If you’ve never used learning staff augmentation to bring in new team members “on demand” to help with specific tasks or projects, you may be concerned with how these new staff members will be managed and work alongside your existing learning team, SMEs and your other internal and external stakeholders.
The good news is the answer is up to you! Here are some tips which may help you prepare your team to get the most value when adding augmented (short-term or long-term) staff.
Tip #1: Communicate with your team
Trust is a critical element of team performance. Adding new people to your team through staff augmentation is an opportunity to reinforce the trust you’ve already built with your team members.
A key element is communication. Communicate transparently about why new people are being added to the team. In many cases, staff augmentation is a solution to a specific condition where the existing team needs support in delivering against a goal. Your team should understand that, as a manager, you’re using augmented staff to support them, to bring in additional working capacity or specific skill sets, to help your entire team achieve your goals.
It may be helpful to reinforce with members of your existing team what project success looks like, both to your immediate management and to the organization overall. By communicating transparently about the why, how and when of the staff augmentation engagement, you can help your team feel better-supported and increase their engagement in the project.
Tip #2: Be clear about what you need
When you approach the partner you’ll engage with for learning staff augmentation, be clear about what you need. You may need specific skills and abilities, or particular industry knowledge or experience.
If you need support on a specific tool or platform, or if specific prior domain or industry experience is critical, be sure to communicate those qualifications.
When you speak with AXIOM about a staff augmentation need, we’ll begin by exploring these needs and requirements, and we’ll use those criteria to match you with the best qualified consultants from the thousands of professionals in our talent network.
Tip #3: Match the engagement length to the project
Consider the length and location of the work to be performed. Are you looking for resources for a short-term, intensive project? Or are you adding additional resources toward a longer-term need?
Learning staff augmentation can support projects of any type or duration, lasting only a few weeks or as long as years. In many cases, organizations approach augmented staff with the expectation of a specific length of engagement, such as three months or six months, and opt to extend or renew the term.
One of the key benefits of working with staff augmentation is the flexibility it gives you to manage your team and your projects. You can respond to peaks in work demand by adding resources, and when your project or needs are complete, you can remove resources again.
Whatever the length of the staff augmentation engagement, you also have the option to have workers on your team in-person or remotely, or some combination of both. As we work with you to discuss a staff augmentation engagement, we’ll seek to understand whether it’s important to you that the augmented staff be able to join your team (either daily or periodically) in a face-to-face work environment, or if a fully remote resource is preferable. In either case, we’ll identify the right people for your team.
Tip #4: Support collaboration
It’s true with any team of permanent staff, and it’s true with augmented staff: a culture of collaboration is a key to success.
When you work with augmented staff, we recommend you and your team treat the augmented staff like any other member of the team. It’s important to help facilitate conversations so team members are clear on each others’ interests and strengths. This will support your ability to delegate and assign tasks, and the team’s ability to perform collaboratively and efficiently.
Tip #5: Use the support of your staff augmentation partner
Unlike a permanent staff hire, with augmented staff, you should expect to retain the support of your staff augmentation vendor. At AXIOM, our staff augmentation placements are supported by our team of engagement managers. We work alongside each member of our talent network who are placed on staff augmentation assignments, ensuring we are supporting both our clients and our consultants.
This ongoing engagement and support gives us the ability to quickly react if circumstances or needs change during the course of a staff augmentation placement, meaning we’re able to effectively support your team and help you achieve your goals.