There are a number of interesting online articles discussing the evolution of the hybrid role within the technology practice. I have investigated hybrid roles within the digital practice where it makes business sense for the following reasons:
- Natural synergy – often there is a natural synergy between roles with an almost symbiotic relationship
- Development – it is ideal for training and development when a team member wants to learn new skills
- Leadership development – it is an opportunity to combine teams to assist with developing leadership talent
- Volume of work – if there isn’t enough work for one role and combining two roles addresses this issue
- Financially, it can help address head count challenges
I consider my role in digital to be a hybrid role, as I am a generalist within the digital field with broad knowledge and experience across a number of different digital disciplines. But in a broader business context I am a digital specialist with senior management/leadership skills and experience.
Here are 3 hybrid digital roles for consideration:
User Interface designer
A combination of user experience (UX) and visual/graphic designer roles. This hybrid role isn’t new and has been around for a few years and this role makes sense if you determine the level of experience required for each part of the role. In my experience this role has grown more from the visual designer’s desire to increase their skill set. The challenge with this role is finding the right balance between the skills suitable for business requirements with visual designers lacking the deep understanding of user testing methodologies often needed for complex process mapping.
Content and Social
This hybrid role with a Content Manager as someone who can develop a content strategy and also write and curate content combines well with a Social Manager, who is responsible for developing a social media strategy, maintaining social media profiles and curating content to create conversations. The two roles are very symbiotic because social media requires content to create conversations and content requires a channel for readership.
I have always loved this hybrid role with the combined skills of digital production, project management, content, user experience, social media, search, marketing, financial management etc. The Digital Manager is a role I refer to as the Swiss army pocketknife for digital and requires the person to be a generalist, and have the ability to step into tasks/projects and fulfill different roles as needed. This is actually my background and how I’ve developed my career. This role requires investment by both the business and the individual. The business to provide the exposure to different opportunities to develop the generalist knowledge and the individuals desire to learn all things digital. This role will not work with someone who thinks a task is not part of their role.
Finally, when developing hybrid roles it is important to have good communication with your team to manage expectations as the benefits associated with hybrid roles may take some time to be realised.