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. In order to gain employees’ trust back, human resources needs to change their image. Employees don’t want to confide in human resources because they’re afraid of being reprimanded for the issues they bring up or fear that nothing will change once they bring something up.
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 just being data-driven. These titles demonstrate an acknowledgment that happiness is a metric just valuable as revenue or profit, and they suggest an effort to foster greater trust between people teams and their employees.
HR job titles mean a lot more than you might think. Merely changing a word or two in someone’s title could bring a lot more respect and trust than the traditional title carries. Although a title change doesn’t necessarily come with more responsibilities, it should make people view the role differently and for the better.
Without further ado, here are the ten most creative HR job titles:
1. Chief Happiness Officer
HR earned its place in the C-suite a while ago, but this title emphasizes that employee happiness is just as important as any other function of the business. Let your employees know you’re committed to keeping them happy and interested in the work they’re doing. If you or your HR team is struggling to do that, invest some time and money into creating a title to make it happen.
2. Culture & Geek Resource Manager
One of HR's greatest responsibilities is building and maintaining a strong workplace culture. So, having a designated culture geek to ensure everything is running smoothly, and people are happy where they are can be a great way to boost workplace culture. Your culture geek should know that culture doesn’t necessarily mean pool tables and an open bar after work. They should understand that employees make up your company’s culture, and your company needs to be hiring people that will elevate that culture.
3. Director of Attracting Talent
When it comes to recruiting, it's a candidate's job market, making the search for top talent one of HR's biggest challenges. Therefore, it’s no surprise that crafting a strong employer brand has emerged as a strategic and crucial HR function. Designate someone on your HR team to create a stellar recruiting and hiring process. Job seekers will hear about your great candidate experiences, and current employees will be more willing to recommend their friends to an open position.
4. Champion of Office Happiness
HR Professionals know that employee engagement is incredibly important to measure for overall business productivity. But, how do you ensure your team is constantly checking results and coming up with solutions? Introduce a champion of office happiness, who can be your office’s guru to all things employee engagement.
5. Head of Optimistic People
Employees shouldn't only see their HR rep when it’s time to pick up their W-2s. Make your HR department a little more approachable by appointing someone to bring optimism to the workplace. This positive energy will encourage employees to perform better and be more productive. An inviting, "optimistic" title helps make your department more approachable year-round.
6. People & Culture Systems Guru
Want to make it clear what your HR team’s day-to-day looks like? Don't be afraid to highlight skills or responsibilities in their title—even if it means being playful and including words like "guru" and "genius." Highlighting the skills of your HR team makes it easier for your workforce to figure out who they should go to for help.
7. CVO; Chief Vibes Officer
Make the office a little more approachable by expanding on the responsibilities of a CHRO that employees love. Having a Chief Vibes Officer takes away a little bit of the CHRO stigma and lets your employees be a little more comfortable approaching them. A CVO would do everything a CHRO is in charge of with a focus on getting to the core of your employee’s emotional state or the atmosphere in your office.
8. VP of Teammate Success
This title has most of the same responsibilities as a VP of Human Resources; the only difference is that they’re focusing on their coworker's success. This includes the entire employee experience from onboarding to offboarding. A VP of Teammate Success supports their coworkers every step of the way. Not only are they working with those around them, but they’re also working closely with the executive board to ensure they know who’s doing well, who’s falling behind, and where the overall company culture stands.
9. Director of Employee Engagement
Engaged employees are happy employees! Having someone who monitors employee engagement and checks-up on those who are noticeably unengaged will make a noticeable difference in how your employees are interacting with each other, clients, and customers. A Director of Employee Engagement doesn’t have to do all of this manually; part of their job could be finding a tool that monitors your employee’s engagement. The trick to using an employee engagement platform is making sure someone follows through with the data it collects. When you have someone in charge of making sure your employees are engaged, you’re guaranteed to have a positive company culture.
10. VP of People
Sometimes, employees and people, in general, don’t like to be managed. Taking ‘manager’ out of a title can put your employees at ease and allow them to trust the HR department a bit more. Adding VP to a title gives the person in that role a little more authority than an HR manager might get. Also, adding ‘People’ to the title takes the resource element out of your employees. You want your employees to know they’re more than just a resource to the company. Your employees are the ones who make up your company culture and keep your clients happy, and the person who manages them should reflect that in every aspect of their role.
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 HR job titles and actually walk the walk. With that said, even messaging can make an impact. Workplace studies have found a strong correlation between 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.
No matter your title, Namely’s HR software, can cover every part of an HR leader’s role. From talent acquisition to employee engagement, we have everything your HR department needs.