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. Do HR teams serve to defend employees or the business first? The recent wave of sexual harassment allegations in the media has placed particular scrutiny on HR’s role in employee-employer disputes.
People, Not Resources
HR’s baggage is no secret, and it looks as though the profession might be in the early stages of a rebrand. Data from Namely’s HR Careers Report 2018 suggests a slow, but gradual shift toward more informal job titles, including more employee-centric terms like “people” or “talent.” Scouring our database of over 1,000 midsize companies and 150,000 employees, we uncovered some creative titles that went even further, including the below.
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.
Can you tie “warm and fuzzy” 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 and 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.