Photo by Fredrik Solli Wandem on Unsplash
Have you noticed that? The ‘new normal’ lifestyle blurred the line between in-house developers working from home and remote contractors. Even the strongest advocates of the in-house approach to staffing now doubt its supremacy. It seems that traditional hiring gives way to flexible staffing, which opens new opportunities to both businesses and tech talent.
Let’s talk about IT staff augmentation. This staffing model gains popularity for good reason. Some companies use it to cope with spikes in workload. Others close their teams’ skills gaps. And some even build their entire engineering teams based on flexible staffing.
You also can win from augmenting your tech team with independent contractors. Let’s see how you can do it.
What is IT staff augmentation?
Let’s define IT staff augmentation. It’s a talent management strategy that allows you to have the right-sized team of software engineers at every stage of the project. To have the appropriate staffing levels, you engage remote independent specialists on an hourly basis.
IT staff augmentation either helps you complement your team skill set or meet your current workload and business goals. To take the advantage of staff augmentation, you should know how to manage temporary employees. It requires you to have:
- A technique for evaluating your core team skills to spot critical gaps.
- An approach to determine your ideal staffing level at any one time.
- A framework for quick onboarding and effective communication with remote staff.
- A framework to add temporary contractors to your company and remove them (legal, financial, and other aspects).
- A reliable staffing partner—a talent matching network or agency—that supplies the right tech specialists from the first try.
Staff augmentation is not the only flexible staffing model. It has alternatives, such as project outsourcing or managed services. They also assume engaging remote contractors but have three key distinctions. In classical outsourcing and managed services:
- The external staff doesn’t report to you directly but communicates with you through their managers.
- Not necessarily people are fully dedicated to your project for a chosen period.
- You pay for deliverables and specific outcomes rather than for the hours worked.
Those three factors cause worse team dynamics compared to staff augmentation. By choosing the latter, you can expect external employees to have a level of engagement similar to in-house employees.
Why use IT staff augmentation?
The main benefit of the staff augmentation model is the ability to adapt to changes. Just-in-time staffing helps you to fill voids in the ongoing projects as soon as they occur. You scale up to boost your engineering team capacity and scale down when help is no longer needed. Let’s consider three main cases when IT team augmentation can be of help to your business.
Fill the resource gap quickly
As soon as a startup finds its product-market fit, it enters the phase of explosive growth. You can’t predict when it happens. You don’t know how soon and how fast you’ll need to scale your engineering team to manage the work overflow.
As a rule, a tech startup enters the growth stage with the core team and zero people on the bench. Of course, the hiring process launches immediately. But time to hire can be long and you just can’t wait. IT staff augmentation is a good way to provide the required capacity while you’re hiring a permanent team.
You can leverage this staffing model to adjust resource levels for each new project milestone and get the actual skillsets needed at that stage. The independent developers offering staff augmentation services are accustomed to jumping into new projects. They know how to bring value working on temporary positions and need short onboarding time.
In addition to meeting your project deadlines and business goals, you get a chance to test different team sizes and skill levels to find the balance before you hire permanent staff.
Recruit for hard-to-fill roles
Life doesn't always turn out exactly how you plan it. What if one of your key and valuable employees takes an extended leave for health or family reasons? As nobody in your company shares their expertise, you’ll have to close the skills gap. It may be hard to fill such a position, especially if it’s temporary and you expect your old employee to return.
Staff augmentation is exactly what you need to fill such gaps. You have a higher chance to find the right fit if you access the global pool of talent. You even get a chance to benefit from the skills of someone you might not be in a financial state to hire for a permanent role.
On top of that, you can expect the expert to bring in fresh ideas. It may be especially useful if your team experiences a stagnation of opinions and thoughts. You’ll get objective and independent feedback from a person who is not engaged in office politics.
Another case for IT staff augmentation is when you need a specialist with a rare skill set now, but can’t ensure them a steady workload in the future. You address a highly-skilled talent that doesn't expect a long-term employment commitment.
Save costs on hiring and onboarding
IT staff augmentation is one of the staffing solutions that help you save costs on recruiting and work infrastructure. It’s a cost-effective way to address your short-term staffing needs. Moreover, engaging on-demand talent doesn’t imply paying bonuses and giving incentives usually needed for talent retention.
You may argue that over time, staff augmentation contractors may cost you more than in-house employees doing the same work. That’s because they have high hourly rates. Yet, for short-term engagements, the hiring and de-hiring costs may offset the per-hour payments.
Just look at the number of applicants and interviews it takes you to hire one employee. You could have spent the time and money required for that much more meaningfully.
What staff augmentation service to use?
Among the variety of staffing agencies, talent matching networks, and freelance platforms you need to choose a reliable source of highly skilled and approachable talent. All of them potentially can give you access to a rich and technically diverse talent pool. But they offer different hiring experience and speed.
Strive to find partners providing win-win terms for companies and independent contractors. Proxify.io is one of them. We help both parties find each other, build trust, and regulate financial relationships. We match companies to the best-suited candidates from our network of pre-vetted freelance developers.
Ready to explore the benefits of IT staff augmentation for your business? Give it a try with Proxify.io. All you need is to send us your talent request. We’ll find a true professional to fill your team’s skills gap in no time.