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?
Mr Brown, as I see this, my understanding is that as a business owner and knowing what you expect the person to do be doing, its you that should be more clear about the job description, which in any case would be multi tasking but in related areas only. Wearing different hats is what everyone has to do or learn to do. So wearing different hats and under one title will not make any difference. Florence MacDonald
The title, from a branding perspective, should be consistent with the culture and leadership of your organization, target audience, staff you hire etc.
If you are opening an art gallery - what type of art?
Who are we trying to communicate to with the title?
1) Based on you team and their understanding of the market - you could have them come up with their own title.
2) At our tech company - we do all sorts of things; however, each person has a specific area of expertise. One person wanted the title of Senior Software Developer. He was, it is a functional title, people understood it and it fit with his resume. Another came up with Client Advocate - which fits the culture of the organization. When someone sees the title on the card they may ask the question what is that and it gives him a lead into what he can do for the client. They are both senior developers that work directly with the client.
Do you have art curators, art historians, associates, or advocates ?
They all could do the same thing.
The job description, will indicate that activities they do and areas they are respnible (plus other duties as assigned); the title could be used as strong staff expectation and branding tool to set the stage for your client (or guest) experience.
In my experience, it is best to ask your employees what department, market, and title they prefer. Employees are seeking recognition in the field and title they desire to be in. Allowing your first few employees to determine the titles they wish to have is allowing them to build upon their end career goal.
Try calling that person the General Manager. Can be dangerous though. Something can always fall through the cracks.
Regardless of the title - you should have a full job description and even a Personal Business Commitment (PC) Plan for each of your employees (SMART Goals for the coming year). Their PBC's should be based off your PBC's and shows specifically how their role and responsibilities will help you achieve your PBC's or SMART Business Goals for the coming year. Then during your quarterly performance reviews, you can easily measure their performance against their yearly goals - and give the appropriate tweaks and encouragement. Explicitly spelling out their roles and responsibilities is slightly different that giving their position a title. If you need help creating PBC's, lets chat.
When giving titles, I recommend select a title that best supports or helps achieve their business goals. Consider the end-user of their business cards. For example - if you have a employee that is a developer, but he also goes on the road with the Sales Staff to setup the demos and man the trade-show booths; I would give him the title of Subject Matter Expert or Technical Sales Engineer. Something - when given to the customer assures the customer that he is knowledgeable about the client's use of the product as well as encouraging the client to call them about making the sale.
What if your project manager also does the accounting and bookkeeping for your small business. This person also answers the phones and fills in as the receptionist. Although this person wears many hats, the title on their business card should be Project Manager, because affluent clients receiving that business card is more apt to carry on business dealings and conversations with the Project Manager over a book keeper or receptionist.
If you only have one sales person on your team and they also man the tech support line, their title on their business card should be Sales Manager - because an affluent client feels more important talking to the Sales Manager - than either sales person or a technical support person. They feel that the Sales Manager can actually get something done in the company.
Think about your business goals - and which title (from their many hats) is going to support bringing in the money.
Also - there is nothing wrong with creating multiple business cards with the different job titles. Then you give out the appropriate card at the right occasion. I don't recommend doing 1 business cards with all the titles like: Project Manager/Developer/Tester. You want to present clarity, confidence and expertise to your potential client. Showing them that you are a jack of all and master of none will defeat the purpose.
Small businesses need generalists~ with expertise in a number of areas. That's a given. Break down the key areas needed in your small business. My guess is that first and foremost you are going to need a VP of Business Development, (Sales & Marketing), and HR/Operations which can be held by a high level executive admin. Look at how other small businesses in your industry are defining their key roles. I agree with others that's what's most important is being clear on roles, responsibilities. And avoid creating a position description that becomes a "task " list. Position the role with an outcome focus, be creative. Have the titles reflect your company culture. It also is helpful to have some tools like Talent Insights, and/or hire a recruiter to do the initial work for you. Good luck
Whatever they are doing has to fall under functional headings like CFO/Controller, Production, etc. In start-up's titles really do not mean much if everybody is on board.
