In some sectors, fractional hiring is nothing new. It has always been the sensible way to ensure the right manpower in the right places at the right times, writes Jenna Bayuk, founder of Kinship Kollective.

But in tech, where there has been a tendency to rely upon a small core of niche workers, fractional roles have been less common. That is now changing. With the pressures of an unstable economy and a global talent shortage, technology businesses are seeking new ways to get work done. And fractional teams are providing the answer.

What is fractional hiring?

In its most basic form, fractional hiring is the use of extremely part-time talent to fill key roles within a business. But the emphasis here lies in expertise. The roles being filled are not merely ancillary or administrative. They rely upon the leveraging of highly skilled and experienced individuals – in much the same way that businesses commonly call in expert freelance or contract workers for limited-time jobs but these people are brought in to really drive growth in the business, be in the heart of the team, and to own their roles – building out teams and processes.

Why is fractional hiring growing in popularity?

The beauty of fractional hiring is that it delivers both scalability and flexibility. Because the business has taken on a number of part-time workers instead of a single full-time individual, managers have the power to respond to the changing needs of their business. If someone is off sick or on holiday, there is always cover, ensuring that work never comes to a grinding halt due to manpower issues. While there is the potential for businesses to take on multiple niche experts for the end-to-end management of product development, rather than expensively outsourcing the things they can’t do in-house.

From entrepreneurs’ perspective it is also lower risk because when choosing the right fractional leaders, they are not only subject matter experts, they are flexible in terms of scope and cost – this is especially attractive in terms of continuity in teams and lowering attrition should business issues arise and layoffs need to occur.

And when you hire fractionally with a provider with multiple skills, you have the power to redirect resources to where they are needed most. Whether that’s designing or engineering. Scaling up and down according to the needs of the business. Because the whole team will have been briefed, and the best talent for your needs at any given time will have been supplied. All without the obligations that come with full-time or contract workers.

Fresh perspectives to improve the business

At the same time as bringing flexibility, fractional hiring has been welcomed for its rejuvenating qualities. Bringing multiple talents and perspectives to a business, fractional hiring creates dynamism where it can otherwise be lacking. Which is why it has long been favoured for board-level positions. And because fractional hires are taken on for their specialist skills, it means that they can usually hit the ground running, achieving faster and better results, and saving businesses time and money.

And then there is the question of burnout. Burnout is notoriously high in tech. It’s believed that an average of two in every five tech workers will experience burnout. With estimates stating that burnout costs businesses between £700 million and upwards of £56 billion, it’s a real problem that can’t be ignored. Fractional working prevents this. Because although the same amount of work needs to be done, it is carried out by more people, spreading the burden and lightening the load, enabling more work to be completed more quickly with a lower degree of stress.

What’s in it for the workers?

Of course, a reduction of stress is beneficial for everyone. But on the surface, fractional hiring may not instantly be appealing to a worker. But when you delve deeper, it can provide all of the qualities that make the freelance lifestyle seem so appealing – flexibility, variety, interest, and worthwhile pay but the benefits of really being part of a business’ growth and a part of the team.

The increase in the popularity of fractional hiring in tech is primarily because it works. Providing a multi-faceted resource that can support businesses on many fronts, not just one specific project, it is an unabashedly scalable solution. It reduces time and produces results, adding immediate value to a company. While enhancing resiliency, motivation, and talent. Enabling businesses to reach their goals far more effectively than they would through traditional hiring models.

About the author

Jenna Bayuk, founder of Kinship Kollective. At the heart of the company is execution-focused fractional consulting which saves entrepreneurs both time and money by reducing their vision into execution-focused parts that let the people and the business move forward towards their objectives.