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Trends in HR job titles

5th, October 2015
0 Comment
by Tom Haak
in  Blog, Trends in HR

Job Titles

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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


Trends in HR series:

HR Trend Institute

The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organisations, and also in adjacent areas.
Tom has a keen interest in organisations and service providers that use trends in a creative and innovative way. He advices organisations on how to get more focus in their HR interventions and how use trends to increase the impact of HR.

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About the Author: Tom Haak


Tom Haak is the founder and director of The HR Trend Institute. Prior to founding the HR Trend Institute in 2014, Tom held senior HR positions in companies as Arcadis, Aon, KPMG and Philips. The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organizations, and also in adjacent areas.