Fostering Positive Company Culture with IT Staff Augmentation
Today’s fast-paced business environment requires companies to be agile and flexible to remain competitive. IT staff augmentation, which involves hiring external talent to work alongside your existing team, is an effective strategy to accomplish that.
However, integrating augmented staff into your team can lead to internal conflicts and power struggles. Your in-house employees may fear that their job is on the line if you bring on external experts. Moreover, cultural differences and language barriers may cause a permanent dent in your company culture.
If you work with augmented staff, fostering company culture should still be one of your priorities as a business leader. So, let’s look into the benefits of having a positive company culture and strategies to foster it.
Why Does Company Culture Matter?
Even though you are outsourcing some of your project’s tasks to augmented staff, you shouldn’t neglect company culture. A strong company culture can provide a wide range of benefits for any organization, such as:
Company culture is an important factor for employees and job seekers. 63% of employees admit that workplace culture has a direct effect on their productivity. Moreover, studies suggest that happy workers are, on average, about 13% more productive than ones who are unhappy.
Improved Employee Well-being
Various reports indicate that employees “bring work back home,” which affects their physical and mental well-being and relationships. Promoting positive company culture can minimize this, improving employee well-being.
Greater Levels of Innovation
Innovation is essential for the long-term success of any business, and company culture has a direct impact on the level of innovation in any given company.
”Organizational culture is a key determinant for firm innovation and that it can actually foster it but that it can also act as a barrier against innovation.”
With that in mind, a positive company culture can help businesses encourage risk-taking, foster collaboration, and promote continuous learning. All of these factors are essential to boost innovation, stay competitive, and adapt to changing market conditions.
Moreover, in a positive work environment, leaders and co-workers are more likely to provide support as well as rewards and recognize innovation, thus promoting it even further.
Enhanced Employee Engagement
A good company culture provides employees with a sense of purpose and a positive work environment. In addition, it also encourages growth, development, and work-life balance.
When workers feel valued, supported, and connected, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their jobs. More specifically, studies suggest that employees who experience professional and career growth opportunities in their workplace are 2.5 times more engaged.
Higher Employee Retention Rates
A positive company culture can promote employee satisfaction, engagement, and well-being. When employees feel connected to their work and colleagues and supported by their employer, they are more likely to stay with the company long-term.
If you’re using IT staff augmentation, company culture can impact both your in-house team and your augmented staff. Your in-house employees can feel more secure about their position and more likely to feel enthusiastic about their work. Meanwhile, augmented staff and their vendor are more likely to work with you on repeat projects.
Greater Customer Satisfaction
Company culture can have a direct impact on customer satisfaction. It can create a work environment where employees are motivated, engaged, and committed to providing outstanding software solutions that meet customer needs.
Research supports that. A study across two different industries found that organizational culture can lead to up to a 28% difference in customer satisfaction.
Tips to Foster Positive Company Culture When Using IT Staff Augmentation
1. Hire the Right Talent
The people you hire, even if they work remotely and for short-term projects, have a direct impact on your company culture. They can influence workflows and project progression, as well as your internal employees.
Therefore, as a business leader, you’re responsible for considering how bringing on a new employee may affect others. Below are some steps you should keep in mind:
Define—and Reinforce—Your Company Culture
Before you seek an IT staff augmentation partner, define what you want your company culture to be like. This will help you identify what kind of individuals would fit well with it. So, in addition to technical skills, consider the soft skills you’d like ideal candidates to possess.
Make sure to clearly convey your company culture and values in your hiring materials. In addition, discuss those during your initial conversations with your staff augmentation provider.
Use Behavioral Interviewing Techniques
According to LinkedIn research, 89% of business owners and hiring professionals consider behavioral interviewing at least somewhat effective. Behavioral interviewing techniques help assess a candidate’s past behavior and how they handle different situations.
To use these techniques in interviews, think about challenging situations that have occurred or may occur during the project. This can involve handling internal conflicts, addressing a problem, or collaborating on a task. Ask these questions to assess how suitable a candidate’s work ethic and working style are to your company culture.
Seek Cultural Fit, even When Sourcing from Different Cultures
While skills absolutely matter, avoid picking a potentially toxic or incompatible employee. This could lead to potential issues and disagreements down the road. Instead, look for individuals who share your company’s values and have a working style that aligns with your company culture.
