Skip to content

Fractional Work: The Growth of Flexibility and Innovation

Similarly, John Ames has made waves with his recent book titled “Revolt: The Rise of Fractional and the Death of Full Time.” Beyond these individuals, there’s a vibrant community of both Fractional professionals and those curious about the concept, with hubs like Fractionals United and The Fractional Exec Community drawing attention globally.

This phenomenon of fractional employment is rapidly reshaping the landscape of work, especially for forward-thinking companies in sectors like FMCG, biotech, and startups. The trend towards fractional hiring is fundamentally altering how businesses approach staffing and accessing the specialized expertise necessary for driving growth and innovation.

Fractional Hiring

Fractional hiring involves employing individuals to work for a fraction of the time a full-time employee would, providing businesses with access to executive-level expertise on a part-time basis. These fractional hires, often seasoned professionals with years of experience, offer their skills to multiple clients, enriching companies with their knowledge without the long-term commitment or cost associated with full-time hires. Unlike traditional part-time roles, fractional positions are characterized by their ongoing relationship with the company, allowing for a deep understanding of the business’s objectives and challenges.

Where Does Fractional Employment Occur?

Fractional employment has expanded across various sectors, including marketing, service industries, and increasingly, in innovation-driven fields. Companies leverage fractional hires for their flexibility and the opportunity to bring on board expertise that they might not require or afford full-time, but which is crucial for specific projects or phases of growth.

The Trend of Fractional Employment

The shift towards fractional employment is driven by several factors. Organizations are seeking ways to remain agile, reduce overheads, and access specialized skills on demand. Additionally, the gig economy’s growth has normalized flexible work arrangements, with many professionals seeking work that offers balance, variety, and the opportunity to apply their skills across different challenges.

Roles Becoming Fractional

Typically, roles such as CEO, CFO, CMO, and COO are becoming fractional, allowing startups and SMEs to benefit from high-level leadership without the associated costs. These fractional executives come with cross-industry experience, offering fresh perspectives and focused problem-solving skills.

Growth of Fractional Roles

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights a significant uptick in temporary business management roles, with an 18% increase from 2021 to 2022 and a 57% rise since 2020, driven by the merging challenges of hiring and resource constraints in the same period. This trend underscores the cost-effectiveness of fractional talent and interim support, particularly beneficial for small to medium-sized enterprises, as well as PE- and VC-backed companies.

Catalant’s project data corroborates the surging demand for such roles, attributing it to the need for flexibility and specialized skills in uncertain times. This approach is notably prevalent in PE-backed companies undertaking transformative work, where leveraging experienced professionals on a part-time basis can provide invaluable expertise without the commitment to full-time employment.

Fractional Job Boards and Communities

Platforms like Indeed, Useshiny, TheFreeAgent, Toptal, FlexJobs, and GigX cater to fractional and freelance professionals, offering a space for companies to find fractional executives. More specialized job boards and networks focusing on executive-level fractional roles are also emerging, reflecting the growing demand for this employment model.

Impact on Innovation-Driven Companies

For companies and startups in sectors that rely heavily on innovation, fractional hiring can be a game-changer. Access to seasoned executives on a fractional basis allows these companies to navigate growth, scale challenges, and innovation hurdles more effectively. By integrating fractional hires, companies can:

  • Leverage executive experience and cross-industry insights without the full-time cost.
  • Gain focused expertise to drive specific projects or navigate critical growth phases.
  • Enhance agility by bringing in specialized skills as and when needed.

A Strategic Approach to Talent

Fractional employment is not just a trend but a strategic approach to talent management in the modern workplace. For companies pushing the boundaries of innovation, fractional hires offer a way to access the experience and skills needed to fuel growth without the overhead of full-time executive positions. As this employment model continues to evolve, it will likely become an integral part of how companies think about staffing and innovation in the future.

Source:  Catalant

Contributor

  • Gail Martino

    Gail Martino, Ph.D is a thought leader and global innovation leader in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, having worked with billion-dollar brands at Unilever and previously at Gillette. With a background spanning both corporate and academic roles, Gail has a proven track record in developing and executing highly effective innovation ecosystems, driving value through strategic partnerships and internal product development. Notably, she has been a valued member of the advisory board for the Front End of Innovation conference since 2015.

 
 

Related Content

Bulletin board with post it notes. One in center says Make Things Happen.
innovation team

Managing Productive Innovation

Conservatively, I estimate that I’ve attended 20,000-plus meetings throughout my career. I’ll admit, many of them should have been replaced with email…

A blueprint with a pencil and ruler.
innovation talent

Innovation Principles, 7/7

Once adequate competency, support, and size of a new team are secured, clear direction based on a purposeful vision, alignment with a winning game pla…

coin operated binoculars and open blue sky
innovation culture

The Road to FEI24: Analytics for Innovation

Anu Sundaram, Vice President, Business Analytics, Rue Gilt Groupe, is planning an interactive analytics session for FEI 2024, taking place this June….

