What is it about job titles?

They seem to immediately create an identity and status crisis for many people in the workplace. At iovation job titles have never stood in the way of employees expressing themselves or feeling valued—that’s because we all have two titles. iovation staffers each have an “official” title (if you go for that kind of thing) and an alternate title that we choose ourselves. Inside the company those alternate titles provide a glimpse into someone’s personality and they express how we actually relate to one another. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Executive Napkin Artist
  • Cheap Bastard
  • The Knife
  • The Automator
  • Captain Crunch
  • Deviser of Binary Perception
  • The Voice of Reason
  • Something to Do with Computers
  • Chief Yak Barber

No one really remembers why or how iovation adopted the practice of alternate titles but they’ve been with the company since day one. Now it turns out, that when it comes to employee satisfaction and well-being, we were doing something right all along and there’s scientific proof. According to a study just published in the American Academy of Management Journal, allowing employees to create their own job titles reduces stress, burnout and overall emotional exhaustion.

Dan Cable professor of organisational behaviour at London Business School and co-author of the report, noted in a recent Business News article that self-reflective job titles tend to reduce formality and hierarchy in a business, which makes people feel better and less threatened at work. He further notes that they think the main reason these self-chosen titles are important is that it gives people a chance to rethink what’s important about their work and what they bring to it that is unique and valuable.

Here are a few more of our employee’s alternative titles:

  • The View-Master
  • Cyber Ninja
  • The Universal Adapter
  • Digital Gumshoe
  • Bit Meddler
  • Better Mouse Trapper
  • Word Herder

Others have also taken notice and adopted the practice. For example, when investigative crime reporter Chris Willis from KGW Newschannel 8 stops by to interview us for news stories, he addresses himself as “The Informer” and kindly greets “The Go Getter” (Amy) at the front desk, requesting to speak with “The Connector” (me).

At iovation, when you’re a new hire, it’s a great ice breaker because you can ask someone, “So what does a Rhythm & Grooves Sculptor actually do?” You get insight into their work and sometimes hear stories about how that alternate title came to be. Also, no one is stuck with their alternate title forever—they can change over time.

Do you have an alternate title? Tweet us at @iovation and tell us what yours is, or a great one you’ve seen.