- A series of studies covered by the Harvard Business Review remarks on the power of creative work titles. The general conclusion: allowing creative titling, perhaps in congruence with more standard titles, could lower stress and increase happiness in the workplace, particularly in high-stress environments like a hospital.
- Many HR pros, including Google's own Lazlo Bock, SVP of "people operations," tend to have reservations about the practice, believing it can make job duties unclear and make it harder for those who have said jobs to prove their experience in the field. But thoughtful application of titling may help rather than hurt, these studies say.
- One indepth study looked at hospital employees at Make-A-Wish, who were allowed to create titles for their jobs. Those who chose their own titles "had lower levels of emotional exhaustion, felt more validated and better recognized for their work, and experienced greater 'psychological safety,'" which leads to more creativity and idea exchange.
London Business School professor Dan Cable told HBR that he views such programs as a way to boost recruitment and employee attitudes. In another study at a European brewery, employees who had the same function were tasked with coming up with a new job title together for their job. Three months later, those employees were 16% more satisfied with their work and 11% "more closely identified" with the company than those who didn't partake.
Cable notes that the true value of such programs, however, may not be in the titles themselves, but the process of defining said titles. Taking the time to consider what they do every day and what it means to the company may help employees realign themselves with the company, regardless of whether they have a new fancy title.
Cable suggests that large companies who are interested in re-titling start with small units to see how their employees react. If it falls through, there's one silver lining: Giving employees new titles costs next to nothing.