Shortfalls of Staff Augmentation and How to Mitigate Them

In the wake of a possible global recession, some of the world’s top tech companies such as Facebook, Meta and Microsoft are laying off thousands of employees due to unsustainable growth plans and dwindling profit margins. And, many other companies are following suit—looking for alternative ways to maximize their development resources at a more affordable cost.

That’s where staff augmentation comes in. For those who may not be familiar, staff augmentation is a strategy that allows organizations to supplement their in-house workforce with contracted resources.

Staff augmentation can be used to fill temporary or permanent positions, and can include a wide range of skills and expertise, including IT, engineering, finance, and more. With staff augmentation, you can scale up or down your workforce as needed without making long-term commitments or investments.

But as with any strategy, there are potential pitfalls to be aware of. Here are 3 common challenges of staff augmentation we’ve encountered as a top staff augmentation provider—and more importantly, how we’ve overcome them with our clients and partners.


Common Shortfalls of Staff Augmentation and Ways to Mitigate Them

1. Communication barriers

Communication barriers can be a significant shortfall of staff augmentation. When working with external resources, there can be a lack of understanding of the company’s culture and processes, leading to communication breakdowns and delays. This can cause frustration and negatively impact the success of the project.

One of the primary reasons for communication barriers is the lack of face-to-face interaction. External resources may not be physically present in the office, making it harder to build relationships and rapport. Additionally, external resources may not be familiar with the company’s communication tools.

To combat communication barriers, it’s essential to:

  • Establish clear communication channels: This could entail regular check-ins to ensure everyone is aligned. Utilizing video conferencing, chat, and project management tools can help keep everyone in the loop and on track. Regular meetings, progress reports, and defined escalation procedures can also be helpful in maintaining consistent and open communication.
  • Have a single point of contact: An effective way to mitigate communication barriers is to assign a dedicated project manager to the project. This person can serve as the main point of contact between the external resources and the company, ensuring that communication is clear and consistent. They can also provide guidance on the company’s culture and processes, helping external resources to understand the context of the work they’re doing.

We often hear concerns about communication barriers being a significant challenge when working with staff augmentation. We address these challenges by establishing clear communication channels, regular check-ins, and assigning a dedicated project manager to the team. By doing so, it is possible to mitigate these barriers and ensure that the project is successful. 

2. Lack of control

Another perceived challenge when it comes to staff augmentation is in maintaining control over the quality and timeline of the work being done by external resources. It is assumed that the external resources may not be as familiar with the company’s processes and standards, or be less invested in the success of the project as compared to internal employees.

However, with the right staff augmentation solution in place, companies can easily stay in full control:

  • Drive the project roadmap: Establish clear expectations for the scope of the work. This includes outlining the project’s objectives, timelines, and milestones. The external resources will then have a clearer understanding of what is expected of them.
  • Set quality standards: Retain quality control by setting metrics for measuring performance, including metrics for productivity, quality, and other key performance indicators. The company can hold external resources accountable and make adjustments as needed to ensure the project’s success.
  • Clarify ways of working: It is important to have clearly defined processes in place, which will enable the external resources to adapt to their existing ways of working and work culture. Having regular check-ins and progress reports will also help in addressing and resolving issues that arise.

It is a common perception that staff augmentation entails relinquishing some degree of control. However, companies can still remain in full control with staff augmentation by driving the roadmap, setting quality standards and clarifying ways of working.

3. Difficulty in measuring performance

The last key challenge of staff augmentation is accurately measuring the performance of the augmented staff members. This can make it difficult for organizations to determine the ROI of their staff augmentation efforts and identify areas where they may need to make adjustments.

One reason why measuring performance can be difficult in staff augmentation is that augmented staff members may not have the same level of familiarity with the organization’s processes and culture as internal staff members. This can make it difficult for managers to set clear performance expectations and evaluate the augmented staff member’s work against established standards. Additionally, the limited duration of staff augmentation contracts can make it difficult for managers to get a full sense of the augmented staff member’s capabilities and contributions.

To mitigate these challenges, organizations can take a number of steps to improve the measurement of performance in staff augmentation. These steps include:

  • Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the augmented staff members: This can help managers set clear performance expectations and evaluate the augmented staff members against established standards.
  • Providing training and resources: This can help augmented staff members quickly familiarize themselves with the organization’s processes and culture, which can improve their performance.
  • Monitoring metrics to continuously evaluate performance: Organizations can use metrics that capture key aspects of the augmented staff member’s performance, such as productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction.
  • Regularly reviewing performance: Managers should regularly review the performance of augmented staff members and provide actionable feedback to help them improve.
  • Creating a process of continuous improvement: Organizations can create a process of continuous improvement, which can be used to identify areas where the staff augmentation process can be improved and make adjustments as needed.

By taking these steps, organizations can improve the measurement of performance in staff augmentation and gain a better understanding of the ROI of their efforts. This can help organizations to effectively manage their staff augmentation efforts, which can lead to improved performance, cost savings, and overall business success.


Get World-Class IT Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation can be a valuable strategy for organizations looking to scale up or down their workforce quickly and efficiently, but it does come with its own set of challenges. It’s by being aware of these challenges and implementing strategies to mitigate them that companies can reap the cost, scaling and efficiency benefits of staff augmentation. Don’t let these challenges hold you back from reaping the benefits of staff augmentation – take the necessary steps to mitigate them and watch your business soar.

Sphere Partners offers world-class staff augmentation services to optimize your team with our experienced and skilled full-time developers, designers, project managers, data professionals, product managers, and business analysts. As your trusted partner, we provide in-house training to ensure that each of our experts works specifically to your requirements. Our IT staff augmentation solutions can help you save time and money, avoid operational inefficiencies , and limit risk. Grow and scale your business with all the resources you need at hand! Reach out to Sphere Partners today!

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