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By Chris McGrath, CEO at Esteemed

In an age where businesses demand more agility to pivot and quickly adapt to rapidly shifting market forces, fractional hiring is a growing trend. Particularly for C-suite executives among startups, rapidly expanding companies, and organizations going through change, it’s challenging to find highly skilled and experienced executives to move your company forward. A fractional executive can be the answer to your business when you are strapped for time or resources but can’t afford to lose sight of your goals.

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What is a fractional executive?

Fractional executives are a cost-effective way to access the expertise and experience of highly skilled seasoned professionals on demand or part-time. The term “fractional” refers to the time an executive works with a company or on specific projects. Organizations hire fractional executives to help them with restructuring efforts, launch new products and services, or fill in as interim leadership while searching for a full-time executive. 

Fractional executives are different from consultants in how they take on executive and leadership roles by implementing, managing, and leading organizational change with direct reports. Traditionally consultants don’t have executive power or authority. Fractional executives have backgrounds working as C-level executives, for example, CTOs, directors, and leaders with proven track records showing company growth. 

What are the benefits of hiring a fractional executive?

The primary benefits of hiring a fractional executive are saving time and money. Experienced and talented C-level executives are difficult and time-consuming to find. The average leadership executive search takes six to nine months. The hiring cost can easily surpass six figures before securing a full-time exec. 

The loss of productivity and momentum associated with vacant leadership, especially among software and technical engineering teams, quickly adds up and contributes to lost revenue. Startups and companies focused on rapid growth and development can’t afford to wait for lengthy executive searches.  

Demand for fractional executives is shaping the future of work

The future of work is about finding the right people to make things happen. Fractional executives have the know-how and the experience of growing and scaling companies toward success from years of working in the trenches, managing the most active and challenging aspects of business, which include initiating and executing organizational transformations, scaling to meet growth, mitigating risks, and maintaining productivity. 

Fractional executives are not replacing traditional C-level positions but complementing them and contributing to a more agile workforce. The fractional executive model allows companies to tap into a pool of leaders with diverse backgrounds who can help them grow their businesses.

Why hiring a fractional executive advances a company’s goals

While you may already have an in-house expert with deep knowledge of your product or service, current in-house expertise doesn’t necessarily have the ability to turn an existing company into something bigger and better.

Companies must continually innovate to maintain a competitive edge and sustain growth. Fractional executives can help achieve this goal by providing seasoned experience and insights that can support expansion and scalability, allocating resources for existing leadership while sparking innovation with new ideas and perspectives.

Hiring a fractional executive can help your company advance in some of the following ways: 

  • Reduce costs: Hiring an outside expert reduces the need for training, which saves time and money. It also eliminates the need to pay benefits and other expenses associated with hiring a full-time executive leader.
  • Provide seasoned experience: Experienced professionals understand how things work in various industries. They will seek improvements and implement changes to benefit your company.
  • Spark innovation with leadership:: Many C-suite execs have been in their roles for 10 years or more. Companies need new or additional leaders who bring fresh ideas and perspectives to manage their organizations’ critical challenges.
  • Support scalability: As companies expand, they often need additional experienced resources in managing complex processes and relationships across departments. Fractional executives can alleviate the pressure points associated with growth and provide sustainable scalability. 

When is the right time to hire a fractional executive?

Hiring a fractional executive is a time-saving and quality solution if you need to fill a hole in your immediate leadership team. You can fill the role sooner and stay on track with your business goals.

Sometimes specific expertise is required to fulfill knowledge gaps. Fractional executives have acquired years of training and experience and developed relationships. If they don’t have the skills to satisfy a void, they’ll likely have someone in their network who does.

For example, if your company is moving into new markets or expanding its product line, it may be time to hire a fractional executive with international experience or knowledge in new product development.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to bring in a fractional executive:

  • Do I need help with the high-level architecture of a specific project?
  • Do I need advice from someone who has been through this before?
  • Do I need someone who can act as a mentor for my team members?

If your company is expanding rapidly, your teams may not have all the resources to move strategic objectives forward. Hiring a fractional executive is one way to provide your teams with more support to focus on specific goals you know are critical to your company’s growth.

Hiring a fractional executive provides more leadership to support mid-level managers and employees, giving them access to new knowledge and skills that might otherwise be unavailable. They can reduce workplace stress, mitigate burnout, and help balance workloads. As a result, employee engagement and talent retention can increase with improved loyalty.

Hiring a fractional executive can be the solution to help your company grow when dedicated executive talent is needed. They reduce costs, scale growth, and provide fresh ideas and support as seasoned experts.

Chris McGrath is a veteran technologist, web developer, digital strategist and technical architect. He is the CEO of multi-channel brand Esteemed. Esteemed provides people, workforce, and workplace management solutions.