Title Creep

Our local school district recently hired a new official.  Her title is “chief of innovation, improvement and human capital” for the school district.

You may be scratching your head about what a job with such a high-flown title entails.  Well, her position replaces the “human resources director,” and a release from the school district says the official will “serve as a key leader and facilitator in bringing staff together through collaboration, guiding the organization to grow and learn, and engaging the community to reach the district’s vision to be one of the most innovative and high performing districts in the nation.”  That’s clear, eh?

Reading between the lines, it sounds like she’s supposed to help teachers improve and thereby help the school district’s performance.  My guess is that her actual performance criteria focus on those subjects, which really is the acid test.  What else would she be evaluated on?  Hey, what kind of “return” did you achieve on that “human capital”?  Had any good “facilitations” lately?  What have you done to make the community more “engaged” in reaching our “vision”?

In many workplaces, we’ve seeing a form of “title creep,” as people try to come up with new, more impressive-sounding names for the same old jobs.  Banks led the way; long ago descriptive job names like “tellers” and “loan officers”  were replaced with empty titles like “assistant vice president for lending relationships.”  The “personnel manager” became the “human resources director,” which apparently now has given way to “chief of innovation, improvement and human capital” — but has the job really changed at all?