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What you should know about staff augmentation

Outsourcing comes with a wide array of job functions that organizations can leverage to support their day-to-day operations. For companies that seek professional expertise but for a short period, they can acquire these specialists through staff augmentation. 

While this can be very helpful to businesses of all sizes and types, you need to fully understand the concept of staff augmentation before utilizing it. Here’s all you need to know.

How does staff augmentation work?

Staff augmentation is one form of outsourcing practice that helps your organization fill in specific skill gaps or manpower shortages. It lets you acquire the kind of expertise you require at a lower cost. 

In most cases, it is used when a company requires professionals with specialized skills for the duration of a project. This has been a popular service in the IT industry, particularly in the software sector. 

The demand for staff augmentation in software development is made evident in a report published on Research and Markets, which revealed that the global software market can grow as high as $1493.07 billion in 2025. 

How does staff augmentation work?
How does staff augmentation work?

Through staff augmentation, software development companies can extend their in-house teams by hiring temporary IT specialists to work on their projects. 

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In general, your augmented staff will function as your regular employees. They will directly report to you, and they will be managed by your administration. You will not also be required to provide benefits, training, and other liabilities needed in hiring in-house. 

Staff augmentation vs managed services 

Staff augmentation and managed services are two practices often used interchangeably. 

With staff augmentation, you are free to choose which candidates you want to be a part of your extended team. As mentioned, you will also be the one to manage your augmented staff and treat them the same way as your in-house staff. 

On the other hand, in managed services, your chosen third-party provider will take full responsibility for your outsourced tasks. This includes staffing, structuring your extended team, and managing the entire project. 

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How does staff augmentation work?

3 types of staff augmentation 

There are three kinds of staff augmentation you can choose from: 

Commodity

You can use this commodity if you require extra manpower but without a specific skill set or specialization. Example job functions for this are manual labor, warehouse, or factory workers. 

Skill-based

This is when you require a mid-level set of skills. Examples of skill-based work are clerical, administrative, or data processing jobs. 

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Highly skilled

This is when you require an advanced set of skills to fulfill a certain project or task. HIghly-skilled work includes software engineering, software development, or contract law. 

Staff augmentations pros and cons 

Just like any form of contracting out work, there are both pros and cons connected to staff augmentation: 

Staff augmentation pros

Here are the advantages of staff augmentation:

Cost-effective

As with other outsourcing practices, staff augmentation gives you the opportunity to save on costs. More so, you will not be required to provide other resources to your augmented staff like desktop, office space, or training. 

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Staff augmentations pros and cons

Access to a wide pool of talent

Staff augmentation providers have a large pool of professionals with specialized skills all over the world. On top of that, it will also be easier for you to fill in work functions immediately as you have many options of experienced professionals in the remote work setup.  

Full control of your augmented staff

Staff augmentation lets you have as much control over your augmented employees as possible. This means you can monitor your staff’s work progress, tasks, and performance, as well as the outcome of your projects. 

Staff augmentation cons 

While there are a lot of advantages of this outsourcing strategy, it is also important for you to be aware of its disadvantages: 

Miscommunication

Miscommunication is a common risk in working with people outside your organization, especially if your augmented team is in another country. This is why it is crucial to always have proper and constant communication with your extended staff. 

Accessibility

You have to understand that your extended staff will not be working at the same office as you and your in-house employees. In most cases, your augmented workers may be residing in another country. 

Staff augmentation in a nutshell

Staff augmentation is an ideal solution if you are looking to save up on costs while boosting your daily productivity. It is also beneficial if you need special expertise to fulfill a specific project. 

Before utilizing this strategy, you have to be aware of the pros and cons we’ve highlighted above. This way, it can help you fully leverage your augmented staff. 

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.