An increasingly pertinent conundrum for businesses of all sizes when it comes to growth is the decision to hire new full-time employees or partner with a staff augmentation consultancy.
Both advantages and disadvantages are built into the two choices but which is the pathway to growth for your business?
Despite it being a question for all businesses, it is more frequently asked across tech companies. The reason for that is due to the higher costs of talent and fierce competition.
Expanding capacity with tech talent has grown rather quickly to become a major alternative to the more traditional full-time hires. And for businesses that are looking to scale quickly or have taken on a major project that would take up every team member, then staff augmentation becomes an increasingly popular choice.
Yet it’s not for all businesses and isn’t always the right decision.
There are companies that effectively do staff augmentation to rapidly scale. There are companies that struggle with staff augmentation, for example when the end of the contract is reached and the business has no staff cover when they leave.
So let’s walk through the comparisons of staff augmentation and full-time staffers so that you can find yourself in a better position to decide which staff solution fits best for your business.
When does staff augmentation make sense?
On the way upwards, a company may take on a bigger, broader project with a client to prove – to either themselves or their industry – that they’re capable. Yet as a smaller company you’re less likely to have the broad expertise or depth in skill that the project requires.
Expanding the capacity of Salesforce Commerce Cloud developers, let’s say, allows a company to bring in a team of highly skilled devs who have the experience and tools to insert into the project for a specific time.
In short, if a project requires a software-specific knowledge, in which your team is rather shallow, staff augmentation is well worth considering because there is no need to hire full-time employees for a short-term project.
This is particularly true if a project requires a highly specific skill that a company rarely has use for but for a specific amount of time is important to the project.
Another strength of staff augmentation is that it reduces the amount of time it takes for a company to on-board the worker even after endless rounds of interviews, testing, and background checks. This process engulfs a lot of time that could be spent in much more productive or project-orientated ways.
Thirdly, it provides an efficient form of staff flexibility that can adapt to the changing needs of the company or a project. For companies that have a large full-time workforce, there may be moments where parts of it have downtime or are being underutilized, limiting their chances of work that they would prefer to be doing. Even worse, if projects are thin and there is a dropoff in workload, companies may even look to offload parts of their workforce.
With staff augmentation, everything is arranged for a skilled team to come in and expand the company’s workforce temporarily, before making a timely exit. In other words, once a project is complete, the company scales accordingly.
When does hiring full-timers make sense?
Stagg augmentation is not always the most practical solution… particularly for long-term solutions.
If a company needs to onboard specific skills on a continual basis no matter what the project is then hiring full-time staff would make more sense because you don’t have to worry about constantly renewing the more short-term contracts with a staff aug agency. Long-term contracts offer more security in this context.
Also, there may be a more psychological advantage to hiring full-time staff – although this is not a given – when it comes to new team members. This only really depends on the existing culture of the company and ideally it shouldn’t be an issue, but there are times when in-house developers don’t take too hospitably towards devs from the nearshore.
In addition, the management is different between using staff augmentation and hiring full-time staff. While the latter are firmly under the direct supervision of management, the former have more freedom to simply get on with it. So management which is not used to staff aug may find this aspect a little difficult to get used to at the beginning.
That being said, any worthwhile consultancy with staff aug does their work with constant communication with the company, whether it be small updates to ongoing processes.
So there you have it: the ideal moments for when staff augmentation feels like the best solution and moments when hiring full-timers would possibly be the best way forward. Keep in mind that in general, staff augmentation is best utilized for specific, skill-related work while full-time staff are better suited for ongoing, continual work functions.