A smiling little robot
technology

The Road to FEI24: Brunch with the Bots

Samantha Johnson, Founder & CEO at Tatum Robotics, will take part in FEI 2024 in several ways, including participating in the keynote sessions, “Bru…

explorer in a cave
artificial intelligence

Applying AI to Anthropological Research

Agile research and methodologies are of primary importance to the innovation discipline, as they promote a more versatile, rapid, adaptive approach to…

Shopper in a grocery store.
artificial intelligence

8 Risks If You Don’t Have an AI Strategy

In the fast-paced world of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), where product life cycles are short and consumer trends shift with lightning speed, stay…

gross profit margin

Innovation Principles, 5/7

Gross Profit Margin and Net Present Value are two primary profitability indicators for evaluating an intended entrepreneurial offering. Even if suffic…

technology

Gaining an Innovation Edge with Automation

With the focus on how artificial intelligence, as well as digital transformation efforts, can help streamline operations, it’s worth another look at…

agile innovation

Creating the Right Innovation Partnership

Corporations often face many challenges when it comes to developing innovation in a fast, evolving market. They can face barriers such as inertia, the…

product innovation

Bringing Sales and Innovation Together

Just how can innovation and sales work together to find success? Too often, companies find themselves stuck in their respective departments and the si…

opportunity incubation

Innovation Principles, 4/7

The front end of innovation is a distinctly iterative endeavor based on human-centered, design-thinking principles. It could be represented by a spira…

innovation mindset

Winning the Innovation Strategy Game

We know that having a creative mindset can fuel innovation, and that fostering a culture of innovation is also important to get the job done. Yet ther…

innovation talent

Taking Next Steps with Innovation Talent

As we head into the new year, taking the next steps with innovation talent remains an important question to explore. With the competitive landscape in…

PIE framework

PIE: Get Your Slice of Success

How can someone really stand out and succeed as a corporate innovator, get the most exciting projects, or secure a promotion? This is a question I enc…

digital transformation

Shaping the Future with Disruptive Technology

As we head into 2024, innovation of all types, most especially in technology, will continue to disrupt, transform and impact our lives, from the workp…

innovation talent

Keeping Your Innovation Career Resilient

With the rise of technology, such as AI, impacting workers and workplaces, it’s safe to say the future of work is evolving—in innovation and in ma…

innovation frameworks

Innovation Principles, 3/7

The main premise behind an integrated end-to-end continuum of innovation and new product development is that a holistic understanding of sequential de…

innovation culture

Embracing Open Innovation

Open innovation is a growing tactic for today’s globalized enterprises. Rather than focusing just on closed loop systems and internal sources, such…

consumer insights

Shaping the Next Generation of Innovation

Generation Z is in a unique position as they are often viewed as one of the first to be shaped and influenced by technology such as the Internet, soci…

human centered design

Innovation Principles, 2/7

Successful innovation endeavors are built on creative tension between key enabling entrepreneurial trade-offs associated with four must-have constitue…

risk management

Unlocking Business Growth Through Innovation

The business world is changing quickly for innovators and there is a growing and ever-present imperative to keep up. Business model transformations an…

technology

Living in A Digital Transformation World

Digital transformation (DX) has been a hot topic in the innovation space for some time, but the term can be easily misunderstood as well. As we accele…

innovation frameworks

Innovation Principles, 1/7

Imagine a case where a company’s growth depends on an innovation involving complex cross-disciplinary technologies such as electro-mechanical hardwa…

innovation mindset

Sustaining the Self-Disruption Journey

The adage “disrupt or be disrupted” may not necessarily always mean the same thing to the same companies. Even the original architects of disrupti…

innovation culture

Playing the Game of Disruption

At FEI, Angelina Carvajal, Strategy & Innovation Partner, Sr. Dir. (Optum Advisory), UnitedHealth Group, had a chance to share her thoughts on disrupt…

innovation mindset

Creating the Happiness Mindset for Innovation

With 2023 often being labeled the year of uncertainty, it comes as no surprise that consumers, and the innovation community, has had its fair share of…

innovation culture

Breaking Through Challenges to Problem Solve

While it’s important to learn from best practices from large and innovative enterprises, it’s also valuable to hear from the startup community. At…

long-term innovation

Powering Innovation’s Long-Term Play

Ishan Jaithwa, Manager, New Growth Areas, Cummins Inc., sat down with All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler at our studio at the FEI conference. Jaithw…

artificial intelligence

AI Photo Shoot: Innovation Catalyst or Killer?

