are funny things. Some organizations and industries are filled with Vice
Presidents. When you meet someone who works in banking don’t be surprised when
they tell you they are a VP or AVP. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are
running a large division. That’s left to the SVP or EVP (senior or executive).
service structures are filled with Level IV roles, or other numbering systems.
These mean nothing to anyone who is not taking the requisite exams to work
their way up in government. Human Resources used to be Personnel and is now
being replaced by People Officers and Talent Managers.
are demonstrations of corporate jargon or fit the company culture. Baristas
serve our coffee at Starbucks while Crew Members pour the caffeine at Dunkin
Donuts. I am a bit puzzled by the proliferation of the term associate for
employees. The rational is that employee sounds subservient. Associate just
doesn’t seem to roll off my tongue. At Starbucks employees are called partners
to demonstrate respect.
titles and unique positions can contribute to a specific work environment but I
think diminutive descriptors can take away from status. If you are ready to
make a large purchase for your company do you want to meet the Junior
Salesperson? When facing an operation we don’t want to be treated by a junior
surgeon but we may be interested in the knowledge and exposure of a newly
trained physician who has recently performed successful cutting edge
junior, second assistant and trainee when creating titles. If you have
employees who deal directly with customers avoid putting a trainee label on a
nametag. It looks like an announcement that says, “Caution, I’m new here, I may
screw up.” When you are hiring, promoting or upgrading positions think about
how the title impacts the employee and the people they interact with, both
internally and externally.
are too specific can also pigeon hole people. Don’t be surprised when the Clerk
1 tells you that they don’t answer the phone, they just make copies and file. Then
there are the titles that sound all encompassing, barely fit on a business card
or stretch out into an email signature. When I met the Senior Director-New
Initiatives, Work Environment, I figured they could pretty much be working on