Involve Your Team in the Hiring Process
If possible, involve your in-house team members or your project manager in the interview process. They could identify issues that you may not pick up.
Hire Augmented Staff with Long-Term Success in Mind
While IT staff augmentation allows you to hire significantly faster and with fewer resources involved, keep a long-term partnership in mind. This way, you’ll have a trusted vendor and contractors easily available for any future development projects.
As a result, you won’t need to seek a new staff augmentation provider or remote talent. Instead, you can simply notify your staff augmentation partner that you have a new project that requires expert talent.
2. Define Workflow Processes
Consistent workflow processes can foster a positive company culture by promoting transparency, collaboration, and accountability. They also establish a degree of predictability, as employees know what to expect in certain situations.
To define workflow processes, you need the following:
Map Out Your Workflows
Take the time to map out your company’s workflows and identify areas where processes can be streamlined or improved. You can do this by analyzing your current processes and requesting feedback from your employees. This will help you identify areas with bottlenecks or inefficiencies.
Standardize and Optimize Your Workflow Processes
Once you’re clear on your workflows and have addressed inefficiencies in them, develop standardized processes. These can be manuals, process maps, checklists, standard operating procedures (SOPs), or training videos. Relevant employees can follow them to perform their duties.
Make sure to update them regularly as your team and the tech stack you’re using evolve. Don’t be afraid to solicit feedback from both your permanent and augmented staff about any possible areas for improvement.
Train Your Staff
Ensure that your in-house teams and the augmented staff you hire are aware of these processes and understand how to follow them. Depending on how extensive your documentation is, you need to devise an adequate training plan that your existing and new employees go through.
In the case of simpler processes, you may communicate the changes through company emails or meetings. Alternatively, you benefit from providing training sessions or resources.
Make sure that your employees get hands-on experience in your company’s workflow processes. This will solidify the new knowledge and ensure that your team understands them.
Once the training is complete, feedback can help improve the understanding of your work processes and identify any possible issues. You can determine whether one-on-one coaching, feedback surveys, or performance reviews work best for your organization and its culture.
Reward Successes and Feedback
Feedback is critical for employee engagement and performance, and workers crave it from their superiors as well as peers. Research has revealed that employees who regularly receive meaningful feedback are up to four times more engaged at their workplace. This, in turn, boosts their job satisfaction and performance.
Therefore, celebrate the small wins when you notice that the new processes are successful. Praise and encourage employees to continue improving workflows and provide feedback and constructive criticism.
3. Prioritize Communication
A positive company culture requires honest and transparent communication. Without it, building a trustworthy and collaborative work environment is hard or even impossible. To promote open communication, you can do the following:
Set Clear Communication Expectations
Define the manner and frequency of the communication within the organization, and communicate that to your staff. This includes guidelines for how employees should communicate with each other, as well as with clients or customers.
When working with augmented staff, communication tools, such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration software, are vital for effective communication. Ensure that you have the most suitable tools for your communication needs and that your teams have adequate access to them.
Motivate your in-house employees and augmented staff to communicate openly with each other. Create a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas, concerns, and criticism.
Promote Effective Communication BY Communicating Effectively
Employees are more likely to act a certain way if they see you demonstrate that behavior. So, model the behavior you want to see in your employees. This includes being open and transparent in your communication, actively listening to others, and being responsive to employee feedback.
4. Treat Augmented Staff as a Part of Your Team
Even though your augmented staff only provides you with temporary assistance, treat them like full-time members of your team. They are still contributing to your company’s success and should be treated as such.
A few things you can do are:
- including them in team meetings and other activities,
- providing them with the same level of communication and support as your full-time employees, and
- acknowledging their accomplishments and contributions to the team.
By making your augmented staff feel like a valued part of the team, you can create a positive and productive work environment. This can benefit all parties involved. Furthermore, this can help you build long-term relationships with talented professionals who are open to working with you again in the future.
Sphere Partners Ensures Your Augmented Team Seamlessly Integrates With Your In-House Team
Sphere Partners is an established IT staff augmentation provider with over 15 years of experience helping businesses achieve their goals. With a network of over 300 thoroughly-vetted IT experts, we’re confident that we can assist you with your software development project. We can do this while seamlessly integrating into your in-house team and adhering to your company culture.
Ready to build an engaged team with a strong company culture? Sphere has the right talent for your needs. Schedule a consultation to let us know about your project.