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Don’t Judge a Title by its Job

Don’t Judge a Title by its Job

As compensation consultants working across a number of different industries, we see a lot of different positions and position titles. As part of our position and evaluation review process revising and cleaning up titles has become an initiative that spins off of our traditional compensation design projects.

One trend we have seen emerging recently is that it appears that many organizations, while wanting to appear flatter, are using more titles than ever. While when evaluating a position we do not focus on the title, but the job content, one question that does arise is how important are job titles?

With many organizations not being in a position, in the last couple of years, to reward positions with traditional monetary measures, it may be that some organizations have used titles to provide employees with recognition for performance, even in cases where perhaps the general scope and responsibility of the position has not changed. On one hand, this title enhancementcould be a very effective non-monetary method for organizations to give employees recognition for performance in times where budgets are tight.

On the other hand, what are the potential negative implications to other human resources initiatives?

For instance, while all employees may not know the details of their peers compensation packages, they in most cases do know other employee titles. When it comes time to communicate organizational opportunities (promotion, career ladders, etc.) and address internal equity, do inconsistent titles relay a confusing message?

Similarly, external communications which may be linked to regulatory and/or compliance reporting can also send the wrong message if titles are not reflective of the actual roles and/or responsibilities or if positions performing that same role have drastically different titles.

In addition, administratively managing an organization with an ever-changing sea of titles can also be a challenge to say the least.

What is your organization’s practice in terms of developing and/or managing titles?

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