An image of a rose - a play on the title 'What's in a name'

What’s in a name?

Job titles are important and can be very emotiveif the title of the role doesn’t accurately reflect the level the person is expected to deliver at it could prevent them from accepting the role and can lead to demotivation.  Would a Director consider moving to a role with a Head of title, would this be seen as a demotion even though the role itself could be broader in remit and level of responsibility? It can impact on the person if they have made seemingly junior or sideways moves on their CV without always having the opportunity to explain the reasons why they made the move and add some context to itJudgements and assumptions are made very quickly on CV’s, decision makers may question moves on a CV which do not follow the obvious progression of titles from Manager through to Director.  Having the wrong title can prevent employees progressing their career as quickly as they would like and cause demotivation.  

Offering someone the best possible title will help ensure they accept your offer and ensure they stay motivated for longerIt can also mitigate against other aspects of a compensation package.  Some people will even take a sideways move regarding compensation if the role remit and job title are the next step in their career. Beyond negotiating base salary and bonus, be prepared to negotiate the wording of the job title to get future employees over the line. 

Some key areas to consider: 

  • Current structure  if there is an established hierarchy and other members of the team doing the same role it will be difficult to honour a new person a different title to the existing peers without causing potential unrest and confusion internally.  When creating a new role there may be more creative license 
  • Industry wide comparisons – based on similar sized companies or those within your sector, it is worth reviewing regularly to identify any market trends and ensuring you are leading in your space, or at least on a level footing. It may take internal negotiations to change the title to attract the best talent – market insight will back up any argument and justify the value of doing so. 
  • Earning a different job title  it may not be possible to instantly award the desired job title due to internal politics. Is there a way of setting targets over time or broadening the remit to justify a different title? 
  • Does a newly proposed title for the role you are hiring benefit both parties? It could well be the case that a more senior title, will positively impact on how customers or clients interact with the person and as a result drive commercial result 
  • Niche or difficult hires  some roles are inherently difficult to recruit, consider a change in title to attract the best person for the role.

Our experience suggests that title usually is a key factor of consideration but understand sometimes your hands are tiedthe title has always been X and will never become Y regardless of the potential impact, not every business will need Ninjas, Rock Stars or Gurus!