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Practical Guidelines for Pricing Hybrid Jobs

Topics: Comp Strategy

There isn’t a day that goes by in which I am not asked at least once or twice about how to price hybrid jobs.

Hybrid roles are common in the workforce today and they’re often created in high-turnover or downsizing situations. Often, workers will retire and employees who stay end up taking over tasks handled by their former colleagues. I’ve worked with hundreds of HR teams over the years — I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me they wear “multiple hats” because of turnover and the company’s decision not to backfill. These situations sometimes become permanent hybrid jobs, due to organizations’ need to fill the gaps from staff reduction.

Other times, hybrid roles are created because an organization has highly specific business needs which cannot be met by the typical roles in the market. My colleagues and I have seen examples where companies blend Program Manager with SEO Manager, Taxonomists with Administrative Assistants, and HR with Director of IT.

Advising clients on this topic can feel like opening up the Pandora’s box, because there are so many unique roles out there and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. As they say, you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole and you need to accept sometimes you may not find the best match. Averaging the market value of two roles isn’t always the right answer either. The right approach for you depends on the role in question, your business needs, your talent market and your organization’s pay philosophy. When I first started looking for the best response to this question, I noticed several distinct approaches.

Four Approaches for Pricing Hybrid Jobs

Regardless of the method you choose, your first step is to identify the end goal for combining two jobs into one. Let’s work with a simple example of HR Manager/Office Coordinator and explore a few methods.

  1. The Blending Method

This method would start by benchmarking each job separately then blending the market data to create a composite. If the position has clear delineation of duties performed, you can apply the appropriate weight before blending: HR Manager 40 percent, Office Coordinator 60 percent.

The blending method works best for companies who value a fair balance between market competitiveness and internal equity. However, if one or more of the jobs you are blending is not common in the market and the market data doesn’t instill confidence, this isn’t the best approach for you.

  1. Highest Level Role Method

Sometimes it helps to imagine that you are posting this job for external candidates. Are you looking for an Office Coordinator with HR Manager experience or the other way around? It is common for the higher-level position to drive the pay in the market for the talent you are seeking. If this applies to you, it makes sense to match this role to the higher level of responsibility when choosing a title. In this case, selecting the HR Manager title would be the best approach. This approach works well for organizations which want to pay competitively to the market.

  1. Internal Equity Method

Are there times when your hybrid role is so unique you just can’t nail down a match or blend of market data that instills confidence? If this is your situation, you may choose to align these roles to your internal structure. With a grade-based structure, slotting jobs based on internal equity can ease the burden of trying to find the best market match. If you use job-based ranges, you can slot your role to the best internal comparable role. Obviously, this method aligns well for those organizations which value internal equity. But this can also be a good resolution for organizations which struggle with nailing down market competitiveness.

  1. Premiums & Discounts

Now, this is an advanced technique. When you have a really good pulse on the market and you understand the values of certain skills, applying a premium can accommodate for any skills that maybe are not typical to the position the hybrid role was aligned to. Or, maybe the job that your hybrid position best aligns to needs an adjustment in the other direction based on internal leveling. For instance you might match a Manager level to a Director level and apply a 10 to 15 percent discount to bring that role in line. 

Any way we slice it, hybrid roles are always unique to each employer because they are the result of an organization’s business needs not being met by the typical jobs in the market. No matter what approach you take, having the right tools and an understanding of the different methods you can apply will get you to a more reliable range. Compensation management platforms like PayScale’s Insight Lab can make this process easier and can help you find the right balance or blend of data. To learn more, sign up to see a demo.

Banner photo by Ray Bui on Unsplash

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Camie Bailey
Implementation Manager at PayScale
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