The old adage says: You can have your project done quickly, with quality, and under budget — but never all three. Amazingly, taking an agile talent approach can help to achieve the impossible and address all three areas. While businesses may struggle to remain competitive through COVID-19, taking a staff augmentation approach will greatly support their ability to remain agile in their business strategy. And the good news is that they’re not alone. There are teams of learning consultants and staff augmentation vendors ready to assist businesses in finding affordable and quality temporary talent solutions – quickly.
- Did you know that the average cost-per-hire for companies is $4,129 and the average time to fill a position is 42 days? [source]
The Business Case for Staff Augmentation
In the time before COVID, many learning and development professionals leveraged staff augmentation services to address short-term resource gaps, team capabilities, budgetary constraints, and hiring limits. Staff augmentation was seen as a critical strategy to augment existing teams to speed up delivery of programs, create greater flexibility in workforces, and support agility within the organization.
You can identify the benefits of staff augmentation in four areas:
- Increased Agility. Occasionally, L&D is tasked with providing new learning programs, and specific L&D skills are required to fulfill immediate needs, meet tight deadlines, and drive rapid development initiatives. For example, when a company needs to deploy a new business strategy, or pivot their offerings to offer a new product or service. Sales professionals may be required to learn about new product specifications and new sales tactics to perform their jobs effectively. When rapid delivery is a mandate, L&D can lean on staff augmentation to fill on-demand skills gaps.
- Increased Flexibility. If L&D hires a full-time, permanent learning professional, they are locked into a long-term contract. Once a short-term project is fulfilled, they can’t simply remove the new hire. This leads to wasted expenses in having to keep employees around that may not have the skills to work in other areas of the L&D team. For example, an instructional designer brought in to build an effective leadership development program may not have the expertise to work cross functionally and deliver on a program for technical training to an IT professional. A staff augmentation candidate can be hired for specific programs or skills but for only the duration of the need. Once the project expires, so does the contract. However, in many cases, a consultant such as an instructional designer may have cross functional capabilities and easily be shifted to new projects.
- Reduced Time-to-fill. If the average time to fill a position is 42 days (and that’s being generous when it comes to specific skill requirements), then speed is a factor to consider when hiring a permanent employee. Rapid delivery using a lean methodology will benefit from the speed with which you can plug in a highly specialized team member, or even an entire team. Your staff augmentation vendor should have a deep pool of highly qualified talent who can be inserted and removed as your project requirements change.
- Ability to Source Specialized Talent. As many businesses struggle to create engaging learning and training programs, L&D is tasked with devoting significant time and resources to developing in-depth and high-impact content. Traditional, transactional training methodologies are now being enhanced using new and innovative learning tactics. However, not all L&D teams have the capabilities to fulfill these requirements. This is where staff augmentation or managed services come into play. When you plug in top talent with specialized skills, you can elevate your learning programs to take advantage of new learning modalities and technologies while ensuring your programs are perfectly aligned with your learning and business needs.
Is Hiring a Team the Right Option?
Staff augmentation vendors can help fill temporary one-off gaps and speed up delivery of programs with highly specialized talent. As well, you may want to consider a more comprehensive offering by filling an entire team with staff augmentation hires. When your learning needs exceed the support of only one or two key hires, your vendor can provide a more robust solution that can support your long-term requirements. Work with your staff augmentation vendor to manage the entire L&D process, leaving your team more time to work with your business, develop new strategies, or engage in other work that is more critical to your organization.
A managed services arrangement can allow you to outsource management, operations and delivery of processes. Your learning partner can work with you to fulfill your learning strategy, develop a training needs analysis, identify current gaps in learning, build custom solutions, and allow you to explore and experiment with innovative technologies and methodologies. Together, you can assess and analyze the effectiveness of your learning strategies and programs to support your organization through whatever it may need to remain flexible, agile, and competitive. And of course, there are significant cost savings associated when hiring a temporary solution versus hiring permanent staff.
Finding the Right Staff Augmentation Vendor
With the rise of the hybrid workplace, many organizations are struggling to fill talent gaps with workers who understand how to deliver virtual learning effectively as well as work efficiently in a virtual environment. When looking for a staff augmentation vendor, it’s critical that they can provide you access to talent that not only has the highly specialized skills you need, but also the skills to function remotely. As well, your vendor should be a learning partner to help you scale your learning strategy and support you towards learning transformation to address short-term and long-term growth for whatever your hybrid workplace looks like in the future.
Having a partner that understands your change management challenges is also critical to help drive adoption, gain buy-in, and encourage strong collaboration between your L&D organization and your business. When looking for a learning partner, consider their track record in helping organizations embrace innovative learning strategies and technologies.
In the end, not all staff augmentation vendors are cut from the same cloth. While many can provide you with quick fixes and short-term talent, you are likely going to need to lean on a partner who understands your long-term business and learning needs. Contact us to learn more about our on-demand talent and learning team, and let us walk you through the process of developing a staff augmentation services partnership.