Should You Leverage a Full-Time Employee or Hire a Fractional Consultant?

Your team has been asked by the senior executive team to deliver a solution to a critical business problem.. Should you assign your top full-time employee (FTE) to the task, or hire a fractional consultant?

It can be difficult to decide between leveraging the cost and bandwidth of a full-time employee versus bringing on a fractional consultant for your project or initiative. To make the best decision for your organization, you must first understand what fractional consulting is and how it works.

A fractional consultant is an experienced professional with specialized skills brought on to work in a specific area of need. This may be for a limited duration or a longer term, part-time placement.

Because they have specialized skills and limited scope, consultants, need not dedicate their full capacity to the work. In fact, if they did provide a full 40 hours of services, the team may not have the bandwidth to provide a sufficient level of guidance and feedback. So, they work part-time to meet the pace of the organization and dedicate a portion of their full-time capacity to the work.

The consultant works closely with your team, playing a pivotal role in driving productivity and expediting project delivery. While they collaborate directly with your team, a significant portion of their time is dedicated to ensuring they operate at an efficient pace, resulting in faster output and increased overall productivity.

Consultants work in close partnership with you, operating behind the scenes to execute critical tasks while you take charge of stakeholder interactions and meetings. This approach helps maintain a swift momentum toward achieving the desired project outcomes. 

It’s worth noting that the consultants do not simply provide support; rather, they assume leadership or co-leadership roles within the team, actively guiding and driving the project forward.

The unique skill set of a fractional consultant includes strategic problem-solving and organizational alignment. These professionals have sharpened their abilities through years of dedicated practice and experience, allowing them to bring unparalleled strength and tactical insight to the project. 

When to Hire a Fractional Consultant

Here are some scenarios where you should consider hiring a fractional consultant: 

Skill Gap

If there is a specific skill missing on your team, such as a monetization or pricing specialist, hiring a fractional consultant for the point solution can be beneficial. 

Capacity Gap

When your workload exceeds the capacity of your team, bringing in a fractional consultant to supplement existing skilled resources can be a great solution.

Cross-Functional Objectivity

If you need an objective outsider to bring different teams or departments together, consider hiring a fractional consultant who can facilitate communication and decision-making among senior stakeholders.

Benefits of Fractional Consultants 

This is what it really comes down to—what are the benefits of hiring a fractional consultant? 

Accelerated Outcomes

Fractional consultants are just experts of industry, they are highly skilled at strategic problem-solving and organizational alignment. They can create an informed path to success quickly and efficiently, as their expertise allows them increase the pace of the entire team.

Cost Efficiency 

Fractional consulting offers the advantage of being a variable cost, distinct from the budget allocation for full-time positions. In terms of cost, our services often align closely with that of a full-time Director-level employee. However, the advantage lies in the flexibility and lack of long-term commitment that fractional consultants offer. Further, the approval process for vendor budgets tends to be less stringent compared to that of full-time hires, making it a convenient choice for organizations seeking efficient and adaptable solutions.

Flexibility and Scalability

The beauty of hiring a fractional consultant is that you can scale up or down depending on the specific needs of your project or initiative. Additionally, they offer flexibility in timing and deliverables. 

Depth of Knowledge

Leverage deep expertise and impactful insights from a fractional consultant. Theybring years of experience, best practices, industry research, and benchmarks that can greatly improve your project outcomes.

Common use cases for fractional consulting include:

  • Monetization and pricing strategists for product teams
  • Due diligence specialists for private equity firms
  • Strategic planning horsepower for business unit leaders
  • Data and analytics strategists for marketing departments
  • Operational processes, design, and governance
  • Change management experts for sales and field teams
  • Interim executives or parental leave coverage

When to Choose a Full-Time Employee

There are times when it is more appropriate to hire an FTE than a fractional consultant. Typically, these roles are necessary to the ongoing function of the organization. 

This can also apply when you need to have demonstrated leadership and political control over the effort—a consultant is a great partner but not a replacement for an internal leader. 

Additionally, if you have a fixed budget approval process and require continuity in the role, you should consider hiring an FTE.

Benefits of Selecting a Full-Time Employee for Your Project

Choosing one of your best employees to take point on a project offers certain advantages as well, including:

  • Developing an existing employee’s skills and knowledge 
  • Organizational continuity and alignment
  • Support for long-term initiatives as opposed to short-term projects
  • Established cultural knowledge and local contacts 
  • Familiarity with organizational processes

When considering your options between hiring an FTE or fractional consultant, it’s important to weigh your specific needs and goals. A fractional consultant can provide strategic expertise, accelerated outcomes, and cost-effectiveness while a full-time employee can provide the leadership and continuity needed for ongoing work.

No matter what you decide, it’s important to make sure you have the right person for the job. The right consultant or full-time hire will bring your organization closer to its desired objectives and goals. 

Need a talented fractional consultant to expand your team’s capacity or fill a skill gap? Keenan Reid is here to help. We have assembled a team of highly qualified consultants with expertise in a variety of fields, ready to take on any challenge. Contact us today and let us help you create the solutions you need for your organization. 


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