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As the cost of housing in Bend has skyrocketed in recent years, the people able to justify relocating have been trending towards those that have made enough money to make the move happen. In other words, we are over-indexing on senior level, highly experienced, highly compensated individuals.
As a community of small businesses, it’s a challenge to justify a full-time senior leader who is used to a certain compensation level. Enter the fractional executive.
Most of us are familiar with a fractional financial service provider. Companies like ProCFO or NowCFO have been around for decades to supplement (or replace) a business’ internal accounting and finance workload. There is a growing demand locally for a similar arrangement for other operational roles. Engineering, sales, HR, project management and marketing, to name a few, are areas where a fractional leader can be the right solution for a small business.
As an example, let’s look at engineering leadership. There are large engineering companies in the Pacific Northwest that hire and produce thousands of engineering leaders (e.g. Intel, Boeing, Nike, Amazon, & Microsoft). As one progresses in their career, the compensation structure broaches hundreds of thousands of dollars, with tens to hundreds of thousands in bonuses added on top. Given that most local businesses can’t compete with those numbers, the only way to engage those leaders is to offer something that works for them — flexibility.
Bringing a leader in as a fractional executive is a win-win for the individual and the business. The individual gets the satisfaction of being able to build a company locally plus the freedom to explore all central Oregon has to offer. The company gets access to a level of talent and leadership that would otherwise be unattainable.
Next time your team identifies a talent gap, instead of going right to a permanent, full-time hire, consider bringing in an interim or fractional employee that can prove if full-time is actually needed. A good leader can keep the wheels on the bus and the alignment straight in a part-time role. With good SOPs in place, a business can then keep things humming along smoothly without a full-time, permanent leader.
As Bend continues to attract high earners, workforce challenges will continue. The fractional leader is one solution that is easily deployable and more cost-effective than shelling out for a permanent hire.
Quinn Hanson, Division Manager, G.A. Rogers & Associates. Executive Recruiting.