Fractional HR: What it is and How it Benefits Your Growing Business

From the moment you make your first hire, you encounter the many rules and requirements of human resources management.

By David Bradshaw, Chief Executive Officer
24th April, 2024
David is a highly experienced consultant specializing in business strategy, lean operations/automation, and human resources. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Cambridge, UK, and an MBA from Quantic School of Business and Technology.

As your business grows, you reach a point where you need someone to manage the increasing number and complexity of HR tasks—someone to take that weight off your shoulders.

When you think that your business would benefit from skilled HR support, but you’re not ready to hire full-time HR staff, Fractional HR is an excellent solution for bringing human resources expertise into your business where and when you need it.

What is Fractional HR?

Unlike traditional HR outsourcing, where a provider performs an HR service such as payroll or employee benefits for hundreds or even thousands of customers, fractional HR delivers customized HR support to meet your organization's specific needs.

At the core of fractional HR services is a custom-built team assigned to manage your HR processes, projects, and programs. These individuals possess knowledge and skills spanning across the entire HR spectrum and can perform whatever mix of services you desire, including:

  • HR compliance
  • HR administrative support
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Employee relations
  • Strategic HR planning
  • Recruitment

When you choose fractional human resources support, you don’t rely on a call center rep to log your requests and give you canned answers to your questions. Instead, you have a dedicated team of HR professionals assigned to your organization. These individuals are your HR partners; they develop an understanding of your business, build relationships with you and your employees, and remain your consistent point of contact for all the HR duties they perform.

What are the Benefits of Fractional HR Services?

The fractional HR model offers the optimal mix of strategic business partnership and tactical HR admin support, a profile often difficult to find in one, or even two, full-time HR employees. Additionally, since you decide the level of support you need, fractional HR services are often significantly more cost-effective and flexible than hiring permanent staff.

Here are the other benefits you can expect from a trusted fractional HR services provider:

Flexibility when and where you need it

Fractional HR services are fully customizable according to your company’s business objectives and requirements. Whether you need a fractional HR consultant to help you solve an employee relations challenge, a team of HR administrators to operate your compensation and benefits function, or other HR support, you can select the mix of services that work for your business. Fractional HR services can also scale to match your business cycle and growth, ensuring you don’t pay for HR support you don’t need.

Fully-integrated HR support

In the day-to-day of hiring, managing, and offboarding employees, it’s critical to have an HR person who understands your business objectives, leadership structure, and culture. You'll achieve just that as the relationship with your fractional HR team progresses. Fractional HR professionals bring the expertise and capabilities of an in-house HR function, but without the overhead costs associated with full-time employees. Additionally, unlike outsourced HR, a fractional HR team can perform any HR task you need instead of being bound by an inflexible scope of services.

Technology and resources to help mitigate risk

Full-service HR support requires more than people; it also requires an HR infrastructure—the technology, subscriptions, and tools HR professionals need to limit compliance risk and do their jobs effectively. With Northstar’s Fractional HR Service, you don’t invest in costly HR infrastructure. These systems and resources are built into the services your HR team performs for your business. Examples include:

  • An enterprise-grade IT infrastructure to enable correct handling of sensitive information
  • Legislative alerts that help you maintain compliance with ever-changing Department of Labor and state employment laws
  • Access to professional pre-vetted resources such as training materials and document templates

How Do I Know if Fractional HR Support is Right for Me?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a business typically identifies the need for an HR person somewhere between the first and tenth hire. However, every business is different, and there is no set formula for determining the right time to create an HR function. Moreover, many companies at that size either can’t afford or aren’t ready to commit to such an investment – it rarely makes financial sense until the business has between 75-100 employees.

Thankfully, the fractional HR model offers an affordable, practical alternative which meets the need of organizations with 1-100 employees perfectly. It’s an ideal solution for start-ups, high-growth organizations continuing to scale, and any small to medium-sized business without an in-house HR function.

Here are some indicators your business may be ready for fractional HR support:

  • You have limited bandwidth: Company leaders and other employees spend too much time on HR and people-related administrative duties, leaving less time for strategic leadership.
  • Your company is growing: As your workforce expands in size and complexity, you need help managing HR tasks.
  • You need conflict resolution support: You’re concerned about friction between company leaders and employees, between teams, and/or within teams.
  • You need to backfill your previous HR resource: The person managing HR responsibilities left the company or is on an extended leave, and you need someone to keep HR processes moving.
  • An urgent HR problem needs attention: You need urgent help navigating a challenging HR issue, such as a discrimination claim.
  • You want to be proactive: You want to implement a new compensation, benefits, or other plan to accommodate anticipated business growth.

How Do I Get Started with Fractional HR Services?

Whether you’ve been considering fractional HR support or you’re brand new to the concept, you might be surprised how easily and quickly you can have your HR team in place and delivering results.

NorthstarPMO’s Fractional HR service for small and medium-sized businesses offers full-service HR support for your workforce, across all stages of the employee lifecycle. Our affordable, flexible services scale with your business, offering the level of HR expertise and availability you need.

When you engage NorthstarPMO, you’re never locked into a long-term contract, and you won’t encounter prohibitive startup costs. You also receive:

  • A team of dedicated and qualified HR professionals committed to helping you meet your strategic HR and business objectives
  • HR systems and resources that enable your fractional HR team to support you best
  • An efficient discovery and implementation process that prioritizes your unique needs and gets your HR services up and running quickly
  • The peace of mind your HR function is being managed effectively, and is flexible enough to accommodate whatever comes your way for years to come.

With a skilled fractional HR team that acts as your in-house HR partner, you can expect more efficient HR processes, consistent labor law compliance, a better employee experience for your entire workforce, and less work on your plate.

Want to learn more about how fractional HR services can work for your business? Click the button below to book a free discovery call.