Even though “fractional employment” is a relatively new term, there’s a chance you’ve already participated in the fractional work movement — especially as an employee. If you’re an employee, fractional employment represents part-time work that makes it possible to work for multiple companies. However, from an employer’s standpoint, hiring fractional talent paves the way for unique staffing strategies that give you a competitive edge.

In the realm of C-suite roles, fractional executives bring specialized expertise to organizations without the commitment of hiring full-time leadership. This model offers companies flexibility, allowing them to access high-level talent part-time. A fractional model is particularly beneficial for startups and small businesses wrangling with budget constraints or in need of specific expertise.

 fractional employment gives you an exciting new way to tackle business problems

Rethinking Fractional Work: Beyond the Executive Suite

Outside the confines of the executive suite, fractional employment gives you an exciting new way to tackle business problems. This is especially true for content marketing and content strategy roles.

Benefits of Fractional Employees in Marketing and Content

Winning in the marketing and content game depends on flexibility and agility, which makes it an ideal fit for a fractional staffing strategy

For example, let’s say you want to launch a social media marketing campaign using a combination of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. With a traditional employment model, you’d approach your team, present the idea, and then put the ball in their court. 

While that can work, here’s the problem: Often, your current team may not have the niche expertise you need to serve up an ideal marketing strategy. For instance, your marketing staff may consist of a few top-notch players with a Bachelor’s or MBA degree and the broad knowledge that comes with it. 

But that only goes so far in the current business climate — where marketing tech and strategy change like pages in a flip book.

On the other hand, let’s say your leadership team has embraced a fractional approach to marketing and content staffing. You then identify someone who is an absolute expert in social media marketing. They live and breathe user-generated content, micro-targeting, influencer partnerships, and, of course, trend-positive hashtags.

You bring them on, and they hit the ground running. You soon have a tight, creative campaign — not to mention someone to manage, evaluate, and adjust it.

Getting this level of high-quality output would be inefficient with a typical employment strategy. You may have to extend your timeline for weeks or months as your marketing team researches, trains, and upskills itself to be social content experts.

Case Study: Northwestern Mutual Powers Success with Fractional Marketing Talent

Fractional hiring has been embraced by a number of winning companies, many of whom use it to fill their marketing talent pool.

Northwestern Mutual, which leverages fractional employment for its marketing team, has taken off as a result. For example, the company’s brand image and reputation helped produce a 24 percent increase in investment client assets in 2023 alone.

The company attributed its success largely to its brokerage products, which benefitted from creative, cutting-edge strategies powered by its partially fractional marketing team. For instance, Northwestern teamed up with Pinterest, segmenting prospects into eight different personas. The company then leveraged targeted marketing to convert these into paying brokerage clients.

Getting the most from a fractional approach to staffing starts with figuring out which roles would benefit most

Implementing Fractional Roles Effectively

Getting the most from a fractional approach to staffing starts with figuring out which roles would benefit most. Then, you have to surgically integrate your fractional employees with the rest of your team.

Identifying Opportunities for Fractional Positions

To identify the positions that are best suited for fractional employment, you should assess your:

  • Staffing gaps. Which roles need to be filled, and what’s the ideal time frame for hiring the right talent?
  • Project-based needs. Are there specific projects that would benefit from someone with niche expertise?
  • Strategic initiatives. Do you need someone to manage a long- or short-term strategy? Or is there a vital role a current strategy needs to help it hit its benchmarks?

For example, suppose you want to launch a marketing campaign using the metaverse. While you’ve identified the programmers you need to develop the space, your marketing managers are already swamped with other projects.

Instead of upskilling your current staff or hiring a new, full-time employee, you can find someone with experience in initiatives metaverse marketing. Their job description may look like this:

Over 15 hours per week:

  • Design marketing collateral for a meta-environment
  • Meet with the programming team for progress updates
  • Assess the effectiveness of metaversal marketing using KPIs and real-time data
  • Evaluate the success of each marketing endeavor, then use that data to design successive campaigns

Integration Strategies for Fractional Employees

To integrate your fractional employees, you need to focus on creating an effective communication and collaboration infrastructure. You also should establish norms and expectations around when they need to check initiatives, be available, and respond to emails, texts, or chat messages.

