How can you choose the most appropriate job title when wearing many 'hats' in your company?
As a very new small business, anyone I bring on to my team is going to be responsible for more than one area of expertise. How can I name or define their positions when they are going to be doing much more than one thing?
Hi Zoe, the Business.com team recently published an article that can help answer your question: What's in a Name? How to Choose the Most Appropriate Job Title
When deciding on a position title for an employee, ask yourself the following questions:
-Does the title make it easy to interpret the person's role at the company?
-Does the title reflect the person's area of expertise, level of experience and seniority?
-What impact will the title have on a person's career trajectory?
-Will the title be taken seriously by others?
-Will the title attract top talent or turn them off?
Titles should carry weight and make the employee feel valued. I think it works well to have an open dialog with the employee and answer the questions above together. Having a say in their position title gives the employee self-assurance of their role in the company!
I hope you find an ACTUAL answer to your question and not more of people's opinions on how to actually run your company which is not what you asked. I also seek the answer to this querstion as my job responsibilities jump across multiple departments in Oil & Gas from Marketing / Sales / Safety / HR. I have been asked to generate a new title for myself since "Marketing Assistant" no longer covers what I actually do and I am completely stuck.
Hi I'm a Board of Director, CPA, I handle the finance, HR, operations of our start up IT company. Many times participate in Sales & Marketing Activity. My problem is my title Finance and Admin Officer does not fit when i need to communicate w/ clients. Their usual question is why a Finance Officer is talking to them? What is the most appropriate job title for me?
I suggest getting your employees involved in letting them choose a position title that fits the job well and that they are happy with. I would also spend time researching competitive job titles. Position titles have become much more important now, and a factor that future employees use to gauge the level of experience. You want to set your employees up for success. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.
Your primary hat is deal-maker: bring business into your firm. That's #1.
Your second hat is budget. No budget then nothing to allocate. That's #2
Your third hat is vision. Where are you going? How do you get there?
The rest of those hats can be outsourced.
Hope this helps.
Richard Stern- It depends on your biggest contribution to your company..
Titles are not really important except for the people who will take responsibility for the successful outcome of the work/service etc
Consider "selling" the position. Instead of descriptive about the job duties or "hats" come up with a marketable title for the position that will fit the image you wish to put forward or the industry/market targeted by your business.
IMHO there are many cultural biases to consider it. In Mexico b.e. you must select the position whoe show your high ranking into the organization or institution. I have two different task in my organization, but in my email signature I use the one show I have an important position. A matter of fact is that I prefer the other position, less brightly but the must amazing one. Cultural shock an issue to consider when you select your job title.
One additional thought. Depending on where one is one's career, it may make sense to choose a title that allows one to be promoted easier 1-2 years down the line ...there is something to be said for showing career progress...
I'm going to approach this from a different aspect. My assumption is that job titles are a tool, and sometimes bear little relation to the task list or job responsibility as actually performed. We should ask what we want this tool to accomplish. In my opinion, broadly across the company, job titles communicate information, and they do so both internally and externally.
Frequently I find that internally job titles are used for two primary reasons: 1) to communicate ones designated position in the hierarchical structure of the company; 2) as an incentive to motivate an employee in lieu of money. In my opinion the second is a terrible reason to create a job title, but tragically I've seen it often enough.
In an ideal world, internally everyone focuses on functional flow of work and job titles become far less important than job function.
However, those approaching from the outside have no knowledge of a given individual's functions, and looks to the title on the card ( website, twitter account, LinkedIn account, Facebook page…) to try and grasp an individuals area of functional expertise and their level of authority.
Therefore my recommendation is that you assign job titles based on how you want the external world to perceive that individual when they are out representing the company. I once entertained using the job title of "Wizard", it really didn't accomplish any of the above so I abandoned it in terms of practicality. There is a common vocabulary in business, and although clichés are bad, they do convey a lot of information quickly.
So, if an individual is responsible for moving product out the door and he has the authority to sign the deal, he is a sales director regardless of whatever else he is when he enters the building.
Just a different take as you consider this. If you like to discuss it further, feel free to contact me.
Pick a familiar, broad title people are familiar with. At start-up stage, titles have little meaning as most people involved wear multiple hats. What the titles should reflect is the decision-making hierachy. Owner/President/CEO may be used to reflect final/ veto power. Executive VP used to show authority, but not necessarily the decision maker; etc.
At start-up, you will have enough of a challenge enlightening people as to your concepts/ products / services. You do not want to distract from that by having to explain your title.
Depends on what level on involvement they have in your company. Usually the individuals who wear the most hats are called founders, co founders, or managing partners. Everyone else on your staff should either have a c level title (ceo, cmo, cto, coo), president or vp of department title, or a specific job description with a specific role and job title. Another way to go about this is by giving them management titles ex. manager, regional manager, sales manager, operations manager, etc. Those jobs are less specific and cover more general responsibilities.
Give them a title they would be credentialed for and work towards in next 3 - 5 years. Take their input on what that would be but be very specific about the role and responsibilities they are being hired into for and that "promotion" is at your discretion.
I guess it depends on what exactly they are doing? There are umbrella titles you can give your people that might encompass a lot of responsibilities, such as "Marketing Specialists" That might mean they do graphic design, marketing, print, web consulting, and logistical stuff. Or something like Administrative Coordinator might mean, they are a secretary, file clerk, executive assistant etc...sit down with your people and figure out what makes the most sense. If you are in the furtive dividing these duties amongst new staff, you can assign the appropriate tootles then.
This might be an opportunity to let your personality shine through. You might use a unique title that reflects your business or your role in the business, e.g., chief strategist, such and such expert, Chief Everything Officer, etc. Don't get too hung up on it -- how you conduct your business is a lot more important than your title.
I haven't read the other responses because I didn't want to be influenced prior to offering my opinion. Local customers like to do business with the owner. So if you are a local business I think Owner may be very appropriate for you. If your business will take you across the country then President would apply because that is more acceptable, in my opinion, to other business owners or professionals you will come into contact with. With regard to new employees with responsibility you might consider Manager of Director depending on overall responsibility they may have. Employees with very narrow responsibility should carry a title that describes exactly what they do.
Based on your profile, it looks like to are opening an art gallery. I think coordinator, co-coordinator, assistant, archivist, librarian, or manager are good general titles depending on the section they work with. You could just be simple as art gallery coordinator. As your business grows then you can specialize titles and promote those who are a cut above the rest.
If the person is doing all the aspects of Business, i.e Finance, Marketing, Sales,Supplychain, coding etc etc then I will call him the CEO :-)
...For the rest , i am sure they broadly would come under HR&Admin , Finance&Legal, Sales&Marketing and i would not bother about designation unless you are planning to define Hierarchy in the system
The question has been thoroughly addressed by others. The only thing that I would add is that, from a perspective of within the organization, it really doesn't matter what titles you use. They will gain their own character & shared meaning. Think of a famous band like the Rolling Stones. Whatever that name triggers in your mind, it is unlikely to be a group of boulders being in motion.