Smiling businessman shaking hands with female professional. Young businesswoman is holding digital tablet.
Fractional workers can give your business a competitive advantage and help save on recruiting costs. Here’s how to benefit from fractional hiring at your business. — Getty Images/ Stígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmyndir

Fractional hiring is a hiring strategy similar to hiring independent contract workers, but with a few key differences. Fractional employees work part time, but usually on a retainer agreement: They aren’t hired to complete a specific project, but lend their expertise on an ongoing basis to help the business achieve its goals.

[Read more: The Difference Between Contract, Part-Time and Full-Time Workers]

Fractional workers can give your business a competitive advantage and help save on recruiting costs. Here’s how to find opportunities to benefit from fractional hiring at your business.

Determine what skills are needed

First and foremost, determine if there is a business need for fractional hiring. Fractional hiring allows you to work with a technical expert or seasoned professional at a fraction of the cost; however, because these roles aren’t project-based, fractional hiring is best suited for executive hiring or long-term roles.

One way to explore fractional hiring for your business is to do a skills gap analysis. Identify and measure current skills in your team. Correlate those existing skills with those needed to continue growing your business. If you realize that there are niche or technical skills needed — such as website design or accounting — consider fractional hiring. But, if the skills you need are seasonal or repetitive — such as restocking shelves — you may choose to hire a freelancer or gig worker.

[Read more: Are There Skills Gaps On Your Team? How to Identify and Address Them]

If your needs are daily, I recommend budgeting at least $10,000 per month; however, if they are good, they will likely pay for themselves over time through the implementation of cost-saving initiatives or increased revenue generation.

Katie Murphy, the founder of Expansion Group

Determine your budget and timeline

Next, assess the duration for which you anticipate needing this professional to join your team.

“Contract terms are typically at least three months, but some fractional executives may require six months. A 30-day cancellation policy is a minimum expectation, if not 60 days,” wrote Katie Murphy, the founder of Expansion Group.

The contract duration will also play a role in budgeting. This is when planning can be a challenge. On one hand, fractional workers are not owed benefits such as 401k and health coverage. On the other hand, these workers tend to charge more than you may have budgeted for payroll.

“If your needs are daily, I recommend budgeting at least $10,000 per month,” wrote Murphy. “However, if they are good, they will likely pay for themselves over time through the implementation of cost-saving initiatives or increased revenue generation. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the higher fees should only be for a short period. To do the job right, expect a six-month commitment.”

Do a cost-benefit analysis to understand whether the amount you save on recruiting costs and benefits outweighs the amount you will spend over the contract duration. At some point, hiring a fractional worker may be more expensive than bringing on a full-time employee. But, the right person can also deliver a high ROI on your fractional hiring efforts.

Write the job description

Finally, create a job description that can guide your hiring as well as the final agreement you sign with your fractional employee. Write the statement of work to be specific, but keep in mind that these roles aren’t project-based. Focus on day-to-day responsibilities as well as “other duties as required” to keep the role slightly open-ended.

You should also include in the job description how many days (or hours) per week the position requires. Because fractional workers split their time between multiple organizations, you must delineate the specific “chunks” of time you want to be devoted to your business. “Hours tend to be more regular than part-time: a fractional executive might devote Monday and Tuesday to client A, Wednesday to Client B, and so on, so the employer has a clear understanding of when they are available,” explained one business consultant.

Keep in mind that you may need to be flexible when requesting a fractional worker’s time. These experts tend to be in-demand; therefore, it’s important to set up a regular cadence to help your team plan for when this person is working for you. This plan will help everyone better coordinate and work to achieve your business goals.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Follow us on Instagram for more expert tips & business owners’ stories.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

Where business leaders go to grow

CO— is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Published October 27, 2021