Chief Enchilada Officer, Director of Performance Optimization, Chief Visionary Officer, Happiness Manager. These are all real job titles listed on sites including LinkedIn and Glassdoor, but what do the people who hold these titles actually do? That’s a good question. You’d probably never guess that the Happiness Manager was in charge of budgets.
In today’s business world, job titles, much like workspaces themselves, as well as business dress codes, have often taken a slightly more creative turn. While amusing job titles like social media guru or marketing ninja may be fun, how effective are they? Below are five guidelines to keep in mind when creating positions and job titles for your organization.
Be flexible, but clear
While not meant to be all-encompassing, the best job titles clearly define who the appropriate person in an organization is for a specific task to clients, customers, and vendors. They also effectively communicate the organization hierarchy internally. A title like Managing Director or Managing Partner differentiates who is the principal decision maker amongst many owners.
Take experience into account
When you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot of employees, it may be tempting to make everyone a vice president simply because they are reporting to the owner. Instead, look at what level that person would likely be based on experience should they leave the company. If they truly at the vice president level in terms of experience and scope of responsibilities, go for it, just remember overusing the VP title can be a telltale sign of a fledgling startup.
Create a General Manager position
In creating a general manager, you designate a senior position who is clearly in charge of the day to day operations while still leaving room to hire a vice president or chief operation officer should the company grow.
Use titles to show value
While titles should never be taken too seriously, they can be important in ensuring your team feels valued. Most people actually do want to climb the ladder and take pride in their title. If your organization doesn’t have a lot of vertical climbing opportunities, you can easily reward employees with a “Senior” before their current title.
Don’t forget about the future
While you may hope that your employees stay forever, they probably won’t, and that’s ok. Your employees will carry their job title with them for years and years to come – on their resume, on their LinkedIn profile – don’t make them live with explaining “Happiness Manager” to potential employers for years to come. Likewise, make sure that you keep your records updated on all of your employees’ responsibilities. In small businesses it’s common for people to wear many hats and in the future they may choose to pursue one of those other hats and should someone check references, you’ll want to be accurate in their responsibilities – even if they were outside of their primary job function. But just as your employees may someday move on, having quality job titles and clearly defined hierarchies will better assist you in recruiting new hires.