I just came across a LinkedIn Pulse post, written by Marketing Communications Strategist Marianne Griebler, which suggests we drop job titles in the workplace (is that a job title in the article’s heading?). My current employer does not use them on business cards or email signatures as standard so thought I would share my opinion.
In her article, Marianne lists the benefits to an organisation of dropping the job title. She explains:
” […] ignoring job titles is a win-win for any business. The ROI includes happier, more engaged employees. Higher retention. A culture that’s attractive to new talent. And a clearer vision of a team where every player matters.”
Am I more happy on average, more engaged? Does it bear influence on my thoughts which go into doing one more year with the company? Do new prospects of ours consider this when deciding to take an offer?
I can’t say for certain. I think when implemented with other strategies that try to do the same thing , i.e. show that “every player matters”, the above claims have merit. I wholeheartedly agree with Marianne that job titles really only serve a purpose on an HR file. But there are weaknesses with this approach.
It seems to cause no problems in my organisation (150 employees). Tagless email signatures encourage new joiners to ask their colleagues about who these names are they are cc’d onto. Which can lead to some interesting conversations.
But what happens when people rebel against the system? I have noticed some top-level executives edit their signatures to show their title. I am not sure why they have done this – new joiners soon learn their position within the firm regardless. My hunch is maybe they send a lot of external emails and feel they will be read with more care and taken more seriously if “Partner” gleams out in bold letters underneath their name. I could be entirely wrong. But that’s the impression I get. In essence, it looks vain to me.
Therefore the system sort of falls down on itself and has the opposite effect if it is not strictly adhered to. By allowing these deviations to take place, it’s almost like the company is saying “titles aren’t important here, but they are for some people”.