The Pros and Cons of Staff Augmentation

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More and more big companies are looking at staff augmentation as a viable way to expand and strengthen their business in the near future. In the lines below, we’ll examine some of the pros and cons of staff augmentation, in order to help you decide whether or not it’s the right choice for you and your business.

What is staff augmentation and what do you need to know about it?

As the name suggests, staff augmentation is the outsourcing practice of bringing in outside help for a limited period of time. Through staff augmentation, companies manage to fill in gaps in their work-force, usually on a temporary basis, due to illness, vacation, leave, or simply excess demand. In other words, companies use staff augmentation when there’s more work to be done than there are people on their team.

However, rather than having to fill out a contract and permanently hire someone to take care of the work (a move that may prove detrimental to the business at some point), they simply bring in talent on a limited basis.

So now that we know the basics of what staff augmentation is, let’s look at why it might be the right idea for you. And why it might not.

Pros and Cons of Staff Augmentation

The Benefits

  • It gets you access to localized expertise. Many times, companies use staff augmentation to bring in an expert in a certain field. For example, if they have to fulfill a project that requires a certain type of coding language, and they have no one on their permanent staff with that knowledge, staff augmentation is the way to go. If they don’t have an expert in the field already, there may be a good reason for it. More often than not, the reason is that they don’t need that language most of the time. So paying for an expert full-time would be pointless.
  • Experienced augmented staff is quick and efficient. When augmenting your staff, you’re likely using people who’ve done this sort of temporary job before. That means they’re experienced in rapidly and efficiently assessing the situation and getting to work.
  • Can help you try out talent. For many companies, temporary staff augmentation provides the perfect “trial run” for a more permanent future employee.
  • Can help you navigate demand fluctuations. It fulfills the increased demand, without posing a potential problem in your long-term management.

The Downsides

  • Depending on the project, it may take time to get the temporary team up to speed with your company specifics. Some projects require a more in-depth knowledge of company history and internal strategies, and getting your new team up to speed can prove time-consuming.
  • Only works for short-term projects. While the augmented staff is a great idea for a handful of months, if your project is longer than a year, you might need to change your augmented team, which can cause delays and drops in quality.
  • There’s always the risk of sub-par work. You still need to pay close attention to who you’re hiring according to the outstaffing model, since external talent may not be as smooth and reliable as you’d like them to.