Your marketing team may be the cream of the crop, but it’s impossible for your internal staff to know everything. Whether it’s copywriting, graphic design, or development, chances are good that your team members will need additional skills to complete all their projects.
In addition, marketing is constantly changing. The skillsets you need to take care of business will change over time, and it can be tricky filling in the gaps. Instead of teaching new skills to your employees or hiring full-time help, try marketing staff augmentation instead. But be sure to prepare your team in advance for the change: follow these five tips to prepare your internal team for staff augmentation.
What is marketing staff augmentation?
Marketing staff augmentation is a type of outsourcing. With staff augmentation, you hire a contract employee who helps you for a set period of time. This is a great way to tap into expertise from a graphic designer, writer, or developer without hiring a full-time employee. After all, if you only need development skills for a website redesign, it makes more sense to hire someone for a few months instead of on a full-time basis.
Because augmentation works as a time-bound contract relationship, you can easily add or remove staff to your team as needed. It costs much less to augment your staff because you aren’t paying for a full-time employee’s annual salary, training, or benefits.
How to prepare your team for marketing staff augmentation
You don’t want to surprise your marketing team with a new teammate—temporary or not—out of the blue. Be sure you follow these five steps to prepare your team and your temporary staff for the best working relationship possible.
- Identify skills gaps
What skills do you need from your augmented staff? Take inventory of everything your current team is capable of so you bring on the right talent.
If you have an internal resource, use them! You’re already investing in your full-time employees, so don’t outsource for a skill they already have. For example, if your current team is great at writing but doesn’t know how to code, you should bring on a temporary developer to build your company’s app.
- Choose the right projects
Not every project is appropriate for staff augmentation. If you need someone around all the time to manage your social media, that’s a better use of your internal team’s resources. Marketing staff augmentation is better used for projects with a set start and end date, like a website redesign or product launch.
It’s going to confuse everyone if you hire augmented staff and keep them around indefinitely, so make sure you’re using augmented staff on the right projects.
- Set expectations
Make it very clear who is doing what for a given project. Your internal team members should know what they need to do, and your augmented staff needs to understand where it fits into the process.
Explain to your internal marketing team why you are augmenting your staff and how long the temporary team members will be around. You might need to create an SOP to formally clarify who’s responsible for what. It might seem like an extra step, but clarifying everything from the start will help you get the project done with less confusion.
- Establish communication expectations
This is easy if your augmented staff is on-site, but with 56% of the U.S. workforce operating remotely, you’re probably managing an entirely virtual team. In this case, it’s essential to define how your internal marketing team will communicate with contractors.
A good staff augmentation firm will ask you for this ahead of time, but if they don’t, be sure to spell out:
- When your team will meet, how often, and in what capacity
- When it’s appropriate to communicate via email versus a chat versus a phone call versus a video conference
- Who to CC on an email
- How to set up calendar invites, including who to invite
- How the team will send tasks to one another
- Create guidelines and reporting structures
By now, everyone knows what they’re responsible for and how they should communicate with each other. You should also spell out your:
- Reporting hierarchy: Who is managing contractors’ work? To whom does your augmented staff report? How will you escalate issues?
- Deliverables: Who will contractors turn their work in to? How will your team provide feedback on their work?
- KPIs: How will you know that each team member met their goals? Make sure every role has clear goals so you can measure that person’s individual performance. And yes, you need to give KPIs to your external team members, too, so they’re just as accountable as your internal team.
Make the most of marketing staff augmentation
Staff augmentation is meant to give a lift to your internal team. Fill in the missing pieces with temporary talent at a much better price point. Just make sure you follow these five steps to clarify everything with your team and external partners so everyone can work together harmoniously.
Ready to try marketing staff augmentation for yourself? See how Nitrous Effect helps you become more agile with the power of on-demand expertise.