We are all walking on new terrain when it comes to contemporary job titles. Titles like “Chief Happiness Officer” and “AI Proctor” are not mere buzzwords; they represent the new currency in the workforce.
THE RISE OF ENIGMATIC TITLES
Conventional titles like “Manager” or “Director” have given way to more enigmatic and futuristic designations. “Experience Architect,” and “Innovation Evangelist” signal a shift towards prioritizing human-centric and innovative approaches to business. But are these titles merely a flashy facade, or do they authentically reflect a transformation in workplace dynamics?
In the digital age, online presence is as crucial as physical presence. The LinkedIn platform has become the battleground where professionals vie for attention, and a job title serves as a powerful battle cry. Crafting an engaging LinkedIn profile involves more than simply copying official titles. It’s about infusing flair; it’s about transforming “HR Manager” into “People Whisperer” or “Culture Alchemist” to stand out in the sea of professional conformity. You see it in an individual’s headline. While “Unicorn Wrangler” may sound appealing, striking a balance between creativity and professionalism is crucial. Unique titles should set individuals apart while still conveying the essence of actual responsibilities. After all, those in the business of acquiring talent might not be quite as fluent in the language of “Innovation Rockstar.”
CULTURAL & TECHNOLOGICAL SHIFTS SPARKED THE TITLE EVOLUTION
Titles in the contemporary workforce are undergoing a revolution comparable to the tech industry’s transition from Waterfall to Agile methodologies. Traditional roles like “Project Manager” are making way for dynamic positions such as “Scrum Master” or “Agile Coach.” This shift signifies a broader move towards adaptability, collaboration, and a rejection of traditional hierarchical norms. It’s not just about what one does; it’s about how one does it.
As technology permeates every aspect of professional life, new titles emerge to mirror the digital reality. “AI Proctor” is born out of the remote work and online education surge, emphasizing the role of artificial intelligence in exam oversight. Future titles will likely be a fusion of human creativity and technological prowess, introducing roles unimaginable in the present. Certainly platforms like ChatGBT will play a part in the creation of these new titles. In fact, the latest C-suite role getting attention is CAIO – Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer.
For those desiring a title that better resonates with their role, effective communication is key. Approaching employers with a persuasive pitch that aligns the change with evolving responsibilities and the company’s vision is crucial. The most successful professionals aren’t just adapting to titles; they’re actively defining and shaping them.
NAVIGATING THE SLLY AND THE FLUFF
While some titles reflect the spirit of the times, others inject a contemporary twist into familiar roles. Titles like Chief Blogger or Search Engine Optimization Specialist exemplify this trend. However, a word of caution is issued against overly clever titles that might hinder discoverability in job searches. Striking a balance between creativity and practicality is essential in this landscape.
The debate on the relevance of job titles continues to echo through professional circles. Advocates argue that titles are crucial, defining an individual’s position within a company and serving as a signal to networks and potential employers. On the opposing front, skeptics contend that too much emphasis on job titles is restrictive and incongruent with agile work environments post-COVID-19.
A poll of HR professionals reveals that 47% believe job titles are still “very important,” while 26% consider them no longer relevant. Arguments for maintaining job titles center around the sense of identity they provide. Conversely, critics argue that titles vary too much across industries and may not accurately reflect the actual responsibilities within a role.
Proponents of job titles argue that they serve practical purposes. Titles provide a benchmark for role comparison against industry standards, aiding in salary negotiations. They also offer a quick way to demonstrate career progression to prospective employers. Moreover, titles contribute to a sense of pride, accomplishment, and clarity within teams.
Advocates for discarding job titles emphasize the need for a human-centric design to work, moving away from traditional hierarchies. They argue that titles can be restrictive, hindering diversity of thought and innovation. Overemphasis on titles may reinforce hierarchical barriers, impeding open conversations and collaboration.
AT THE CORE OF THE DEBATE
Regardless of the stance on job titles, both sides agree that the heart of the discussion is culture.
A workplace culture that encourages collaboration, innovation, and values contributions irrespective of titles fosters a thriving workforce. Eliminating job titles shouldn’t be a mere attempt to deflate egos; it should align with creating an environment where everyone’s voice matters.
The value of job titles extends beyond mere nomenclature. They shape professional identity, influence external perceptions, and play a pivotal role in career progression.
In our recruitment practices, here at Lloyd, we caution job candidates to be careful not to be too clever with their titles, simply because search agents may not find them when they do keyword searches. You may have worked for an employer with a corporate culture that encouraged creativity, so that a Collections Manager is renamed a Revenue Recovery Specialist, but not all recruiters will search new-age titles.
We have also found that some titles get changed to boost morale or as a replacement for pay increases, but in general, a new title is not the retention tool companies like to think it is. Over-titling is also a cost savings move that comes with a hefty price tag when people who are under-qualified for their title gain credentials or a job perception that isn’t the reality. Some companies have even done away with titles all-together, or apply one universal title, like Associate, for everyone. Lloyd leader and principal, Jason Banks, CSP notes, “Job titles matter to the individual and less to those involved in talent acquisition. The focus on hiring is more about a candidate’s skills, past culture, accomplishments and overall mindset and personal experience.”
YOUR TITLE IS WRONG – WHAT DO YOU DO?
If you happen to be someone who is dissatisfied with your current job title with respect to your duties and value to your employer, you should ask for a face-to-face meeting with your manager. The conversation might go something like this,
“I’ve been reflecting on my current job title, and I feel it doesn’t fully capture the responsibilities I’ve taken on recently. I’ve been handling [specific tasks or projects], and I believe my contributions have evolved beyond my current title of [current job title]. I’d like to propose changing my title to [have a new title ready]. I believe it better reflects my current role and aligns more closely with the work I’ve been doing and our company culture. I also think it would bring more clarity to my role, both internally and externally, and accurately represent the value I bring to the team. I’m being mindful of industry standards, and I believe this adjustment would align better with those.”
Depending on your employer’s size, you may want to bring this same suggestion to HR’s attention. In any case, be professional, non-argumentative and confident, having done your own research.
CAN YOU BE TOO CLEVER?
Maybe. Maybe not.
There is a recruiting tale of a resume that once showed the title, Vision Clearance Engineer.
While it was accurate in its’ description, not all who saw it understood it was for a someone who managed high rise window washing.
#jobtitles #whatdoyoudo? #company culture #titleevolution