Ditch traditional designations; get creative

An employee’s designation often speaks a thousand words about his role in an organization. Picking ‘fun’ or creative designations help keep employees in good humour and keeps them motivated


Rahul Raj, TimesJobs.com Bureau

William Shakespeare once famously stated, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In an organisation, a name alone can get easily lost, but accompanied by an impressive designation, it makes the right impression. Your designation speaks a thousand words about your role in an organisation. Cool and innovative designations like Chief Fun Officer, Chief Happiness Officer, Chief Mall Mechanic, Cost Kill Analyst and Chief Belief Officer, help keep employees in good humour and keeps them motivated. “Innovative designations help us take work less seriously. If you have a fun and innovative title instead of a serious one, you can take your job a little less seriously. That’s why I’m not the CEO of my company but the Chief Happiness Officer,” stated Alexander Kjerulf, Chief Happiness Officer and Founder, Woohoo inc.

Why innovative designations?

“Innovations are coming in every aspect of life. Operating styles of organisations have changed and have become more direct and engages employees to a large extent,” stated Sunil Goel, MD GlobalHunt India Pvt. Ltd, a leading executive search organisation. He believes that the purpose of such innovative designations is to not only designate the KRAs, but also to align the designation as per the KRAs

“It stops people from fighting over titles – “Why am I only a consultant, when that guy is a SENIOR consultant?” This kind of thing is ultimately meaningless and simply a distraction from doing your job,” stated Kjerulf.

“I think that most job titles are inherently meaningless. And here’s something I’ve noticed: When you ask people what they do, most people will give you their job title. As in, ‘I’m an engineer’ or ‘I’m a project manager’ or ‘I’m a writer’,” he added.

“Whenever people ask me, I always tell them that I make people happy at work. That is what I do.” He believes that although this may look like just semantics, but it matters. Your job title is never going to make you happy at work, but knowing what you do, may. Knowing your contribution, how you add value, how you make a difference – THAT can make you happy at work.

According to Abhijit Bhaduri, Chief Learning Officer, Wipro Technologies, his designation is meant to reflect the focus of his role. “The role is meant to ensure that Wipro continues to remain a learning organisation and people keep learning and reinventing themselves. In India, there aren’t too many CLOs around. Talking about Indian companies adopting designations like CLOs in near future, he stated that, “There are a few companies in India that are already moving in that direction. Some may start off by simply rebranding the role. But if the role has business impact, more adoption will follow.”

Some organisations designate their employees, lower in the hierarchy, with innovative designations like chief impression officer (for a receptionist) and car manager (for a driver). These designations go a long way to motivate them and provide them with a sense of importance. “Down the line designations like chief impression officer or a car manager engages them with high accountability and responsibilities and it has been clearly observed that there are positive changes in attitude of people after such designations are given to them,” averred Goel

Goel also believes that such designations are effective talent engagement and retention tools. It gives a feeling of importance to employees, they feel valued, elevated and that they are really adding some value to the organisation


Talking about the flipside of innovative designations, Goel stated, “Limitations are there as in a larger organisation one has to maintain the hierarchy to maintain the uniformity and restriction. It can also create confusion within the system. So, it should be adopted very carefully and organisation should not offer this on random basis. It must be planned and must have a meaning and direct correlation to the job.”

According to Kjerulf, the best way is to let people choose their own titles. “If you let people choose their own titles, they can come up with something that is more personal and which they can own themselves.”