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What is Staff Augmentation?

  • Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation is a growing trend in the global staffing industry. But what is it exactly and how can it be used to help staff your business? That’s exactly what we will be discussing today. Staff augmentation can help businesses achieve increased scalability, target specific skill sets, save time, and even money.

In today’s article we’ll be discussing…


  • What is staff augmentation?
  • How does staff augmentation work?
  • Staff augmentation vs. managed service
  • Staff augmentation vs. independent contractors
  • Staff augmentation models
  • The benefits of staff augmentation
  • Are there any downsides to staff augmentation?
  • Staff augmentation best practices

What is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is a type of outsourcing that helps companies onboard additional talent quickly. Typically, a company will get in touch with a staff augmentation provider. The staff augmentation provider will have a database of team members with specific skills that can be outsourced to fill any skill gaps in your company. Once a candidate has been found that meets the necessary requirements, they can be onboarded onto an existing team as an augmented worker as needed.

How does Staff Augmentation Work?

As just mentioned, augmented workers are managed by staff augmentation providers and these providers have in-house teams of specialists that companies can outsource according to their needs at that moment in time. For example, if they need an additional person on the development team for a particular project or to meet a targeted business goal.


Once a potential on-board has been found, the recruiting company will interview the candidate and bring on their new team member. This is not like a regular hire and the augmented worker is not a full-time employee. The staff augmentation provider will continue to manage and support their augmented staff during their deployment.

Staff Augmentation Vs. Managed Service

You may be thinking that this sounds a lot like a managed service provider but whilst it’s true that there are some similarities, it’s important not to confuse these two different staffing approaches. The principal difference between augmented and managed services is that a managed services are designed to deliver a specific deliverable or project. Augmented services, on the other hand, provide individuals to fill a particular role for a particular period of time.

Let’s consider two examples.

Example 1: Managed Services

An IT company wants to develop a new application that will improve customer retention for their client. This company should look to a managed services provider who will deliver the project in return for renumeration upon completion of the project.

Example 2: Augmented Services

An IT company is in the process of developing a new application but is short of skilled coders. This company should look to an augmented services provider who will provide specialist talent to fill that role in return for hourly renumeration.

Staff augmentation vs independent contractors

Augmented staff are also sometimes confused with employing independent contractors (e.g., freelancers). Again, there is a key difference here. When you hire a freelancer, you are responsible for the management and renumeration of that individual.


When you hire from an augmentation provider, there is a ‘middle man’, so to speak. The augmentation provider will manage the talent (this can save organizations a lot of time and hassle) and in return for this service you will pay the provider an agreed fee for their services.

Staff Augmentation Models

If you decide to use staff augmentation to hire new talent, there are a few different augmentation models you can choose from. Different augmentation providers specialize in different types of talent, so it’s important to consider what you are looking for carefully before striking a deal.

1. Commodity-based staff augmentation

The first type of staff augmentation service is commodity-based staff augmentation. These services provide high-quality but non-specialized workers. If you need to onboard workers but don’t need them to have a specific skillset then a commodity-based staff augmentation service is perfect. The workers on their database will have the necessary skills to fulfil roles in factories, warehouses, retail, manual jobs, and events.

2. Skill-based staff augmentation

Skill-based staff augmentation services provide skill-specific, but not highly specialized talent. Companies looking to hire someone to fulfil clerical work, copywriting, transcriptions, data processing, or other office-based tasks can source skilled individuals from these service providers.

3. Specialized staff augmentation

Specialized staff augmentation is about delivering hires with advanced skill sets. Talent at these agencies will be highly trained in their respective fields, whether that be law, software engineering, marketing etc., Companies looking to bring on a specialist to fulfil a specific role (writing lines of code, for example) can look to specialized staff augmentation services to find the best people.

The Benefits of Staff Augmentation

Employing augmented staff to meet your company’s needs can be highly effective. More and more businesses are benefitting from this system, saving time and money in the process. Let’s take a look at some of the top benefits that businesses can gain from staff augmentation services.

1. Reduced recruitment time

Recruiting full-time contracted staff is a lengthy and resource heavy process. Everything from preparing an advert for the vacancy to interviewing to onboarding is a feat in itself. Hiring through staff augmentation means that all of these responsibilities go to the augmentation service provider, meaning that you’ll be able to onboard your new hire quickly and easily.

2. Access to the best talent

Another benefit of using augmentation services is that you won’t have to scour your networks in want of high-quality talent. Your augmentation company will have a database of highly skilled individuals ready to go and will only recommend individuals with relevant skills and experience. Plus, since many of these hires can be made remotely, you’ll automatically have access to a far wider pool of expert individuals across the globe.

3. Specialized skill sets

One of the most advantageous aspects of staff augmentation is the flexibility it affords organizations. Say you’re looking for someone with a specific skill that you only need for a small part of an ongoing project. Because staff augmentation works on a per-project basis, you’ll be able to hire an individual with the relevant skills for that task without having to take them on full-time.

4. More flexibility and scalability

Staff augmentation makes it super easy to scale your teams up and down as needed. Instead of hiring full-time staff to fulfil the requirements of a single project (only to have to lay them off once the project is completed), teams can hire specialized employees for set-periods of time with everyone on the same page about the nature of the arrangement.

5. Quality on a budget

Finally, staff augmentation means that you get the best of both worlds – expert skills without breaking the bank. Paying full-time staff is expensive – especially if you factor in all the additional benefits contracted employees require. Augmented staff cost businesses much less but still provide highly skilled, expert work at the end of the day.

Are There any Downsides to Staff Augmentation?

There’s no doubt that staff augmentation comes with some great benefits. But that’s not to say that it is right for everyone and every project. You’ll need to think carefully about whether hiring augmented staff is suitable for your individual team needs. For example, augmented staff may not be suitable for projects that require a high level of institutional knowledge, or for long-term projects that require ongoing expertise.

Staff Augmentation Best Practices

Thinking about trying out staff augmentation for yourself? Companies looking to bring in fresh talent on a short-term basis have a lot to gain from augmented staff. Below you’ll be able to find some best practices that will help you onboard augmented hired most effectively.

Identify the specific skills you need

Before reaching out to a staff augmentation provider, make sure that you and your team are clear about the specific skills and expertise you are looking for in your potential hire. Conduct an analysis of your team and identify any skill gaps that need filling for your particular project requirements. By doing this you are far more likely to pick a suitable skill-specific match from your service provider’s database of talent.

Choose the right service provider

Remember the staff augmentation models we discussed earlier in the article? Before partnering with a staff augmentation company, make sure to do some research. There are many vendors out there offering different levels of service. Make sure that your vendor meets your requirements. Think about the type of individual you wish to hire (e.g., do they need to be highly specialized?) and consider all the technicalities of the arrangement including price, contract, and support.

Communication is key

Last, but not least make sure to keep up communications, both with your new hire and their respective augmentation vendor. Your new hire might not be a permanent member of the team but it is essential that they are equipped with all the support and information they need to work alongside your full-time employees happily and effectively. This is what produces the best results, after all.

Ready to augment your workforce?

Hiring new talent through staff augmentation is a great way to satisfy the short-term needs of a project and bring in the best talent for the job. By partnering with a staff augmentation service, you’ll save time and money whilst gaining access to a global pool of talent.

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