Whenever a company makes a business decision to bring onboard some augmented staff or build a robust distributed engineering team, the very first objective should be finding a vendor that takes the time to understand their client’s specific staffing needs. A company’s outsourcing strategy is often as unique as the company itself, which means the IT staffing agency your firm eventually hires should be as flexible and resourceful as the business you operate.
One of the first steps in choosing a staff augmentation vendor is to assess your company’s staffing needs. As you search for specialized skillsets to expedite your project or fill internal skill gaps, it's essential you take note of the scope of the project(s) your augmented staff will be associated with. You'll also want to measure how quickly your internal teams can integrate provisional talent, how effective the communication channels you use to collaborate with onshore or offshore workers are, as well as how adept your outsourcing partner is at executing staffing requests, or adjusting their overall staffing approach when necessary.
This informative, in-depth guide will take you through several simple, yet crucial steps that will help you choose a staff augmentation partner that is capable of meeting your company’s particular staffing requirements.
Assess Your Staffing Needs
What does your team need help with? This question might seem a bit simplistic, but it’s essential to answer before you begin your search for outside engineering or creative expertise, as there are many options available when it comes to building a distributed team. Are you looking for software developers to integrate into an internal engineering department to fill specific skill gaps? Perhaps you need to set up a dependable remote development team to free up essential in-house personnel to work on a business-critical project or, it may be, you are trying to deal with a shortage of available office space. Alternatively, maybe your project managers have requested extra engineering resources to make up the ground on an impending project delivery date.
The point here is that no two companies will have the same augmented staffing needs or requirements. Whether you’re looking for front-end developers or product designers for the duration of a project, or a web analytics developer or accessibility specialist for specific phases, you’ll need to evaluate your company’s staffing requirements. Consult with your HR executives, managers and employees to get an overview of where you need to boost specific skillsets overall, as well as on a project-by-project basis.
After you’ve created a staffing blueprint that covers your firm’s most essential outsourcing requirements, you can begin your search for a staffing partner that has the tools, experience, and expertise to help your business stay ahead of the competition in a tight global hiring market.
Research Your Staffing Partner’s Experience and Expertise
By verifying a potential staffing partner’s experience and expertise in your particular field, you’ll be able to contract a vendor capable of providing your firm with the supplemental IT staff it needs, while also managing distributed teams or handling staffing challenges that may arise during the course of a project at the same time.
Review and substantiate a vendor's work history and professional credentials in much the same way as you would when you hire a permanent employee:
- Consult with previous clients and measure their level of satisfaction with the services provided.
- Carefully review a staff augmentation agency’s credentials and work portfolio.
- Make sure the vendor has experience in the specific field that covers the resources you’re searching for.
- Ask around (colleagues, professionals in your industry or a related industry, trusted business partners) to get a general idea of how past clients perceive your potential staffing provider.
- Read reviews and testimonials about your vendor on the staffing firm’s website, and through impartial third-party review sites like Clutch or Glassdoor.
Evaluate Your Provider’s Local and International Market Reach
Depending on the particulars of your teams' staffing requirements, you'll need to weigh all of the different outsourcing options available to you, which may include variations of an onshore or offshore staffing plan, or in some instances a hybrid staffing approach.
Perhaps your engineering or creative departments are searching for rare combinations of skills to deal with algorithmic complexity inside a specific framework, or consultants who have in-depth expertise in an emerging programming language. To gain access to top-notch creative and technical personnel around the world (that still fits your IT budget), you’ll want to partner with a staff augmentation vendor that has the connections, experience, and infrastructure already in place to recruit, hire and manage remote staff — irrespective of location — as your project dictates or requires.
Examine Your Staffing Service’s Communication Protocols
How does a potential staffing provider structure their account communications, and what's their general communication style? These critical factors can determine the success of a project, influence a product's market competitiveness, or affect its on-time delivery date. Look for a staff augmentation agency that has simple-to-use, yet clearly defined communication protocols and technology that will help keep the client and the service provider (not to mention project managers and augmented staff) connected, and able to continually receive project updates, regardless of location or time zone.
