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Intro to Job Titles
- Titles and PromotionsBen describes why Job Leveling is almost always necessary, the inherent risks with it (including the law of crappy people), and how to manage those risks with a strong promotion process. • Job titles become important for two reasons: employees need them for future jobs, and as companies grow, titles provide a shorthand for roles. • However, without proper management, titles can lead to issues like the Peter Principle and the Law of Crappy People, where incompetent people get promoted. The best way to mitigate these issues is through a disciplined promotion process, similar to how martial arts dojos promote students. • The promotion process should have clear definitions of skills needed at each level and compare candidates to existing employees at that level. • Ben reviews Meta's approach, where Zuckerberg gives lower titles to ensure fairness. Zuckerberg's approach forces managers to understand the leveling system, which boosts morale. Meta misses out on some candidates due to lower titles, but they may not be the right fit anyway. • Ultimately, a disciplined promotion process is more important than the actual titles given. It avoids internal inequities that can obsess employees.
How to Create Job Title Hierarchies
- Career Development: What It Really Means to be a Manager, Director, or VPWhile Dave is not a fan of many leveling approaches, he is a fan of defining the use of Manager, Director, and VP in job titles: • Managers are paid to drive results with some support • Directors are paid to drive results with little or no supervision • VPs are paid to make the plan
- TitlesGokul argues that CEOs should avoid giving out Director and VP titles as much as possible, ideally never. They should focus on recognizing employees based on scope and impact, not titles. Once titles are given out, it's hard to take them away, creating organizational challenges. • Titles can become a primary motivator for employees, who focus more on getting the next title than the actual work. Titles can lead to entitlement and politics, with employees asserting power based on their titles. • Gokul proposes using descriptive job titles for individual contributors and the generic "Lead" title for people managers. The "Lead" title satisfies employees' needs while avoiding the problems of Director and VP titles. It's easier to change someone's role from a "Lead" to an individual contributor, or have them report to a new "Lead," compared to changing Director/VP titles.
Job Title Case Studies
- Titles at Blend: Taking the road less traveledBlend takes a fresh look at traditional workplace practices, including job titles. Some of their tactics include: • Their CEO, Nima Ghamsari, believes that traditional titles are often misrepresentative and dangerous to Company Culture. Blend aims for Transparency and meritocracy as principles, but traditional titles are often given out as honorary rewards rather than based on actual responsibility and impact. Titles are also not consistent across companies so they are not a good indicator of a person's suitability for a role. • Matt Morgan, the article author and Blend's head of people, had an experience where honorary titles led to inequities and confusion about people's actual roles and responsibilities. • Blend's principles for titling are that titles should be descriptive, honorific titles are counterproductive, titles and Compensation should be decoupled, and ambition for titles alone is misguided. At Blend, titles reflect functional responsibilities and management levels, not perceived value or seniority. • While some employees want frequent promotions for recognition, Blend focuses on growth, impact and Compensation instead of titles.
- Untitled: How we use (and don’t use) job titles at AsanaAsana's Head of People Operations, Anna Binder, describes how they use job titles primarily to describe a person's role or the type of work they do, not to indicate level or seniority. • They use titles like "Lead" to refer to both people managers and individual contributors who run a function. People who run functions often use titles like "head of" to describe their role. • They use traditional titles in Job Descriptions to attract candidates and when representing Asana externally. They decided not to use titles internally to indicate level to avoid demoralizing people. • Asana values impact over titles, granting authority based on Accountability, not titles. Employees can have a huge impact regardless of their title through Areas of Responsibility. • They recognize titles may matter externally, so they empower employees to decide how to represent their roles outside Asana.