Now more than ever, employees and teams are overworked and understaffed. Many companies have been forced to cut salary budgets, slim down their workforce, and make layoff decisions that impact business processes and resources.
If you find yourself in need of extra help to complete existing work or a new project, staff augmentation is a great way to limit stress and get things done. Rather than putting more work on your current team, or outsourcing work to a random third party, staff augmentation provides the best of both worlds; it allows you to have direct control of the work that is being done while also giving you the freedom to focus on other aspects of your job. Think of staff augmentation as another tool in your L&D toolbox that allows you to expand your business reach without hiring permanent employees.
The flexibility of staff augmentation makes it a great choice for businesses of any size and provides a variety of benefits. First, it is a great resource to use when on a low budget. If you only have so much to spend on a certain project and your team is overworked, staff augmentation can be a great way to keep your workforce slim but effective. Furthermore, staff augmentation is a great way to bring in expert L&D professionals to inspire growth within your team. The L&D field is constantly changing, and bringing on a temporary resource with extensive experience in the field or specific skills can help your team stay up to date on industry trends and build internal strength. If you’re thinking about starting a staff augmentation project, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Staff augmentation must be done correctly to save your company, time, money, and unneeded stress. It is best used when you have specific needs for a project that your team cannot meet. If you’re still uncertain about whether or not outsourcing is best for you, here are some benefits we have observed when utilizing staff augmentation.
1. It keeps things fresh. It is no secret that adding new members to your team can increase productivity and motivation. While staff augmentation doesn’t always add employees permanently, it can still liven up your work environment and add a new dynamic to the team. Furthermore, adding a new member to your team can also foster better communication and responsibility, and can be a welcome change to the “going through the motions” that can take place.
2. It lets you focus more on other areas of your job. Going through the process of making a new permanent hire or reprioritizing employees to new tasks is a lot of work. Staff augmentation can keep you focused on other areas of your job while also making sure the tasks you need completed are a priority for someone. By choosing to focus on the temporary hire and training of one or two new team members, you can better prioritize your work.
3. It limits stress. Especially right now, reprioritizing and choosing where and when to spend energy and time is stressful. Staff augmentation is a great way to lower stress because it takes some of the burden off of your internal team. Furthermore, this also typically results in less worrying and more clarity when it comes to exactly how your new hires are performing.
While staff augmentation is a great choice for most circumstances, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure your new resource onboards seamlessly and is ready to go. It is essential that your chosen recruiter has a good understanding of the work to be done, the skill sets required for success, and your expectations. Several sources exist for finding staff augmentation resources, including internal sourcing teams, external staffing vendors, and full-service L&D consulting firms. At Dashe, we regularly have clients contact us for temporary L&D resources, and they are pleasantly surprised to find how quickly we can place high-performing consultants—often consultants they’ve worked with on previous projects—on their team.
Regardless of who you use as your L&D recruiter, below are a few tips to help ensure your staff augmentation efforts are successful.
- Spend time upfront to define the specific knowledge, skills, and experience required. Be clear about what you need the talent to do: consult on approach, develop content with subject matter experts, write storyboards and scripts, or develop and program. Look to your staffing partner to help create the job description. A partner with L&D experience can simplify this task.
- Don’t look for a unicorn. It’s rare that any one consultant will have deep expertise in all L&D competencies. This is another area where creating a clear job description pays off. Consider if and how you can assign tasks to align with individual team member strengths. Allocating work in this way often results in unexpected efficiency gains.
- Prepare your internal team. If you have not used staff augmentation resources in the past, ensure your team understands the specific role the new resource will. Use a daily stand-up meeting or staff meeting to explain the role the new resource will serve and for how long. Ensure your staff knows they can come to you individually if they have questions. Even if you’ve used staff augmentation resources before, ensure your team is fully in the loop.
- Be responsive. Review résumés and schedule interviews promptly. Good talent generally has options—any delays may cause you to lose them. Following this staff augmentation tip helps ensure an efficient and painless recruiting experience.
- Prepare for onboarding. Create a checklist of onboarding tasks that includes the details of the role and deliverables as well as the IT, security, and compliance topics. Plan and schedule introduction meetings in advance with other team members with whom the consultant needs to interact.
- Keep a list of vendors and employees you have worked with in the past. While it may seem simple, reaching out to these contacts and reevaluating the list occasionally is a great way to avoid stress when a large project arises. Not only can you use this list to contact people you trust, you will also most likely already have their information for payment and tracking hours, which will save you time if you do decide to bring them onto a project.
Putting a little time and effort up-front can help your staff augmentation and project management in the future. Instead of rushing to reassign tasks or struggling to support the cost of hiring on a completely new team, staff augmentation allows you to pinpoint the solution you need and fill it with someone you trust and know will represent your company well. With a partner like Dashe, you can move forward with business objectives and goals while also limiting stress and staying on-budget.