Benefits and Compensation

The Truly Unique Individual … How Do You Pay Them?

In yesterday’s Advisor, we heard advice from Barry L. Brown, SPHR, CCP, on navigating three tricky compensation situations; today, Brown’s take on how to pay the truly unique individuals at your company.

Brown, who is a principal at Effective Resources, Inc., provided his insights during a recent webinar presented by BLR® and HR Hero®.

An Unprecedented Blend of Talent!

There are the (very rare) times, says Brown, where an employer is lucky enough to find a truly unique individual with multiple skills and competencies that the business can use. But what is meant by “truly unique”?

Brown suggests, perhaps someone’s walked through the door who is a trained paramedic, has a degree in computer science, and 3 years’ experience in HR. Wow! What can we do with this person besides just stick him or her in a job? Is there a way that all of his or her diverse skills and competencies can be put to work in an unprecedented way?

Due to the blend of talents, it’s probably unlikely that you will have a job description or pay range that fits, says Brown. Therefore, you need to build a unique job, write a description … and build a blended rate.


Need to revisit your outdated comp policies? Start on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, with a new interactive webinar, The DIY Compensation Makeover: How to Primp, Plump & Prioritize Your Compensation-Based Initiatives. Learn More


Paying the Truly Unique Individual

In this one-of-a-kind situation, says Brown, there are four steps:

  1. Identify what specific roles the individual will be performing.
  2. Find market data and develop a blended rate.
  3. Develop a pay range and/or slot the job close to the blended rate.
  4. Communicate to managers (and, as needed, employees) the fact that this job is unique.

The last point is important, emphasizes Brown—you must have some rules to set this job apart.

Practical Rules for Unique Positions

Here are Brown’s six practical rules that must be followed in order to successfully create a position for a unique individual.

  1. Communicate that this position will not be subject to job posting.
  2. Also make it clear that if the individual should move on, the position will not automatically be filled.
  3. Update the blended rate as you would other hybrid positions.
  4. If the roles should change so that the position is no longer unique, handle the job as any other and pay accordingly.
  5. Don’t let managers try to convince you they have “unique” positions just because a person has an unusual set of skills. If the company does not have a need for these skills (for example, we don’t care if they have a PhD. in basket weaving, says Brown), don’t change the pay.
  6. Consider doing a skills inventory among employees and include personal skills that may be useful in the future. Log it into your HRIS for reference, and you’ll have a place to look if an unexpected skill suddenly becomes necessary.

You may not have to deal with unusual pay and truly unique individuals every day, but let’s face it: even once-stellar compensation programs may be overdue for a serious makeover. How to get there? Fortunately, there’s timely help in the form of BLR’s new webinar—The DIY Compensation Makeover: How to Primp, Plump & Prioritize Your Compensation-Based Initiatives. In just 90 minutes on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, you’ll learn everything you need to know about updating your compensation administration in order to reduce turnover, increase morale, and stay competitive.

Register today for this interactive webinar.


Get your pay ranges on target! Join us March 10, 2015, for a new interactive webinar, The DIY Compensation Makeover: How to Primp, Plump & Prioritize Your Compensation-Based Initiatives. Earn 1.5 hours in HRCI Recertification Credit. Register Now


By participating in this interactive webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • Market-price positions and “age” survey data
  • Update your pay structure using market data
  • Handle wage compression using a simple approach
  • Develop a merit budget that will impress your CFO
  • Build a merit matrix that recognizes performance and relationship to market
  • Respond appropriately to geographic salary differentials
  • And much more!

Register now for this event risk-free.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Central)
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Mountain)
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Pacific)

Approved for Recertification Credit

This program has been approved for 1.5 credit hours toward recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).

Join us on March 10, 2015—you’ll get the in-depth The DIY Compensation Makeover: How to Primp, Plump & Prioritize Your Compensation-Based Initiatives webinar AND you’ll get all of your particular questions answered by our experts.

Find out more

Train Your Entire Staff

As with all BLR/HRhero webinars:

  • Train all the staff you can fit around a conference phone.
  • Get your (and their) specific phoned-in or emailed questions answered in Q&A sessions that follow the presentation.

Find out more