While an IT staff augmentation team can bring many benefits to your company, it also brings a number of challenges and questions. One of the most crucial is the question of cultural fit, or: Will we get along?
Let’s see why.
What is IT staff augmentation?
IT staff augmentation is an outsourcing strategy, a business model of cooperation between a company and a team of IT professionals.
It’s a terrific way to complement or enhance your in-house IT team. Instead of hiring permanent team members, you can use the staff augmentation model to bridge the gap between the talent you need and the talent you have within the company.
This doesn’t mean your in-house team isn’t doing an outstanding job. However, IT staff augmentation offers specific knowledge, different skills, a fresh perspective, or unique ideas, which can ultimately improve the overall output.
It’s usually used for short-time projects, or when certain stages of long-term projects require a specific skill to progress.
Staff augmentation pros
The list of staff augmentation benefits is quite long, including:
- It’s reliable and fast.
- It’s flexible and adaptable.
- It can save you time and money.
- It allows you to quickly scale up or down.
- It increases productivity and efficiency.
- It offers access to a big talent pool.
However, like anything else, this amazing practice has its challenges. One of the biggest is cultural fit.
What is cultural fit?
Cultural fit describes the alignment of the team members’ attitudes, values, and beliefs with those of the company. It’s significant in building an effective and productive team.
It’s crucial to have a staff augmentation team that works cohesively, has strong communication skills, contributes to effective collaboration, and aligns with your company culture. This involves multiple aspects, which I’ll explain below.
Knowledge, skills and experience are tremendously important for a successful project. On the other hand, they mean nothing without effective collaboration between your internal team and the staff augmentation team.
And naturally, effective cooperation and good communication largely depend on the human element. When a staff augmentation team is a good cultural fit, members of both your teams are more likely to be engaged and productive.
On the other hand, lack of cultural fit can lead to dissatisfaction, poor productivity, communication problems, broken trust, and misunderstandings. Obviously, this can jeopardize your business.
Building a strong joint team
In order to successfully integrate the staff augmentation team into your existing team, it’s necessary to take into account the relevant cultural differences.
Keep in mind, though, that dissimilarities and diversity aren’t necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, they can improve your company culture and create a stimulating work environment. You just need to aim for a healthy balance between similarities and differences.
Understand the culture of staff augmentation team
Before starting any project, it’s vital to understand their cultural background, values, and ways of working.
Also, encourage your internal team to enhance their interpersonal skills to facilitate the process of integration and adaptation.
It’s highly likely that your staff augmentation team is unfamiliar with your company culture. Provide guidance and introduction to the company’s brand, values, principles, and policies. Be clear with the team about how they are expected to work and behave within your company.
Work together to form an expeditious onboarding process, and better mutual understanding and cooperation.
Establish shared goals and values
Shared goals and values are the driving force for both teams. They create a sense of unity and teamwork. They also provide clear direction to all team members.
Develop a collaborative work environment
Creating a positive collaborative environment takes some effort but it pays off a lot. To achieve it, promote collaboration and teamwork by designating time for brainstorming, meetings, feedback, and questions.
Encourage both internal and external team members to share their ideas and opinions openly and freely. Ensure they all feel valued and appreciated, regardless of their positions.
Remember, the staff augmentation team isn’t just here to fill a talent gap. It’s here to contribute to your common goal.
Build a strong communication relationship
It’s difficult for a staff augmentation team to feel part of the project and share common values without a strong communication relationship. That’s why it’s crucial to have a clear communication plan that allows for effective interaction between the internal team and the staff augmentation team.
Set up appropriate communication channels so that external developers always have all important information, especially about changes in project requirements and timelines.
You can also build a strong communication relationship by establishing regular video meetings and a set time to respond to emails and messages in case of different time zones.
Honest communication and respectful collaboration are a strong foundation for trust between teams. It’s important because it keeps people motivated, productive, and engaged.
Team building events, regular check-ins, support and understanding of the team’s needs can also contribute to strengthening mutual trust.
Teams with a strong relationship of trust can overcome any potential obstacles and work seamlessly together towards common goals.
The importance of diversity in cultural fit
When you opt for a staff augmentation model, the real challenge is finding the right team. The team that will be a good cultural fit. However, diversity can drive your culture and your business forward.
A successful collaboration is a two-way street. With a little effort on both sides, the in-house team and staff augmentation team can make an invaluable asset. With their joint forces, they are able to achieve outstanding results.
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