Part-time C-level: the new startup obsession?

Part-time C-level: the new startup obsession?

On LinkedIn, usage of the term "Part-time CMO'' is increasing. In fact, these missionaries of a new kind seem to take on the equivalent of several management positions across multiple companies, on a part-time basis and for varying lengths of time; from a few months to a few years. "This model has existed in the US for many years. It is now developing in Europe and in France," says Marine Jouët, General Manager of iytro. Created in 2018, this business specializes in the niche of part-time marketing experts.

For the vast majority of startups, recruiting talent is complicated - even more so when it comes to management positions. “Startups have a lot of trouble recruiting C-levels at the beginning: either they don't really know the profile they need - and therefore there is the risk of a misstep in recruitment, which can be expensive - or they don't have the means to afford the right person," adds Marine Jouët. Not to mention that the current context favors hiring freezes. This is why the part-time model makes sense. This observation is shared by Philippe Bonnet, partner at In Da House. "In the job market, new generations have their own aspirations: to have more freedom, to discover several companies, to feel challenged... For companies, it is difficult to attract and retain experts," he comments.

Upgrading the skills of internal employees

"This (the Part-Time CMO) model makes it possible to bring in experts who can build a real strategy, set up an infrastructure, advise on tools, implement procedures, etc. At the end of the mission, the company can choose to hire a profile that will only have to execute the strategy," explains Philippe Bonnet. "The expert will also allow the whole internal team to improve their skills. In some companies, there are teams that have been in place for a long time, but have yet to convert to digital marketing levers. So an external person can act as a driving force".

(NOTE: we at iytro don’t agree with Mr. Bonnet’s assessment of what a startup Part-Time CMO should do - because they can’t afford to work with teams that don’t help them execute, but each to their own)

Gaining flexibility

Another advantage: gaining flexibility. "A startup doesn't have the same needs at the seed stage as it does at Series C. Part-Time work allows them to surround themselves with someone with the right level of experience for each stage of development," says Marine Jouët.

Having a part-time director requires availability on the part of the founders. "The external person spends very little time in the company, sometimes only one day a week. So the entrepreneur has to be involved to make it work! The founder will have to devote time to give them all the relevant information so that they can be effective," she continues. Then comes the time for internal recruitment. "A part-time person is not destined to stay(forever): handover will also require the involvement of the founder.”

This article is translated from a Maddyness article originally in French.

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