5 New HR Titles that Promote Employee Engagement

Looks like they’ve done it again. Often the first to innovate, the technology sector has taken up the task of rebranding HR by giving it trendier titles. Here are our top five picks for names that we’ve seen some of the leading tech firms use to improve employee engagement and what they are really saying.

1.     Person: Andrea Weber at IBM

Title: Chief Happiness Officer

Translation: “I’m your advocate.”

While at some workplaces they are esteemed, HR people are commonly seen as the third-grade teacher who took away recess. We like this title because it puts a softer edge on a hard job.

2.    Person: Kellie Crantz

Title: Vice President, Talent Strategy and Development at Dell.

Translation: “I’m here to promote your career.”

HR professionals are the lifeblood of the organization, in charge of the company’s most valuable asset: its talent. Therefore, it is equally valuable when a title calls attention to this purpose.

3.    Person: Prasad Setty

Title: Vice President of People Analytics and Compensation at Google.

Translation: “There’s a science behind what you earn at our company.”

One of the biggest issues that employees have with their employer is being judged unfairly. This title assures people that decisions are based on logic and fact rather than emotion. A little more Spock than Bones, just like many tech CEO’s.

4.     Person: Cindy Robbins

Title: Vice President, Global Employee Success at salesforce.com.

Translation: “I’m not just here for management.”

Highlighting the positive outcomes with the work people do realigns them with their collective purpose, often a stronger driver than compensation. This is critical to employee engagement.

5.     Person: Lori Lewis

Title: Director and Chief of Staff, Strategy, and Culture Transformation at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Translation: “We’re willing to listen for change.”

This title highlights the organization’s awareness that company dynamics and employee engagement are always changing. It says the rules are open to adjusting, because we have to be nimble to thrive.

The Impact on Employee Engagement

Around 20 years ago, “Organizational Development” was the new brand of HR established to capture and focus workforce potential. About 10 years ago “Talent Management” became the prominent marquee to reflect the newly defined asset class of a workforce. Today, themes of “People and Culture” abound. What is in a name? It impacts everything from how the HR professional views his or her own self-worth to how this vital function is perceived by employees, both existing and prospective. All have a tremendous impact on employee engagtement.

At Retensa, for over 16 years, our mission has been to create workplaces where every employee is engaged by what they do and inspired by who they work for. We’d like to hear from you. As an HR person, what should your title reflect? If you’ve ever rebranded your title, let us know if it had an impact. Please comment below or email requests@retensa.com with your response.


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Your Companies Have Merged. Which Executives Will Stay?

“It appears that their [long-tenured executives] idiosyncratic knowledge of what the organization can do and their ability to implement it outweighs the likelihood that they will be rigid when faced with uncertainty.” – Donald D. Bergh, Journal of Management Vol. 27 No. 5, November 2001

The success of Mergers & Acquisition is dependent upon retaining the right executives.

The synergy of merged companies is dependent upon the human capital value as well as the monetary value of the deal. A mass exodus of experienced, revenue-generators leaves the company vulnerable to competitors poaching these executives and their clients. Donald Bergh’s research in the Journal of Management indicates that the long-term success of a merger largely depends on the retention of the right executives. The strategic alliance created by the merger must include retention plans for valued employees that are aligned with the unified company’s goals. The merged companies must work to develop a new organizational culture. Losing executives that have long tenures in the acquired organization can be detrimental to the outcome of the merger. These executives have amassed large breadths of knowledge of effective processes used . Executives with less familiarity of either of the merged companies do not have the same grasp of the company’s capability to respond to change. The executive level focus is often overlooked because the drivers for a new corporate culture are based upon the collaboration and integration of both human resource structures, but if HR is colliding, they aren’t driving.

Smoothing the transition.

First, the buy-in of skilled executives into the merger process will ease the transition of their subordinates into the new organization because they can minimize the effects of the upheaval. Creating teams to integrate the companies’ services and practices is essential for the transition process. Communicating with employees about the process and shifts in services will alleviate job security issues and prevent the decrease in job engagement. Including a variety of management in this integration will be helpful in retaining your most talented employees because they are most apt to identifying their strengths as opposed to those from the other organization. Managers’ can use this information to help executives determine where employees will be most effective in the new company. Encouraging top executives to participate in the integration of the companies will bolster the morale from the top-down by integrating the retention of key employees into the merger. Key employees can bring loyal customers into the transition process as well.