Updated: Aug 18, 2020
When job titles change and when you encounter some interesting job titles, it brings a smile to your face. It gets more interesting when you ask them to describe what they do. Rather than meaningless tasks, titles like Chief Happy Officer and Chief Wellbeing officer demonstrate how companies are taking employee's wellbeing more seriously and are actually doing something about it.
I know the first person who was called Chief People officer in the UK. When I asked him what was different about his title and how it helped change the key deliverables he had to achieve, he said that it was the organisations attempt to look at their employees in totality rather than a resource that is tasked to deliver on certain objectives. He said that this signifies that employees are assets that need to be nurtured and it was his role to ensure that happened than just viewing them as a resource.
Titles fundamentally demonstrate the shift in thinking of the leadership team or the organisation. Be it branding or changing the colour scheme or the logo, every nuance has a story behind it. That world of branding and brand value is totally amazing. Fundamentally if we want to change the message about what we do and how we are perceived is the underlying factor influencing that decision.
Title changes in the corporate world signify the cultural changes that are happening within. With this fundamental premise in place, I set out to look at some of the words that we use in the corporate world when it comes to people. We still use the word to recruit people and people that provide us with that talent pool as recruiters.
Chambers dictionary defines recruit (noun) as “military a newly enlisted member of the army, air force, navy, etc. 2 a new member of a society, group, organization, company, etc”. When we look at word now from the perspective of an employee it looks very process focussed. The very task of finding these recruits falls under recruitment agencies that have had their fair share of bad press on their approach to dealing with candidates.
When we think about our process-oriented approach to finding talent, then it's not surprising to see that the agencies that provide you the 'recruit' want to move them to another place in a couple of years to a different role and, maybe, company. The word recruit does not speak of nurture. It conveys a sense that the organisation is harvesting the employee’s potential rather than harnessing it.
We have all heard the term “Employees are our assets” but what do we do with our assets? We depreciate them by stretching them and stressing them to the limit and treat them as a disposable commodity. Assets need to be nurtured and to do that you need to stop recruiting 'recruits'. You need to start identifying or spotting talent and use talent agents, not recruitment agents working for talent agencies. I can see some of the readers frowns and think, is this some sort of gimmick. What can a small change deliver?
A small change like this might appear insignificant but it also demonstrates intent. An intent that can then be used to create a structure on how you would behave differently. It answers the question of why you want to change to talent spotting as it is the first step that the organisation can take. Language is not a channel that not only allows us to communicate but also form concepts and shape our thinking and essentially influence and or alter behaviour. Language helps us perceive the world and that determines how we behave as a result. If we want to truly address the issue of retention, engagement, let us start by spotting talent and nurturing.
Compaira was set up to make not just recruitment but talent management better. Fancy a chat to know more? Why not contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org