Recently, HR job titles have begun to expand beyond traditional titles. Although this may be more common in startups, more established companies are also starting to experiment with different HR job titles as a way of acknowledging the expanded range of responsibilities now taken on by HR professionals.
Lexi Croswell at Culture Amp offers these examples of unique HR titles and some of the businesses that adopted them in 2016:
- People Operations Manager (Open DNS, Plexchat, Indiegogo)
- VP of People (Lyft, Blue Jeans Network)
- Chief Happiness Officer (Good Apple Digital, Buffer)
- Vibe Manager (Heavybit Industries, CollectiveGreen SF)
- Director of Employee Engagement (Group SJR, Bayer Medical Care)
These unique titles have arisen, Croswell writes, as HR "is putting one foot further into the spotlight in an attempt to shed its 'stuffy' image."
A shift toward more strategic and people-centric responsibilities
Professional titles are always subject to change with the times. In HR, the emergence of new titles reflects a trend toward a more people-centric focus within organizations. It also reflects the increasingly strategic role HR professionals play in their company's plans for growth. The 2017 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey echoes such a shift, as four out of five HR leaders at small and mid-sized businesses responded that their department is viewed as a strategic business partner.
In both startups and more established business settings, a Chief Human Resources Officer (along with other HR professionals) are charged with helping to align talent to achieve important business goals. By adopting best practices from larger organizations, HR can help maximize its impact on achieving the company's objectives.
Another key element in the job title trend is ever-changing technology and its applications within the field of HR. As the Paychex Pulse of HR Survey notes, factors such as the competition for talent, generational shifts in the workforce, and technology that gives many workers the freedom to execute tasks from anywhere, are all catalysts for change in the workforce and the workplace. HR leaders are experimenting and open to some changes, even as the workplace at small and mid-sized businesses often remains traditional.
Remaining committed to employees' needs
If you're considering changing HR titles within your business, you may want to approach this with caution. Being overly creative with job titles could confuse others outside of the organization as to what the job entails – this includes future job candidates who may be looking for an HR position.
Regardless of their titles, HR professionals are still the most knowledgeable and well-positioned teams to address one of the most pressing challenges businesses face today: employee retention. Acting as advocates for employees' needs, your HR team can take these proactive steps to help your business retain your most talented workers:
- Offer a competitive salary and benefits package.
- Acknowledge the importance of having a suitable work-life balance.
- Build a culture of reward and recognition.
- Give employees a chance to influence the company's direction.
- Enable employees to develop a career path.
Since it's always important to have top talent on your team, business owners and their HR teams should focus on identifying their top employees and find ways to retain them.
Job titles are important. But what's most important is building a culture where employee contributions are highly valued and a business remains flexible to employee needs in an ever-changing workplace environment.