategy that uses outsourcing to fill gaps in the workforce. While outsourcing refers to the act of finding workers externally, the term ‘staff augmentation’ refers to the strategy behind that outsourcing of workers.

Outsourcing is used to staff a project, when the skills necessary are not available to the company internally. This may be due to staff shortages, rapid growth, new projects or just the fact that the skills they need are highly specific and they only need them for a short period of time. 

This can often be the instance when companies need highly specific IT skills to complete a project, but they don’t want to hire someone full-time permanently as there is no ongoing need. In these cases augmentation can occur to evaluate the existing staff’s skill sets and then determine what extra skills are required.

Once this is completed the business can then outsource. This process of assessing current staff and finding the skills gaps, and then filling them with outsourced workers, is known as staff augmentation.

It is an outsourcing technique which is considered one of the most effective, and is all about “augmenting” the workforce.

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Resource and Staff Augmentation FAQ

As an outsourcing business, we always get asked questions about staff augmentation. Often these questions are about the differences between outsourcing and augmentation, and which is best.

It is important to note that both of these services go hand in hand. They are not opposing one another, rather staff augmentation is a form of outsourcing. 

Here’s some of the questions we get asked about staff augmentation: 

Why choose staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation is often considered one of the most highly targeted forms of outsourcing. Often used in the IT space or in digital transformation, augmentation allows businesses to get really specific with the skills they need.

It involves making an inventory of the current skills in the workforce, and filling any gaps. For this reason, it is highly strategic and can help businesses work through rough patches where they are missing the skills they need.

Businesses choose augmentation because:

  • They can quickly gain access to the skills they need
  • They don’t have to make long term commitments
  • They can save money by not making a formal hire
  • They can increase capacity and take on more work
  • They gain access to highly specialized skills

What businesses can use staff augmentation?

Any business can use staff augmentation! 

The crucial element of staff augmentation is that there is already an existing team of some sort that can be leant on. You are not starting from scratch with staff augmentation, it is always a supplementary service that adds to the in-house team that you already have.

What are the best scenarios to use this type of outsourcing?

There are so many scenarios where staff augmentation can be great. These include:

  • For highly specific roles that won’t be required ongoing 
  • Short term projects that are going to end imminently
  • Filling the bridging time when making a new hire
  • Aiding growth during busy periods
  • When the current team are missing skills that you’re unsure you need long term man standing inside room

How long should it take to put into place?

Staff augmentation is celebrated for its quick and easy nature. When working with an outsourcing company you can expect staff augmentation to occur within days. Often the part that takes the longest is nailing down exactly what skills you need.

Once that is done, you should reach out to outsourcing businesses that can help you find the highly skilled people that you need.

Is it more expensive?

No. Often outsourcing is more cost-effective than employing someone. This is because employees are much more costly to hire, and often you don’t get the specialised skills that you need.

Outsourced talent tend to have higher hourly rates than employees, and this can put some business leaders off. But when you take into account how much employees cost in sickness, holiday pay, and hiring costs, often these hourly rates are cheaper than hiring a full-time employee.

We recently covered the true cost of employees vs contractors on our blog if you’d like to learn more.

What is considered staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation can come in many forms. It could involve hiring freelance workers, contractors, people who work hourly or people who work on a day rate. Any outsourced worker can be part of staff augmentation, but the distinguishing factor is that staff augmentation “augments” or adds to a current workforce to expand its capability.

Augmentation vs outsourcing?

As mentioned, outsourcing and staff augmentation are very similar. They employ the same tactics, and augmentation is a variety of outsourcing. The key difference is that staff augmentation uses outsourcing to add to a team that is already in place.

In this sense, you buy the resource of the person and their skills and they add to your team. On the other hand, outsourcing is more project outcome defined and you could hire a whole team to outsource a project. With outsourcing, you often have less control of the workers, and while they are an extension of your team, they operate in their own way.

Should your business use this strategy?

If you’ve read the FAQs and think that your business could use an augmentation strategy, then why not reach out? We help businesses put staff augmentation plans in place and provide the outsourced workers to ensure that projects succeed. 

With BorderlessMind outsourcing, this is even more true as each project is assigned a caseworker to help manage worker and client relations. We specialise in finding the perfect match between businesses and talent, and then help you communicate effectively. 

Ready to learn more about the benefits of outsourcing? Book a risk-free trial today.

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