In a groundbreaking move, Glamour magazine in Bulgaria has unveiled the first-ever magazine cover shoot entirely generated by artificial intelligence…

desirability

Design Thinking Faces the Pace of Change

Seth Adler of All Things Innovation recently caught up with Prapti Jha, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, at this year’s FEI co…

consumer

Opening the Doors of Innovation Perception

Seth Adler of All Things Innovation caught up with Cory Sorice, SVP and Chief Innovation Officer, Masonite International, during this year’s FEI con…

disruption

Beyond Innovation Theater

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…

design thinking

Supporting Data with Design Thinking

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…

disruption

Achieving Transformational Innovation

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…

finance

The Finance Factor in Innovation

The finance function in an organization often gets tabbed as a bottom line-oriented, conservative department that more often than not stifles innovati…

innovation culture

Setting the Strategic Direction

A chief strategy officer (CSO) is increasingly becoming a more relevant element to a research and development team in an organization. An innovation t…

innovation culture

Managing the Marketing of Innovation

Even some of the best new innovations might fail if there’s no effective marketing behind the product or service. With an emphasis on cross-collabor…

innovation leadership

Playing Moneyball for the Win

In the popular baseball movie “Moneyball,” the character Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) highlights the “epic failure” of MLB leadership in managin…

innovation mindset

Putting Together Your Innovation Team

As the community’s recent Innovation Spend & Trends Report indicated, innovation teams are not working in a bubble, or at least not as much as they…

ideation

Generating Innovation Through Ideation

Ideation is often confused with innovation, along with other related terms regarding the creative process, such as brainstorming or design thinking. W…

talent

Managing Talent to Drive Innovation

With the economy producing mixed signals, and companies often in a state of flux, managing innovation talent has never been a more challenging and imp…

ambidextrous organization

Balancing Innovation with Ambidexterity

Innovators have long been tasked with being a flexible part of an ambidextrous team, as part of an organizational cog that can easily pivot and manage…

sustainable technology

Defining Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation is often a phrase used to make a splash in the business world. Some may debate that the label has been applied carelessly at tim…

sustaining innovation

Growing a Culture for Business Innovation

Whether it entails a large jump or a small step, the innovation pipeline for a business keeps it moving forward through a competitive landscape. Busin…

gaining true value

Gaining True Value While Moving Forward

The All Things Innovation community came together in this Gathering on Innovation Strategy to drive immediate lessons learned through the first half o…

innovation ethics

Diving Into Humanity-Centric Innovation

With the continued emergence and evolving development of artificial intelligence, there rises a question of how humans and AI can work together more e…

human resources

Tapping Into the Innovation Talent Pipeline

In the last few years, the pandemic and a range of other economic factors have influenced the talent recruitment, development and retention practices…

human resources

Ignite a Culture of Innovation

From the successes to the failures, from the breakthroughs to the breaking points, the innovation community knows all too well that fostering a cultur…

innovation strategy

Innovation During A Downturn

Whether you believe the USA is headed toward or already in a recession, there are signs of a slowing or reversal of economic activity. Of the 15 metri…

failure

Striving for Successful Innovation

In the quest for innovation, there is often a fine line between success and failure. The road to success is not always clear, easy or convenient. Howe…

inclusion

Innovation Diversity

Black, Indigenous and People of Color have always been leaders in innovation and it’s time for us to put that at the forefront. DEI, or Diversity Eq…

human resources

Fostering Innovation

When you start to talk that way and lead that way, people do feel more psychologically safe to support change and support innovation that’s happenin…

disruptive innovation

Breakthrough Innovation

While the rest of the industry relies on iterative change, Alex Moyes explains the breakthrough innovation happening at Dominion Energy. “So Dominio…

technology

Innovation Reality

When working remotely, the main challenge is bringing people into an office when they live across the country or around the world. The AES Corporation…

innovation culture

Control The Sails

Although the world was affected heavily with change in the last few years, not much in the business world has changed as far as topics and issues go….

innovation talent

Innovation Culture

Innovation starts with the employees of an organization. As we know, the people that work for a business are some of its greatest assets. In today’s…

corporate innovation

Interaction Innovation

We are at a time in history of incredible change and technological innovations, such as the rise of machine intelligence, and companies who keep doing…

human-centric

Humanity-Centric Innovation

Humanity-centric innovation is the idea of solving the biggest problems facing humanity in an economically viable way. Pete Dulcamara, Chief Scientist…

innovation culture

Measurable Innovation

Each company has their own KPIs that are important to their specific business in place to progress and be successful. Are people at the forefront of i…

innovation talent

Certain Uncertainty

Life is uncertain in every way. It’s always interesting to meet new people and try new things. On the other hand, attackers may sometimes appear out o…

adaptation

Rolling Innovation

If you’ve done it once, you can do it again. Make sure to keep doing it, it’s rolling innovation. Amber Case sits down with us to discuss how impo…

transformation

Strategic Innovation

Any new concept or technological advancement will continue to change and advance. Landlines were commonplace before smartphones. Remember those? What…

strategic innovation

Innovation Intelligence

It seems that innovation is one of the biggest buzzwords in business now. To sustain growth and be competitive in the marketplace, companies in every…

constant change

Innovation As Constant Change

The key strategy to a successful business is to know when they are being innovative or are just transforming their status quo according to market tren…