Setting up your integration infrastructure may be easier done than said. In fact, you may already have the tools you need. Solutions like Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Monday.com provide ample functionality for connecting remote, on-premise, and fractional talent.

Establishing communication expectations presents unique challenges, however. Fractional employment arrangements thrive off tempered commitment. In other words, while your workforce is 100 percent committed to doing an excellent job, they don’t feel tied down by your organization. So your communication norms should reflect this. For instance, you may want to require:

  • Daily check-ins only on the days they’re scheduled to work
  • Limited to no mandatory availability during off-work or weekend hours
  • At least one email/chat check every three hours
  • Full availability during working hours for meetings and video conferences

Challenges and Considerations

Before diving into a fractional work arrangement, it’s good to try to predict some potential challenges and game plan accordingly. Not everyone is used to non-traditional work models, and managing fractional employees may not be as linear as working with traditional team members.

Overcoming Resistance to Non-Traditional Work Models

Traditional work models come with their perks, and these can be hard to let go — for those on both sides of the table. For instance, with a regular, nine-to-five arrangement:

  • You know when and where your employee is going to be eight hours out of the day
  • Communication is straightforward and predictable because you can walk up to their desk or place a call if they’re remote
  • Employees can, essentially, slack off, doing more or less work without seeing a drop in pay

Letting go of these conveniences may not be easy — for either party. To overcome resistance, you can:

  • Set clear performance expectations, letting employees know they’ll be rewarded based on hitting benchmarks — even if it takes them less time to do so
  • Establish a culture of consistent communication during work hours, acknowledging employees formally in their evaluations when they communicate well
  • Be as flexible as you can be when it comes to times you require each employee to be on call

Managing Fractional Employees for Optimal Output

Leading fractional employees to perform up to par comes down to going the extra mile when it comes to communicating expectations. During regular meetings with fractional workers, you should:

  • Outline their goals for the next couple of weeks
  • Get on the same page regarding the quality of work you expect
  • Take time to empathetically listen to their concerns
  • Seek out ways to empower them with the resources they need to excel

The rise of technology and innovative strategies will continue to drive the need for fractional talent

The Future of Fractional Work in Business

Due to its flexibility and adaptability, fractional work isn’t going anywhere soon. 

Predictions and Trends in Fractional Employment

The rise of technology and innovative strategies will continue to drive the need for fractional talent. You can use fractional talent to drive innovation in stagnant markets. When you have the freedom to hire talented individuals with specific skills on an ad hoc basis, the upside in terms of quality of work and cost savings is too significant to ignore.

And since employees have grown increasingly accustomed to having freedom and multiple professional options, the fractional trend will likely continue upward. As a mutually beneficial arrangement, it has support from all involved.

How to Prepare Your Business for a Fractional Workforce

To prepare your business for the future of fractional work, consider the following steps:

1. Assess organizational needs: Identify areas within your organization where fractional expertise or temporary support could drive value and enhance performance.

2. Evaluate integration strategies: Develop integration strategies to seamlessly integrate fractional employees into existing teams and workflows, fostering collaboration and alignment with organizational goals.

3. Invest in technology: Leverage technology platforms and tools to enable remote collaboration, project management, and communication among distributed teams.

4. Cultivate a flexible culture: Foster a culture of flexibility and adaptability to embrace the benefits of fractional employment in your organizational culture and support the diverse needs of a dynamic workforce.

Explore the Potential for Fractional Roles Beyond the C-Suite

Fractional employment represents a transformative shift in how businesses structure their workforce and engage talent. By embracing the trends and opportunities of fractional work, organizations can unlock the full potential of specialized expertise, flexibility, and scalability to drive innovation and success.

Evaluate your business’s potential for fractional employment now by combining ClearVoice’s content services with your fractional marketing team. Connect with a content strategist today to learn more about how ClearVoice can optimize your marketing.