Comparing Apples & Oranges in Compensation
One of the biggest market pricing challenges we face in compensation is what to do with those pesky hybrid jobs. What are hybrid jobs? As defined on page 35 of The Ultimate Market Pricing Glossary,
Organizations are forced to restructure, de-layer, take out costs, etc., and as a result, end up combining jobs that used to be done by two or more people and dump the work onto just one person. The resulting job is a hybrid of two or more traditional jobs that each may have been benchmark jobs.
A hybrid job is a challenge to market price because of its potpourri of job duties and how it compares (or doesn’t) to the classic benchmark jobs from our salary survey library.
The first hurdle to overcome may seem pretty basic, but we first have to let go of the notion that you are going to find a salary survey that will have that unusual job you created during your last reorganization efforts. Salary surveys are going to have benchmark jobs that other companies in your market are likely to have. Not these one-offs.
So what’s a comp pro to do? Well, there are a few techniques that you could consider and the trick will be to figure out what is most appropriate fit with your compensation philosophy and the objectives of your market pricing efforts. A compensation philosophy that recognizes a balanced approach to ensuring internal equity along with external competitiveness can lead to a different result when compared to a firm whose philosophy is heavily weighted toward external competiveness.
For example, in the organization with a balanced belief in internal and external, you could just rely on your overall evaluation system and focus on ensuring your overall pay structure is market competitive. Regardless of whether you use a rigorous point-factor internal evaluation methodology, or a more simplified method such as slotting or paired-comparisons, you should have enough other jobs in the pay structure where reliable market data does exist and you’ve used that data to build the overall pay structure that is market competitive.
“But we rely exclusively on market data in our organization.”
Ok, we’ll give you three suggested approaches for how you can get creative.
- Match to next likely job in the career path and discount the data
- Blend the data from the jobs you combined to form the hybrid
- Slot to the most common source of internal candidates and consider a premium
In all cases, the fundamental issue to address is what is the relevant labor market for this hybrid job. There may not be another job just like yours anywhere out in the market, but at the end of the day, if you had to go fill it tomorrow, you would look somewhere in the labor market to find candidates who had the necessary skills to fill the role. Another way to think about the labor market question is to address the question, so where would someone that is currently in your hybrid job go if they were to move on?
Click the image below to see examples to each of those suggested approaches.
Keep in mind that what you’re solving for is related to the supply & demand for talent. Your hybrid job might very well be unique out in the market, but at the end of the day, if you had to go fill it tomorrow, your staffing folks would look somewhere in the labor market to find candidates who had the necessary skills to fill the role.
On a job description basis, it might seem like you really are comparing apples to oranges, but if you’re objective is to strike a balance between making sure that your organization can attract and retain talent with spending the payroll dollars most effectively, then it might be time to enjoy some fruit salad.