The Pros and Cons of Staff Augmentation Versus Outsourcing

Staff Augmentation

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Staff augmentation can be a highly attractive strategy when you want to accelerate project delivery and increase your internal team’s productivity and capabilities. But you may be wondering when to employ a staff augmentation strategy, when to work in-house, when to fill a position with a permanent hire, or when to completely outsource projects. There are pros and cons to each of these choices and you need to be aware of your options before you make a decision.

In this article, we want to provide you with some free consultation advice and give you a sense of what the market looks like for staff augmentation versus outsourcing of L&D projects. We also want to look at other options such as managed services and permanent hiring, both of which have their place and may be what you’re looking for in the end.

Permanent Hires Can Offer Stability

Pros: Ideally, you want your team members to be personally invested and dedicated to your organizational goals. You want them to be committed to your team’s metrics (Key Performance Indicators, Objectives and Key Results). When you fill a permanent position, you have a great deal of control over the quality of talent you bring into the organization. This can impact the level of control L&D leaders have on L&D project outcomes. There’s a certain stability in knowing that a new hire will receive the critical onboarding process they need to help them fit into your existing team and fully understand your organization’s values, goals, and objectives.

Cons: As we’ve come to understand in recent years, not all permanent employees are guaranteed to be there for the long term. Research suggests that around 33% of new employees quit in the first 90 days. Some leave for personal reasons, others are disillusioned with job expectations, and some may have been courting alternative job offers. Whatever the reason, the cost to repeat the hiring and onboarding process puts a hefty price tag on a single job role. Ultimately, it doesn’t appear that hiring permanent employees is as stable as one might think.

The Benefits of Staff Augmentation

Pros: Staff augmentation allows you to quickly boost your L&D team’s capabilities which can ensure the timely and effective delivery of L&D projects. This means that you can meet more deadlines in less time and address more of your business needs. Temporarily filling a talent gap can provide more flexibility for your team who will have more time to respond to mission critical issues within your organization. Basically, you’re giving the grunt work to the new person while your seasoned team tackles the issues they are best suited to deal with.

Staff augmentation services allow you to pull together talent quickly on a project-by-project basis and then relieve that talent once the project is completed. This allows you to pinpoint specific budgetary targets and keep everything in the black. Should you require more support, you add more hours to the project. If you discover talent that you feel is the perfect fit for a position, you can then reach out to them with an offer to move to a permanent position. So rather than losing quality talent in the first 90 days, you can have a “try before you buy” strategy that allows you to audition talent to find the perfect long-term fit.

There is significant ROI when it comes to staff augmentation. As we’ve previously written about in our whitepaper “The Top 4 Ways an Agile Talent Strategy Can Provide ROI to Your Business,” staff augmentation can be an effective and budget-friendly way to drive capacity for your L&D projects.

Cons: Temporary employees may not have deep experience with your organization’s industry, so there may be a steep learning curve when it comes to onboarding quickly. They also may not feel the same dedication to your company’s values and business objectives. For example, permanent hires have a vested interest in business success as your organization might offer a bonus structure that is dependent on the performance of individual employees and the company as a whole. There’s also a risk that an outsourcing company’s goals may be to drive up revenue hours by exploiting your project timeline. In other words: buyer beware! Make sure you know what you’re going to be paying for and what it’s going to cost. Mitigate this risk by clearly outlining a comprehensive vendor agreement so project delivery follows expectations, timelines, and expenses. 

When It May be Best to Outsource

Pros: Project outsourcing can reduce costs and allow you to share the risk of L&D project delivery. Some L&D teams experience setbacks and delays that can drive up project costs and slow down delivery. Because an entire project is being put into the care of another company, you are merely purchasing a finished product. This should help you to stabilize your budget with predictable line expenses. You can also easily prove your ROI by demonstrating the value of the finished deliverable. 

Cons: You could be giving up a certain amount of managerial control over the final product. While you have the option to provide feedback on the project process, you may be restricted to the number of adjustments and iterations allowed. At the same time, you need to ensure quality. Your communication efforts need to be stepped up since working with an offsite team comes with certain challenges.

The Difference May Be Your Vendor

To reap the full benefits of a staff augmentation strategy you need to work with a vendor who understands your unique L&D requirements and your overall learning and business goals. They don’t have to necessarily collaborate with you on your overall L&D strategy, but they should be able to provide you alignment between your strategy, projects, and talent needs. Your vendor should be agile and flexible to ensure that the outsourced talent fits perfectly into your team. And if issues arise, your staff augmentation vendor should be able to quickly resolve them by providing other options and responding quickly to your concerns.

Are you ready to take the next step? Contact us to learn more about how to leverage staff augmentation or managed learning services for your L&D team and organization. Whether you’re looking for a single hire, a full team, or engage in a full services arrangement, we’ll be able to help you find the right balance to suit your L&D strategy, business objectives, and learning goals.

About CoreAxis

CoreAxis is a business performance consulting company that offers training solutions to businesses in a variety of industries, such as financial, life sciences, retail and technology. Each of these solutions can be fully customized to meet the needs of the individual client. We build collaborative relationships, becoming a trusted resource and ensuring our clients’ organizational success.

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