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Does fractional talent add up to success?

Digging into the data on this growing executive hiring trend

Published on

May 16, 2024


The tech world can be hard to predict – especially when it comes to the logistics of operating a company in a field full of new advancements, unexpected challenges, and sudden opportunities for rapid growth or transformation.  

In Canada’s buzzing tech industry, a growing trend is emerging that reimagines how growing companies can easily scale or innovate with flexibility and speed: fractional talent. Essentially, this means filing crucial skills gaps with seasoned leaders on an as-needed basis. These part-time or short-term contracts are often beneficial when tackling specific challenges, or for special projects that require niche expertise and knowledge.

For example, a startup might need expert advice to navigate a rapid expansion. Hiring a fractional CIO can help ensure the company’s infrastructure will be able to support this growth with scalable tech and improved system architectures. Similarly, a software development firm might need marketing leadership to navigate a new product launch, and the skills of a fractional CMO could help them get the desired exposure.  

The bottom line for businesses

With fractional work, companies get the expertise they need - when they need it - without straining their budget. The main draw for fractional hiring is its inherent flexibility, which allows organizations to scale their team up or down based on their current needs. Additionally, fractional executive talent usually comes equipped with a wide range of experience across a number of industries, along with outside perspectives and fresh eyes that can offer new insight on special projects and existing processes.  

The fractional model also allows companies to manage their salary budgets more efficiently. Instead of taking on the overhead costs associated with a full-time c-suite hire, they can invest in high-quality expertise for a pre-determined period. This allows companies with time- or project-specific needs to line their spending up with growth and revenue cycles, or adapt quickly to rapid new industry developments.

The benefits for fractional workers

Much like the businesses that seek their services, many fractional professionals are also drawn to the setup for the flexibility it provides. It allows them to remain engaged in their chosen profession and apply their expertise without the full-time commitment, giving them a boost in their work-life balance. Fractional work can also be particularly appealing to those with other time commitments, like volunteer board members or independent consultants. The model can also attract seasoned executives who may be approaching retirement, but still have a lot left to contribute before they think about leaving the workforce.  

Depending on the arrangement and confidentiality requirements, fractional work can also give skilled executives the opportunity to make a boarder professional impact across multiple organizations, adding variety to their workdays while simultaneously expanding their network and CV.

Challenges to consider

While fractional work offers many benefits for businesses and professionals alike, integrating this model comes with its own unique set of challenges. One of the primary issues is making sure these part-time pros can plug into the existing company culture and workflow, which is crucial for collaboration and teamwork. To keep everyone aligned and get the most out of their fractional hire’s expertise, companies considering this approach need to ensure these individuals are actively included in strategic sessions, and schedule their hours to coincide with regular team meetings. Collaborative workflow management software can also help keep all team members informed and engaged, ensuring projects keep moving forward efficiently.  

Another concern is the potential loss of knowledge when these fractional executives transition out. To mitigate this, we encourage employers to devote time in these contracts to knowledge-sharing and upskilling sessions with your existing team. Additionally, setting up detailed handover processes and clear SOPs can help ensure the fractional hire’s valuable insights are retained after their departure.

A creative solution worth exploring

For many companies, it appears that the benefits to the fractional model outweigh the challenges. The concept is continuing to gain traction across Canada – with Google searches for these roles up by 200-500% over the last five years. As organizations become more comfortable with this novel arrangement, we expect its popularity to continue rising.  

Are you an employer wanting to learn more about how this model could work for you? Reach out to us and explore the fractional staffing solutions we have to offer your team.  

Are you a highly skilled tech professional looking to take advantage of the flexibility and fulfillment fractional roles can provide? Contact us today to learn more about the opportunities we currently have available.

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