In many early stage companies, titles are omitted completely, encouraging teaming rather than status. In others, function (e.g. engineering, business development) rather than title was found to be more appreciated, particularly for those who interface primarily with outsiders (vendors, customers). Titles imply an organizational structure that will change often as an enterprise grows, making any title obsolete. Value is best understood through compensation and acknowledged contribution to the company's objectives.
Job titles are almost always a sensitive and emotional issue; they can motivate, inspire, enhance an individual’s drive or conversely impede their ability to succeed.
Keep titles unambiguous and based solely on an individual’s primary responsibility. If they are required to manage others call them a manager of whatever function they occupy, if they have no managerial role and no direct reports simply name their position after their responsibility - dispatch, marketing, accounting, operations etc. Don’t invent multi-disciplined titles, fall for the hideous process of cute nonsense descriptors or invent CEO’s, founders or departmental VP’s when you only employ 5 people.
Consider what people have to answer when asked by others what they do at your company, they should sound empowered but no more important than the role they occupy, you can’t have the office junior charged with collecting media clippings thinking that they are your VP of public and media relations.
Finally some people will inevitably carry a business card, there title must be influential enough to earn a prospect’s respect so junior sales assistant, is not going to cut it when simply business development will open doors.
Don't make the mistake of thinking one person can do everything you can't. This is often a fatal flaw of business owners. You want someone to do what you don't do well, and then hire the best multi-tasker you can find. #1. It's your business and rarely will they care about your success as much as you do. #2. No one can do everything else. You may be able to hire an office Manager (online or live), but appreciate that they will outsource a variety of activities (remember, they can't do everything either). There are some things you can do to determine what type of person you need to bring onto your team first, and a coach or consultant can help you. If you're ready to embrace the idea of team building, congratulations, you're running a business. To your SWEET success!
Titles are like badges, they encourage people to aspire to their elated position. I agree with Taylor Ellwood. What is more important is "defining their responsibilities and making sure they have the necessary skills and support to accomplish what they do. By defining the roles by responsibilities you can give them a realistic perspective of what you'll need from them" - recognising their expertise and knowledge within your company. As indicated by Stephen Campbell PMP - most people make them up.
general manager; general man; general worker; generalist
I quite doubtful you will get inexperience or non-manager level employees to wear several hats in a small business, therefore these employees are manager level to wear multiple hats, thus just name "manager" will do.
If you get office admin person to wear multiple hats, probably still admin related things - so just call admin or administrator or coordinator.
Titles can be misleading. Make sure the areas they are responsible for are tied down in their job description. If you haven't read the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber , it's a great book for start-up entrepreneurs and talks about what you are going through at this moment.
I've been involved in three startups recently where we all wear multiple hats. To summarise the most useful conversations about titles we've had:
Choose a title ...1. that adds something to your CV
2. that your peers and potential future employers will recognise (i.e. NOT 'Chief lifestyle ninja')
3. that's short enough to fit in an email signature
4. that positions you within your startup business for the main area of responsibility
I am a start-up, too and so it helps that we use titles that not only best describes what we do but also gives a hint of being an expert/very knowledgeable in that particular area. So titles like, Print Production Manager, Visual Merchandising Expert...etc. I like one suggestion here about asking the people working with you what would they like to be in 5-10 years that way the title doubles as a goal as well.
You can add similar job responsibilities with combine title e.g Principle and HM combine with the title of Rector,...but best thing is that you will forward well define question with confusing title and responsibilities,...
This one's easy...what is the target position you would like to acquire at the next level in your career?
Whatever it may be - if you have freedom to do so - the most pragmatic move here would be to choose a position that aligns as closely to the target job title as possible.
Therefore, if you have a job title-less team of linchpins, simply ask them where they want to be in 5-10 years from a career leadership perspective, and...voila! :)
Titles made simple. Employees made loyal.
These are some I've used with good results concerning software development:
Full Stack Developer: Back End + Front End + Sys Ops
Software Architect: Full Stack + Business
Web Developer: Back End + Sys Ops
We Design or UI /UX: Design + Front End
Software Engineer: Firmware + Desktop + Legacy
Mobile Developer: Cross Platform + API + Design
Search them for specifics.
One very important attribute to add if posting a job is asking for startup experience.
This can be hard to determine. Are these people founders along with you? If not, maybe give them "combination" titles, such as "Bookkeeper/Office Manager."