Human resources has an image problem. Considered by workers to be the corporate equivalent of a “principal’s office,” HR’s bad rap even extends to its portrayal in popular culture.
It would be easy to say that HR’s involvement in sensitive matters like benefits and payroll makes it an easy target. But that doesn’t explain the even larger issue of trust—only half of U.S. workers believe their employers are “open and honest” with them.
As a result, it looks as though the profession might be in the early stages of a rebrand. Scouring Namely's database of over 1,000 midsize companies and 150,000 employees, our analysts identified a trend toward more informal HR job titles, with an increase in more employee-centric terms like “people” or “talent.”
The spirit behind these unique titles is one that shuns the use of “resources” to describe employees, and instead embraces the idea that there’s more to modern HR than being just data-driven. These titles demonstrate an acknowledgement that happiness is a metric just valuable as revenue or profit, and they suggest an effort to foster greater trust between between people teams and their employees.
Without further ado, here are the six most creative HR job titles:
1. Chief Happiness Officer
HR has earned its place in the C-suite, and this title goes to show that employee happiness is just as important as any other function of the business.
2. Culture & Geek Resource Manager
One of HR's greatest responsibilities is building and maintaining a strong workplace culture. Don't let an unoriginal title prevent you from embodying that culture.
3. Director, Talent Attraction Strategy
When it comes to recruiting, it's a candidate's job market. Attracting top talent has become one of HR's biggest challenges. Rightly so, crafting a strong employer brand has emerged as a strategic and crucial HR function.
4. Office Happiness Champion
Do HR teams serve to defend employees or the business first? Championing employee happiness reinforces HR's ultimate goal to build a better work environment.
5. Head of Optimistic People
Employees shouldn't only see their HR rep when it comes time to pick up their W-2s. An inviting, "optimistic" title helps make your department more approachable year round.
6. People & Culture Systems Guru
Want to make it clear what you actually do on a daily basis? Don't be afraid to highlight skills or responsibilities in your title—even if it means being playful and including words like "guru" and "genius."
The Value of Creative Titles
Can you tie “warm and fuzzy” HR job titles to results? To make lasting changes, HR teams will need to go beyond just job titles and actually walk the walk. That said, even messaging can make an impact. Workplace studies have found a strong correlation behind the perceived intent of HR teams and employee performance. In one analysis, companies with HR teams that were viewed as motivated by employee wellbeing over efficiency or profits saw higher engagement and performance ratings. The C-Suite should take particular interest in those findings, as nine in ten chief executives rank employee engagement as their top priority.
Rebrands take time to catch on, and Namely’s data shows that the top 10 most common HR job titles still remain generic, with “HR Manager” and “Generalist” leading the pack. Even so, the steady growth of more creative, personal titles suggests the profession is in the early stages of redefining itself.
It wouldn’t be the first time. For a field once called “personnel administration” and “industrial relations,” HR is no stranger to rebrands. Perhaps it’s time for HR professionals to learn from history and set a new course yet again.
Need help coming up with a creative HR Job Title? Try our HR Job Title Generator to add some flair to your every-day responsibilities.