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WNC Business

Solutions for the New Talent Crisis

Jan 26, 2023 09:28AM ● By Drew Pollick

The new year means considering different ways of thinking about how to attract, engage, and retain talent for your business or organization. With unemployment rates hovering between 3.5 to 4.0 percent throughout North Carolina and the U.S., competition for applicants is hyper-competitive. 

Research is increasingly showing that the challenge of finding appropriate talent is here to stay and that pay increases are only part of the solution. Professionals are challenged with demands for more flexibility in their work schedules among other needs. Fractional service providers in human resources, finance, information technology, marketing, sales, are solutions to help meet this challenge. 

The McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, released research in mid-2022 indicating that this new talent landscape is truly different. The conventional, traditional five-day, 40-hour work week actually works for only about 60 percent of those in the workforce.

Employees are seeking new ways of working. Some things they may look for include:

  • New experiences in different industries – Employees realize their skills and experience are portable.
  • Flexible work schedules – Employees want greater flexibility in choosing when and where to work. Family and life demands are at the forefront. They also want autonomy to make these decisions when they need them to flex to the demands of life outside of work.  For example, flexible starts and ends to the workday or four 10-hour day schedules are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Contracting and the Gig Economy – Many have found that they can go work for themselves or piece together part-time gigs to meet their needs and goals. (Research suggests these may be easiest candidates to attract back to the workforce for the right pay, benefits, and company culture.)
  • Part-time work – A talent pool that has grown during the pandemic seeking part-time work comes from retirees, college students, and working family caregivers. 

In response, the key strategy is to modify operations and the organizational structure to meet the available talent pool. Organizations can reevaluate job design, organization structure, program investments that enhance culture, and operations processes to meet these new demands. Employers have also modified work schedules, reduced hours of operations, invested in technology, and streamlined services to manage through this wave of reduced conventional workforce availability.

Key questions employers should be asking themselves, human resources leaders, and operations leaders:

  • Where are our operations most and least profitable? 
  • Where can we modify operations to achieve the flexibility needed to meet this new workforce?
  • What changes are needed to our organizational structure and the roles and responsibilities of our employees to achieve changes?
  • Which jobs or roles are core to my operations, and which best support operations?
  • Where could contracted fractional resources be of benefit to my organization?
  • Which roles and how can these roles be split into two part-time roles or duties distributed to a fractional provider?
  • Where can technology investments help me streamline operations and capture new efficiencies?

As employers work through these organizational changes and considerations, many are unaware of the advantages and benefits that fractional solutions provide. New service and organizational models have emerged that allow employers to outsource positions or whole departments for your organization. These providers can become integral to your operations and feel like a part of the team. 

Fractional solutions offer a range of benefits that are superior to a full-time hire on the same budget and deliver at or above the desired impact. When considering hiring a full-time employee, oftentimes the employer does not have the budget to hire for the level of experience they need. Fractional solutions solve this challenge and for every organization; generating impact is their number one priority.

The benefits of fractional solution providers in HR, finance, IT, marketing, and others include:

  • Greater depth of experience across industries
  • Higher skill levels
  • Process efficiency with transactional tasks
  • Experience delivering value in less time
  • Flex capacity that can scale with demand

For example, many small to mid-sized business employers have the need for HR, but their budgets are 50 to 75 percent below the experience level they need for the position. As a result, the new HR hire may spend less time on value-adding tasks because of the lack of experience. Fractional HR solutions are superior for small to medium sized businesses in many cases because instead of hiring an HR professional directly who has three to eight years of experience, employers are able to hire a team with over 60 to 80 years of collective experience. In addition, fractional service providers present contemporary solutions with technology, process, program designs, and legal compliance experience. Fractional service providers see the competitive landscape firsthand and can offer high value and speed to solutions to deliver impact including exposure to multiple organizations. 

Although not all providers are created equal, there are enough providers in the market to find a custom fit for the goals, budget, and culture of a business. Employers should be exploring these providers in areas including HR, finance, IT, and marketing to supplement their teams and turn a crisis into a moment of opportunity.

Drew Pollick is the Managing Partner and Founder of Craft HR Solutions – an HR firm that provides fractional HR and project consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. Headquartered in Asheville, they serve clients around WNC and across the US.