The pandemic has rewritten the business landscape and greatly accelerated the implementation of trends that were previously working their way into mainstream management structures.

One accelerated trend has been the uptake of leveraging fractional employees. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Fractional hiring refers to the practice of hiring an employee for a ‘fraction’ of the time a normal employee would work. An employee could be hired to work for multiple organizations throughout the week.”

Particularly, three key elements have given rise to the fractional employee as a best practice to fulfill many department leadership roles and C-level positions in the new economy. These are:

1. Hybrid / work-from-home models

Once primarily only adopted by tech companies, the idea of working completely remote or in a hybrid model has been normalized and, in many conditions, is now sought out by talent of all levels and most industries.

2. Demand and cost for talent

Employees at all levels, and, particularly, C-level executives with proven experience are in exceptionally high demand, with boundless opportunities, meaning they come at a much greater cost to the company.

3. Pressures on businesses at all levels

There are rising complexities in cybersecurity, human resources, financial reporting, and technology. In the past, growing companies could get by with less focus on these areas to save costs, but that is no longer the case.

For example, years ago many smaller firms believed a chief information security officer (CISO) was not a necessity for a company of their size. In an increasingly digitized world where everyone is a target, that is no longer the case.

Fractional employees reduce these risks by bringing on seasoned veterans who can both protect and prepare the company for new heights while providing skilled professional expertise at a reduced rate.

Fractional CISOs have usually worked as cybersecurity professionals in likeminded companies themselves before seeking fractional opportunities. They will have the know how to design processes to be created with you in mind, ensuring recommendations are practical and audits are minimally burdensome. The creation of these protocols and monitoring of their effectiveness are very well suited for a fractional role. Companies can utilize fractional information security solutions for cyber risk management that are customized to their unique risk environment, which keeps solutions practical and cost-effective.

Regardless of the size of your company, human resources services are a must. Because the handling of HR tasks can demand much time and attention, many business owners opt to outsource these services through human resources outsourcing. This can be used to quickly right-size needs up and down with staff onboarding and training or navigating compromising situations. Fractional HR professionals can fill select roles for your organization, facilitating everything from the development of employee paperwork to policies, employment risk, employer training, disputes, and payroll processing.

When it comes to hiring, a chief financial officer (CFO) can be a challenging and costly role to fill. A creative solution to this dilemma is securing a fractional CFO. Determined by your business size and needs, you can receive CFO-level expertise and strategy at an affordable rate — it is a sophisticated solution that can be customized to scale as your organization grows.

These fractional CFOs bring a wealth of talent and knowledge to your organization and can provide an array of financial services, including comprehensive financial analysis (budgeting, forecasting, and pro forma analysis); preparation for recapitalization, acquisition, or IPO; investor/board strategy and communication; relationship management with private equity or venture capital partners; investor pitch development; and capital funding strategy.

A successful business requires strategic planning and execution in all areas. Fractional technology professionals can work with your leadership team to develop and drive strategic technology plans that align with your business objectives.

Hiring a virtual chief technology officer gives your business the same value as a traditional position at a more manageable cost. For a similar cost of an internal CTO’s salary and benefits, an institution can implement an entire team of virtual technology resources. From the daily management of IT functions to strategic upgrades and expansion, this fractional tech support can be customized to meet the needs of companies of all sizes and at all stages of maturity.

Hybrid worker models have made companies more comfortable with remote leadership positions, and in turn, that has opened access to employees who were once outside of their geographic hiring area.

Fractional employees are typically very experienced and usually fit within a couple buckets: they are looking for new opportunities and flexibility that have opened in an increasingly remote world or, after a successful career, they may be looking to scale back full-time responsibilities. In either case, they are committed to dedicating just the right amount of their expertise for a company’s needs.

Hiring fractional employees isn’t just about outsourcing; it is bringing in the right fit, the right expertise, for the right amount of time.

In many cases, fractional employees are simply the best solution. For the price point, you receive right-sized services from a very experienced professional – a much greater alternative if that budget normally would require you to hire someone full-time with less relevant experience or piecemeal together a solution that comes with risks or gaps. It also eliminates ever-growing employee recruitment and benefit costs, particularly with what may be a C-suite level role, and it positions you within a network that will seamlessly allow you to grow if it comes to the point where you need your own full-time employee in this role.

Fractional employees provide a full bevy of expertise and leadership at a fraction of the cost and are the perfect solution for businesses looking to scale. While LBMC has seen their uptake increase significantly due to market conditions accelerated by the pandemic, their implementation in smartly run businesses was on the rise regardless because the solutions they provide are so valuable and sensible.

Suzanne Reed is the chief marketing officer at LBMC. She is a marketing strategist leader with a proven track record of enhancing brand equity, revenue, and market share. She can be reached at suzanne.reed@lbmc.com.

Originally posted in the Nashville Business Journal.