Bring it in. Unpacking the application of staff augmentation.

Adam Crofts Head of Talent Solutions Linkedin Profile
Bring it in. Unpacking the application of staff augmentation.

Staff augmentation is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition for businesses looking to boost capacity, amp up in-house expertise, and balance the books.

But if staff augmentation is the answer, what’s the question? How do you screen and select the ideal candidate? Then how do you get the best out of the relationship? Adam Crofts, Head of Brennan Talent Solutions, unpacks the answers.

As inflation pinches and costs rise, optimising costs and boosting operational effectiveness is a common business refrain1. IT leaders aren’t immune to these prevailing pressures.

Under the cosh to trim costs and headcount, yet maintain operational agility, capability, and scalability to deliver on organisational goals, aligning needs with budgets is a tricky tightrope to walk.

Labour market pressures might be easing2. But when you factor in just how long (an average of 40 days3) and how much (anywhere north of $23,0003) it can take to hire competent staff, it’s no surprise a growing number of IT leaders are turning to IT service providers with staff augmentation capabilities for solutions.

It’s a clever fix for boosting capacity, bridging the skills gap between your business needs and the resources on hand to meet them, and utilising Operational Expenditure (rather than Capital Expenditure) to balance the books.

But when does the staff augmentation model work best? How do you find a provider that fits, and then get the most from them? Let’s unpack the answers.

Know your needs.

Before kicking off the hunt for your ideal IT provider, it’s worth vigorously interrogating your needs first. Make these your baseline asks:

  • What is it you want to achieve? And by when?
  • Is it project-specific, or service-specific?
  • What skills and expertise do you need to get there?
  • What’s missing from the mix? What are your gaps?
  • Would a single professional do the trick? Or would a team sprint be better?
  • Do you need support on a single project, a short-term posting, or a long-term engagement?
  • Do you even need staff augmentation? Might outsourcing with an MSP be a better fit? Or a mix of both? Service

"If staff augmentation is the way to go, look at the key positions that will bring the best input and biggest impact on your business. "

– Adam Crofts, Head of Talent Solutions, Brennan

Probing potential providers.

You’ve nailed down your answers. You know the scope of work to be completed. It’s time to find an IT partner. Shortlist your ideal providers, meet with them, and mark them against your criteria. These are a few worth thinking about.

  • Do they see your problems? Technical nous and soft skills should be expected from any competent IT partner. But can they, and their technical consultants, deliver against your specific objectives? Ask for examples, experience, and case studies that correlate with your challenges or industry.
  • Do they see you? Understanding your needs is one thing. Understanding you is another. Would their people play well with yours? Would they be a trusted IT partner? Would they and their technical consultants constructively challenge you in pursuit of better outcomes? Cultural fit is often just as critical as technical capability.
  • Can they find a better way? A good provider may be able to answer your brief. A great provider can help you reframe it, and then offer constructive solutions that get the right outcomes for you – even if that means missing out on more lucrative opportunities for them.
  • Do their practices align with yours? Do their modes, means, and methods of communication work for you? Do their security and data protection protocols measure up? Investigate their methods to see if they match your expectations.
  • Can they scale? Success is a nice problem to have. But do your IT partners have the bandwidth and resources to grow at pace if needed? Are they even available?
  • Are they stable? Experience counts. So does reputation. Cross-check references. Read reviews. Ask your network.
  • How do they hire, train, and upskill their people? A partner is only as good as the technical consultants they (and you) use. Get to know who and how they hire and train.

Be clear from the get-go.

A vital component in getting the most out of any provider relationship is setting expectations before the work even begins. These are a few things worth considering and formalising before inking the contract with your preferred staff augmentation provider:

  • Clarify the scope. What is the big picture and what are the key deliverables their consultants will need to deliver on? Be detailed.
  • Button-down the timelines. Agree on what’s possible by when, scheduling check-ins, status reports, and due dates.
  • Set up the service expectations. From working hours and office presence to resolution processes, be clear on your expectations.

All of these, as well as the pricing payment terms, should be clearly and carefully articulated in the contract.

Make the gears mesh.

You’ve landed on your ideal provider. You’ve vetted and selected their proposed technical consultant candidates. And you’ve inked the contract. It’s time for the rubber to hit the road.

Key to a successful relationship with your staff augmentation partner is clear and continual communication. Having dedicated contacts on both sides of the equation ensures everyone is on the same page. On your partners’ side, that might look like an on-premise Project Manager (PM), and an escalation contact offsite. And from your side, a designated PM should be responsible for overall oversight and liaison.

Project management tools to keep track of progress and deadlines is a smart way to keep both parties working in lockstep. You may already have specific tools and processes in place. In which case, your augmented team and technical consultants will be able to flex and stretch with you. If not, they’ll already have their own ways of working. In which case, you may not need to use anything other than what they provide.

The steps involved in screening, selecting, and onboarding the ideal staff augmentation partner can seem onerous. But the benefits should more than outweigh the investment, across multiple metrics: in speed, accuracy, efficiency, expertise, and cost.

And partnering with the right IT provider – one in lockstep with your objectives, structure, and culture – will make a profound difference.

Our approach to hiring and upskilling stellar talent.

At Brennan, we adopt a twofold approach to staff augmentation. It starts by recruiting exceptional technical consultants who meet with our exacting standards for our permanent staff. Using referrals from trusted sources, we screen candidates using behavioural interviewing techniques and rigorous technical assessments. If we wouldn’t hire the technical consultant internally ourselves, we wouldn’t place them externally with you.

Then we bolster their skills with a continual learning framework using online courses and certified training providers, tailored to the skill sets our customers seek. It’s a virtuous circle that ensures our technical consultants are match-fit when appointed to your business and continue to stay sharp to your organisational needs as they evolve.

Curious to see how our staff augmentation expertise can support your goals?

Contact one of our experts on 1300 500 000.


  • 1 Adapt CMO Workshop, October 2023
  • 2 Treasury Statement to the Economics Legislature Committee, [online],
  • 3 HR Industry Benchmark Survey, 2021 – sourced from Borderless, [online],

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