There are plenty of companies today that require different skilled persons in their workforce. Usually, staffing requirements may range from long-term staffing to something more immediate and for the latter, an outsourcing strategy like contracting, consulting, or staff augmentation may be considered. These options make contract workers highly valuable, especially when you need a specific skill set for a particular project.

There are plenty of industries these days that are growing to become more complex in terms of role requirements and tasks. This makes the companies increasingly reliant on external knowledge and skills but of course, there is always a risk for employers when it comes to the trust situation. It is not easy to trust in-house staff with work that is crucial to a project, even if you know that they can handle the work demands. It is even more difficult to trust someone whom youâve never worked with in the past.

If the trust issue is not enough to discourage companies from considering an outsourcing strategy, there is also the dilemma with which particular outsourcing company to consider teaming up with. There are businesses that offer contracting services – some offer consulting aid, while others offer what is known as staff augmentation services. You might think that these are similar in terms of the service they offer but it is important to know how these are different to ensure that your business ends up with the best staffing technique for its needs.

With more companies competing for clients, the lines that distinguish staff augmentation, contracting, and consultancy have been blurred and the distinction among these have been masked by the recession and other economic problems over the last decade. So, how are these different and how can each one be beneficial to how a company like yours operates?

An outsourcing strategy that is commonly used to staff projects and respond to immediate and short-term business objectives is what staff augmentation is. When it comes to this technique, companies start by evaluating their internal set of employees to see if they have access to a particular skill set. If so, they dont need contract workers for a project, and simply assign tasks to the most capable in-house worker. It is only when skilled persons required for a project are not available that the company hires professionals from the outside.

In the case of an independent contractor, this involves a professional that provides the necessary service while bound under a legal contract or agreement. Independent contractors are not in-house employees but work whenever necessary — as freelancers. They are project-based team members that usually have recurring contracts with the companies that they service. In most cases, having a contract with one or two companies means that they cannot render work to a direct competitor or agency.

Finally, there is the consultant whose job is to provide professional advice on certain business matters and nothing more. This is an individual who is known in the industry as an expert on a particular subject matter. For this professional, the work does not usually extend to providing physical tasks during a project.

Given that these three types of contract workers differ in the types of services, or extent of services, being offered, it is in the best interest of the client to understand how they differ as this will lead to a better understanding of how beneficial or helpful each particular category can be when it comes to the objectives a business needs to satisfy.

Unfortunately, these concepts continue to be misunderstood and unless there is due diligence on the part of an employer to thoroughly research about which technique best suits the companys goals, the company will end up not getting the kind of work that they need at the best rate. They might think that they are getting high-quality professional aid but in truth, they are getting services that they dont need, and added expenses on their monthly overhead to boot.