It’s no secret that clinging to the business norms of 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago(!) can put an organization at serious risk for survival. Alternatively, recognizing and successfully executing modern operational strategies can empower forward-thinking businesses with a strong competitive edge. Case in point: fractional work.
What is Fractional Work?
If fractional work and the integration of fractional roles haven’t already impacted how your company does business, this new model will continue to trend and become standard practice. But just what IS fractional work?
Fractional work is a type of work arrangement in which a worker is engaged by multiple companies in a part-time (fractional-time) or project-based arrangement.
Fractional workers are independent contractors, and fractional work is a form of “gig” work. Typically gig workers are often considered for short-term projects, and fractional workers tend to encompass longer terms and at higher levels of influence or authority. It is not uncommon for fractional workers to provide executive leadership in various disciplines – such as sales leadership consulting. These types of engagements can last a few months to a few years.
The Growth of Fractional Work
As reported by the Society for Human Resource Management, a recent McKinsey & Company study found that of those who responded, “36 percent of employed workers were independent workers.” According to the McKinsey report, this equates to 58 million Americans. This was a rise of some 9 percent in the number of independent workers since 2016. When it comes to the enterprise business segment, the number of independent workers may be even higher. Research from the Josh Bersin Company and the Future of Work Exchange indicates that “independent workers make up over 47 percent of the enterprise workforce.”
The Benefits of Fractional Work
Fractional work can benefit companies and workers. For companies, fractional work can help reduce overhead costs, including individual benefits and the need for office space. It can enhance an organization’s flexibility and agility, creating opportunities for quicker development and implementation of new methodologies. Fractional work can also help fill temporary gaps in the workforce and expand access to a wider pool of talent, especially to credentialed leaders and experts sought for their experience and records of success.
For workers, fractional work can facilitate flexibility and autonomy. It can make it possible for independent contractors to set their own hours, work remotely in many cases, choose their client mix, and set their own rates. With fractional work, they might also be able to choose work assignments that align with their interests or passions. Fractional work can also make it possible to improve work-life balance.
Is Fractional Work Right for Your Organization?
Fractional work might be a good fit for your organization if you can answer yes to one or more of the following questions:
- Do you have gaps in critical expertise or specialized skills?
- Do you have a short-term need for strategic consulting?
- Is your budget for leadership talent limited?
- Are you launching new products or services and need short-term help for the duration of the launch?
- Are you expanding into a new territory where you need a local expert to manage the expansion?
- Do you need a seasoned executive to help “right the ship” with strategic shifts. assess current or needed staff, or implement new processes?
- Do you need interim expertise or part-time leadership while searching for, or awaiting the arrival of, a full-time in-house leader?
As you can tell, fractional work can help bridge gaps and provide critical expertise when needed for however long the need exists.
The Bottom Line:
As the business landscape continues to evolve, organizations increasingly need impactful ways to compete. Fractional work empowers businesses to access the skills and expertise they need to succeed without incurring the overhead of hiring full-time employees and leaders. Indeed, for many organizations, fractional work can be the ultimate smart-business competitive advantage.