A transparent and practical communication philosophy on the part of your staffing vendor fosters an uninterrupted workflow, which can be monitored and adjusted as needed according to regular operational feedback coming from everyone associated with a given project. This simplicity and clarity mean a business can better measure progress, a performance of its supplemental staff, and tackle team challenges if and when they materialize.
Verify Your Vendor’s Commitment to Security
When it comes to IP and data security, work with a staff augmentation firm, like BXGI, that is committed to establishing a secure and confidential work environment. A reputable staffing agency should guarantee that onsite or remote staff sign NDAs, and thoroughly vet the employment backgrounds of temporary hires. In addition to rigorously screening augmented personnel, vendors should also train their staff on intellectual property and data security procedures, how to effectively use cybersecurity tools, and limit access to client data that doesn't apply to the project a company has hired them to work on.
By verifying your staffing vendor’s commitment to security, you can add augmented staff and build exceptionally robust distributed software development teams, while simultaneously safeguarding your valuable data and IP.
Assess Contract Types and Delivery Schedules
If your staffing partner is only able to offer you some boilerplate work agreements or standardized, one-size-fits-all contracts, that could be a sign they lack the resources or experience to handle the project or resource specific staffing solutions that would help you the most. Engage a staff augmentation firm that will tailor work agreements to fit your company’s unique business requirements, while also taking the time to understand your firm’s development environment, ensuring that you have access to outstanding technical talent you need when you need that talent the most.
It's also essential to make sure an outsourcing agency can keep pace with your product or project development schedule. Your company likely operates on a strict timeline, which means you should cooperate with a staffing partner that can meet or exceed your operational schedule. An experienced staffing agency should quickly provide you with a detailed outsourcing resource management plan, skilled augmented staff as needed, remote onshore or offshore development teams and office space, dependable IT services (onsite or offsite), and of course a pool of exceptional engineering or creative design candidates.
A staffing vendor should offer all of these services promptly and efficiently. An outsourcing agency needs to take a customer's operational schedule into consideration to keep any interruptions to service or productivity (due to onboarding augmented staff or working with remote teams) to a bare minimum, or if possible, to avoid these interruptions altogether.
Pay Attention to Language and Cultural Differences
Any business working with a remote development team (with the notable exception of onshore operations), will need to make sure there is a cultural and language fit between in-house team members and project managers with outsourced creative talent or software engineers from different cultural backgrounds. To circumvent linguistic communication challenges, bridge cultural divides, and maintain a project's continued success, partner with a staffing agency that will assess your internal company culture, then provide you with the appropriate job candidates and staffing solutions.
For example, if your company already has a significant number of employees who speak Spanish in addition to English, it might make sense to work with distributed team members based in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries (assuming they have the skills you're searching for). This option could provide you with a cost-effective, nearshore staffing solution. A company without a lot of in-house Spanish language expertise could still benefit from working with technical talent based in Latin America as well, as long as the staffing vendor verifies the English language proficiency of potential supplemental staff, and establishes effective client/remote worker communication channels.
Cultural differences, if not addressed, can also lead to a less-than-desirable outcome. For instance, a company that has to manage massive, time-sensitive workloads at certain times of the day should avoid contracting a remote team in a country that has a well-established tradition of taking siestas or afternoon naps after lunch — especially if those “siestas” run into your busiest operating hours. An experienced staffing service can identify cultural or linguistic differences between clients and potential staff, then manage or adjust for these differences by selecting the best candidates possible, while customizing a staffing solution that fits a company’s unique outsourcing requirements.
Choose a Staff Augmentation Service Right for You
At the end of the day, the point is that you need to cooperate with a staffing partner that fits YOUR company's specific staffing requirements. Vendors that employ a one-size-fits-all approach, when it comes to the outsourcing options they offer, won't be able to implement creative and flexible staffing solutions that would work for many different types of client companies. By assessing your company’s staffing needs, researching a potential vendor’s expertise, and investigating an outsourcing agency’s global reach, communication procedures, commitment to security, and contract and cultural management style, you will be able to find a staffing partner that perfectly fits your company's outsourcing needs.