When starting a business, it can be challenging to hire a team that will be on board for the long haul. A digital product agency well-versed in team augmentation and product development can fill in the gaps and help your new venture build all-important momentum.
Before getting too far into the weeds, let’s define our terms:
- Staff augmentation occurs when the entire team is outsourced. Companies rely on this when their current team lacks capability or experience or as a response to budgetary constraints. In these cases, contract workers can sign on for long periods.
- Team augmentation involves bringing on a few people or a team, for a specific need, who don’t require extensive training or ramp-up. The short-term work involved often depends on hitting specific deadlines.
We are living in the age of the gig economy. Workers of all sorts are leaving corporations to sell their skills on the open market.
According to zety.com, the gig economy has become a major force in the business world. The company compiled a slew of 2022 statistics to make the point:
- There are approximately 59 million gig workers, roughly 36 percent of U.S. employees.
- Statista expects the number to increase to 85.6 million people by 2027.
- Taskmo reported that the demand for contract workers increased by 66 percent in June compared to May.
- Thrivemyway.com projects the gig economy to hit $455.2 billion by 2023.
- The ADP Research Institute reports that gig workers represent up to 85 percent of the workforce in six percent of U.S. companies.
A wide swath of the workforce has embraced the entrepreneurial spirit, and many more are expected to join. The effects of this wide-ranging shift in behavior will ripple throughout the economy for years to come.
In the here and now, the change is a boon for startup leadership teams that need well-trained employees to help make their companies competitive as soon as possible. Working with a company that provides dependable team augmentation services can be a shortcut to profitability.
Hiring and Training by the Numbers
When Training Industry Quarterly looked into the issue, 75 percent of organizations responding to the survey reported that it took one to two years before a new employee is “fully productive.”
According to the report, some respondents defined “fully productive” as being able to master the skills necessary for the role, while others saw it as matching the productivity levels of more experienced colleagues.
Either way, getting new hires up to speed requires a serious time investment. That’s not including the time it takes to get them into the front door.
Studies differ on how long it takes to make an initial hire. According to workable.com, it ranges from 27 to 42 days.
That’s not so bad, but the numbers change dramatically if you’re looking for workers experienced with digital product design for startups.
According to Forbes, it can take up to six months to hire a new employee for a position at a startup. That’s because hiring the wrong people at the beginning of an enterprise can significantly hamper growth. Since startups aren’t always able to pay the market rate for top-quality talent, finding the right fit can be even harder. And although many startups offer equity for ground-floor opportunities, not all people are willing to take that risk.
In combination with MassChallenge, A.Team did a deep dive into the difficulties of hiring tech workers. The Tech Work Report, which was released in September 2022, included responses from 581 tech leaders. The report documented a variety of hiring challenges:
- 44 percent reported losing a significant number of “top performers” in the past few years.
- 67 percent said the recruitment process needs an overhaul.
- 62 percent said it takes up to four months to hire the best tech talent.
The Alliance of Professionals & Consultants, Inc., looked into the issue earlier this year. It found that nationwide tech openings surged by 59 percent to more than 1.46 million in 2021, and predicted an increase of 66 percent for 2022.
When you drill down into different regions of the country, you’ll see significant fluctuations. Atlanta, which has invested heavily to become a tech hub, now has more tech openings than cities like Chicago, Austin, and San Fransisco.
Team Augmentation Services for Startups
When employees are in high demand and the talent pool is limited, it becomes a job-seekers market. Companies have to get creative to attract and retain employees with tech skills.
Working with a company that offers team augmentation services can save both time and money. It doesn’t have to be a permanent solution, but it can smooth the way during transition periods when deadlines loom and money is on the line.
According to upwork.com, team augmentation has a lot of upsides:
- It provides an immediate influx of expertise.
- Companies can scale up or down quickly.
- It’s flexible, especially if the company offering team augmentation services understands the hiring company’s needs.
- It results in a drastic reduction in training costs.
- Temporary workers, especially those working remotely, provide overhead cost savings.
- When the job’s complete, contract employees find work elsewhere.
Nothing comes without challenges. In the same article, Upwork detailed potential negatives when it comes to design team augmentation:
- New workers will lack institutional knowledge.
- There’s still a need to onboard workers.
- Contractors, while great for the short term, can cost more than traditional employees over long periods of time.
An effective approach for startups is to find a solution that is a mix of both. The hub and spoke model is a way to hire a few key resources in-house, and use team augmentation to fill the capacity needs around them. This allows for the ability to switch team augmentation partners if needed, the opportunity to stay close to product development and IP, and it provides a structure that can scale to fit your needs.
Find the Right Digital Product Agency
One of the negatives listed was the need for oversight and management of contract workers. However, if you’re working with a company qualified to offer team augmentation services, their management team can go a long way toward keeping workers focused and on task.
When looking for a team augmentation partner, experience matters. You want to find a team with a track record of working with startups and has established mature processes in getting projects done on time and within budget. You also want to have a clear idea about what work needs to be done and how an outside team can be integrated into your current workflow.
Intuitio Labs has nearly two decades of experience providing digital product design for startups through team augmentation services.
We’re an agile company that believes in keeping lines of communication open with our clients, which helps us have most projects ready to launch in six to 12 weeks.
We also know the value of the intellectual property of companies that contract with us. Our business is based on our reputation for quality, and discretion is certainly a part of that.
In our experience, companies come to us for two reasons:
- We work with the in-house design team to accelerate and add features to digital products already in progress. One of our clients, Fansub.live, needed increased capacity to speed up the time to market.
- We also work on delivering brand-new products, freeing the in-house team to continue working on their priorities. Another client, TuneCore, already had a busy team, so we were brought in to build something new.
Team members at Intuitio Labs know their roles. Though we offer long-term development and maintenance and feature roadmap acceleration services, no job is complete until the in-house team thoroughly understands the products we build and how they work. We take our handing-off duties seriously.
Why Work with A Digital Product Agency for Team Augmentation Services?
Working with augmented teams is an acquired skill. At Intuitio Labs, we’ve spent years learning how to blend our outside experts with your in-house superstars.
We know different companies have their own leadership and communication styles, and we have a history of adapting to accomplish the job at hand.
Our success depends on your success. Whether you run a startup looking for a leg up or an established company needing short-term help, we’re here as a partner in your success. To learn about Inuitio Labs and our approach to digital product design for startups, visit www.intuitiolabs.com.