What’s the Difference Between Staff Augmentation and Staff Supplementation?

In Part One of this blog series (each article addresses and clarifies standard terms and roles in workforce solutions and management), we examined the critical distinctions between contractors and independent contractors in the contingent workforce management industry. Then, in Part Two, we reviewed the difference between a Payroller and an Employer of Record (EOR).

This third and final installment of this series examines the distinction between staff augmentation vs. staff supplementation. But aren’t the two terms the same thing?

The answer is no: many people mistakenly believe that staff augmentation and staff supplementation are synonymous terms, but they are not! Learn what makes these two terms so different by checking out these definitions, comparisons, and differences that every contingent workforce management pro needs to know:

Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation is a strategy used to staff a project and respond to business objectives using contingent labor. Commonly an outsourcing strategy, augmentation is applied when a project or other business objective may require more staffing resources than an organization might typically employ during regular operations.

Staff augmentation engagements usually involve evaluating existing staffing levels, examining the excess workload, and determining how many and what kinds of contingent labor to engage to fill gaps.

Beyond the obvious benefits of increasing operational capacity and sourcing specialized talent, staff augmentation can also be leveraged as part of a strategic initiative, providing a flexible labor force that improves competitive advantage. It is also helpful for generating a bridge-to-hire pipeline of talent that an organization can “try before they buy.”

Staff Supplementation

On the other hand, staff supplementation involves sourcing temporary workers for client companies to supplement their current workforce during peak periods, for special projects, or during planned and unplanned worker absences. In general, what the industry refers to as “temp” labor falls under staff supplementation. 

Think of temporary labor to work in retail outlets during the rush of the holiday season or summer help, such as lifeguards, caddies, hospitality servers, and housekeepers at resorts during the peak travel season. Staff supplementation is a much less strategic and often more transient work arrangement.

Your Partner in Staffing Solutions

As we’ve learned in this blog series, numerous similarly named practices and processes exist in contingent workforce management. We will continue to provide clarity and guidance to ensure practitioners make the most effective and correct selections and decisions related to their contingent workforce strategies.Have questions about any of these terms or other ideas you may have encountered in your daily experiences on the job? At nextSource, our trained experts in staffing solutions are always available to help clarify, educate, and advise. Call us today!

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