High growth companies often choose to hire fractional (part-time) senior executives to fill roles that they either don’t want to or can’t pay for full-time. These can be relatively specific, such as supply chain director or chief data officer, or broader strategic positions such as a CMO or CFO.
The fractional executives they hire could hold multiple such roles simultaneously at different companies, or choose to work part-time due to other commitments. Either way, they typically have considerable experience reflecting their seniority.
Although still a relatively rare option, engaging a fractional leader can bring several advantages. Principally, you can get access to high-calibre C-level candidates you couldn’t otherwise afford, while saving money compared to hiring a full-time candidate.
In our executive search practice, we’ve found this is particularly useful for clients during times of accelerated change, where high-level strategic input can be decisive.
The downside is that fractional executives aren’t always at your disposal. You have to learn to share them, so agree to some clear ground rules and job specifications, and stick to them. When should you expect them to be available? What strategic objectives will they deliver? What support will you provide them? How flexible will you both be?
You also need to plan for and ideally agree what will happen if your requirements change. If you will need a full-time chief financial officer within a year, can your fractional executive increase their time commitment, or will you need to hire a full-timer at that point?
It may be that engaging an advisor or an interim (i.e. a full time, temporary senior executive) better suits your business needs than a fractional leader, so consider your options.
Like any other hire, the key is to make sure that they fit your requirements, the team and the culture. As one seasoned fractional CMO told us, “don’t try to fit a square peg in a right hole”.
Instead, structure the role to make the most of what they can bring in the hours they’ll have available. If you need them to be strategic, for example, then make sure there is a team in place that can handle the execution.
Above all, don’t assume that because someone is part-time that their commitment will be less, the chances are they will be very committed just not in the old fashioned way.
For me, fractional leaders can be a smart way of getting great talent on your team at a critical time in your growth story.
ORESA can help you determine whether a fractional leader is right for your needs, and to find game changing candidates with the right skills and fit for your business. Get in touch here.