Trends in HR job titles

HR Job Titles
Illustration: Tom Haak

Job titles are still important. A friend has nearly accepted a new job as HR lead in a fast growing company. The new company gave him the freedom to choose his job title. He called me to ask for my suggestions. “It would be nice if I could avoid the term Human Resources”, he said, “but at the same time I want to be recognisable on the various social media”.

Some possibilities for job titles in HR

1. Chief Human Resources Officer

This is the safe option. You are a member of the C-suite, and people should know this. As a real CHRO you have to be taken serious. The organisation you work for needs to be of some size. It looks a bit strange when you are the CHRO of a company with 100 people or so. I would say 5,000 is the minimum. CHRO also makes you look very corporate.

2. Chief People Officer

A modern variant on 1. You are still a Chief, you are still an Officer, but you got rid of the term Human Resources. The current trend is clearly to get rid of Human Resources, in favour of People. I have also seen Chief Human Capital Officer and there is a Chief Human Capital Officers Council (CHCOC).

3. SVP of People Operations

People Operations sounds more down to earth. Since almost everybody admires Google and at Google they have an SVP of People Operations, you see more SVP’s and Directors of People Operations appearing.

4. Director of People and ………..

As said, today People seems to be better than Human Resources. Using People alone does not seem to work for everybody. And what is the difference between a Director of People and a Manager? Depending on the focus in an organisation, a second word is added to People. Below a selection.Director of People and Organisation
Director of People and Culture
Director of People and Values
Director of People and Change
Director of People and Places
Director of People and Recruitment
Director of People and Performance
People and Capability Director.
If you pick the most appropriate second word, this might work very well.

5. Chief Happiness Officer and other fancy titles

Especially in growing start-ups, you sometimes see job titles as Chief Happiness Officer, Director of Fun and Happiness or Mindful Director.
This might work for a while, but generally this does not seem a wise choice.

6. No job title at all

Why do you need a job title anyway? The job titling business seems to be very resistant to change, but there are some hopeful signs that it is slowly disappearing. More and more people do not put a job title on their business cards (if they have a business card at all). Just their name, company, telephone and email address. The e-mail address has become a status symbol. Best is to work for a big company and have an e-mail address like, or You can always mail me at or


View "Talking HR Trends with Natal Dank & Tom Haak"

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