Fractional or Interim Executive vs Employee or Temp

Jan 5, 2020

Are you thinking about hiring a new executive for your company? A business that may be at an inflection point, considering a merger/acquisition, conducting a critical project, or developing a new product, should consider working with a fractional executive or interim executive instead of using the services of a consultant or hiring a full-time employee. A lot of it depends on perspectives.

A fractional or interim executive might be a perfect choice. Fractional executives easily swing from conceptional to strategic. They work quickly and effortlessly as talented entrepreneurs. If you are new to using fractional executive services, then please continue reading this article to discover the differences between a fractional or interim executive versus a consultant, temp, or full-time employee.


What is the Difference Between a Fractional or Interim Executive and a Consultant, Full-time Employee, or Temp?

An interim or fractional executive is different from a consultant, full-time employee, or temp. They work part-time as a high-level professional (unlike a temp or consultant) by offering not only advice but also implementation in C-level positions. Unlike a temp, a fractional or interim executive can often work with a company for years. However, they do not hold a full-time job like an employee but only serve part-time and payment by retainer.

What Makes these Leaders Unique? 

The term ‘fractional’ is relatively new in the business world. As you probably know, an interim executive is simply a temporary executive that is brought in for a short time to help a business transition, change, or overcome a crisis. A fractional executive is the same but works part-time. They can write a comprehensive business strategy and possess the skills to carry out the project. Their keen focus is on project management. Perhaps they are filling a vacant role, or the business has created and tailored the specific job slot for the fractional executive to meet the short-term goals of the company. Fractional executives are leaders who can become a part of the unit to fulfill the purposes set forth.

  • Interim executive: An interim executive usually works from a month up to multiple years with a company. They most often fill a vacant senior executive role.
  • Fractional executive: The fractional executive takes on a senior executive role to work part-time often at multiple companies. Because of their experience, they can make a huge impact promptly. A fractional leader can also be a long-term engagement but only works a part-time schedule.

What are the Characteristics of these Executives? 

A former C level executive or consulting partner/principal with years of experience under their belt can quickly leverage their skills by working as a fractional executive. They bring their talent and knowledge to startup and mid-market companies. A fractional leader does not face long hours at a desk. Instead, they set their schedule, which is desired by these senior leaders. They get to enjoy the flexibility, and greater free time because they are essentially entrepreneurs running their own business. However, they are still working and using their skillsets to help companies or complete projects. It becomes a win/win situation for everyone involved.

Benefits of Hiring a Fractional Executive 

You might want to opt to hire a fractional executive for a variety of reasons. You want what is best for your company so you should think about the following:

  • Budget: Does a full-time executive fit into your budget? If not, then consider the part-time services of a fractional. You’ll also save on recruiting costs.
  • Harnessing Talent: Top executives charge a high yearly salary. Although a small business yearns for top talent, they might not be able to afford it full time. However, they can bring in a leading executive on a fractional basis for an affordable price. The business will reap the benefits of top-rung talent.
  • Commitment: With a fractional, you are merely renting their services instead of hiring long term. This arrangement is great if you do not have an extended budget or plan but need assistance for a limited time.
  • Introduces Diverse Skillsets: Smaller businesses, non-profits, and startups might have very limited skillsets available, so bringing in fractional leaders becomes an asset and great way to diversify. Having an expert for a limited time can help turn things around.
  • Company Growth: When a company is going through growing pains, it’s employees might be struggling too. Organized growth is imperative to balance the upheaval and make the transition smooth. Fractional executives step in and seamlessly take the reins because they have likely been in the situation before. This trait allows them to make immediate impacts on the company.
  • Carry the Load: A startup is rife with growth. Management is often overwhelmed, and focus can quickly be lost. A fractional executive helps carry the load to free up management’s time. They offer leadership and experience so the company can remain on target with their long-term goals.

The War for Talent in the Business World

For the last thirty years, it seems like there has been a genuine war for talent in the business world that is only growing. Many companies cannot shoulder the cost of hiring a full-time, experienced executive. Those fresh out of college or temp workers work for less but lack the skills that years of hard work provide. Hiring a fractional executive is a way to bring real talent into your business without breaking the bank.

If you are seeking a fractional executive, then please contact OVESTO (which is derived from Optimizing Targeted Investment Outcomes). You’ll find interim C level and fractional executives to work at your company part-time or to spearhead specific projects.

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John R. Miles is the founder and CEO of OVESTO, the leading provider of on-demand executive staffing. Ovesto provides transformational leaders for fractional, interim or project assignments. Miles is widely viewed as an expert on digital disruption and business transformation. He is a highly sought after speaker, consultant, and writer. Miles has significant business experience a Fortune 50 CIO, Fortune 100 CISO, and seasoned private equity leader in COO and CEO roles across several diverse industries.


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