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James Mason

I agree that HR is in serious danger of falling into irrelevancy, but I don't think that the problem is going to be solved by simply changing the name; I believe that changing the name IS part of the problem.

Calling a person a Talent Officer, or an HR Officer, or a Snacky Snack Purveyor, or a Tracky Trails Blazer, or anything else is NOT going to solve the problem, although I just now realised that I probably should have licensed some of these names.

The problem is that we spend WAY too much time on euphemisms, and not anywhere near enough time on letting Personnel people deal with Personnel issues (which was a good enough back in the day, by the way). It's like the whole argument about TeamMember, Employee, ShareHolder, Owner, all that junk.

Back in the Day, I was one of the first people to jump on the "don't call them Employees, call them Team Members!" bandwagon. In fact, I believe I was the very first person to violate the rules of English grammar and punctuation and call them TeamMembers.

I've since gotten over it. Turns out that it doesn't seem to matter a helluva lot what you call people if they don't HEAR, FEEL, AND BELIEVE the respect behind the words you use.

Ask yourself this little question. Could you walk up to your very bestest friend in all the world, and call him, her, or it some wildly inappropriate word, like, oh, "%&@head" or something even a bit friskier, without even the slightest fear that this person would take umbrage at the term? Of course you could.

Try that with someone you DON'T know, however, and I suspect you'd have a bit of trouble.

And it's quite independent of your RELATIONSHIP with the person, although that has a lot to do with it. It has almost everything to do with the fact that the WORD itself has a meaning independent of its prima facie meaning.

My point, and it was laying around here a second ago, is that this new, and I think amazingly stupid trend, isn't gonna solve a DAMN thing. I don't care if you call them Chief Talent Officers, or Head Muck Tucks, or HawaKuKu, or Bob's Your Uncle.

Tom is right, and Jay is right, and so is everybody else who talks about C-Level authority being the ONLY logical step, but where I differ, and where the research supports the conclusion I'm making is on the whole naming thing.

It might feel a whole bunch more Disney-esque to call someone a Chief Talent Officer, and, if you feel that getting jiggy with Mickey helps sell your firm to high-producing people, then it's all good, and whatever works for them, I suppose, works for you.

Me, I don't care what you call me. Give me a job that pays me what I'm worth. Give me respect. Give me opportunity. Treat me right. You wanna call me "personnel," call me personnel. HR, that's fine too. CTO, hey, great. Finder of Lost Souls, that's okay too.

But at the end of the day, I need to know one thing, and one thing only. I need to know that, as the person in charge of finding, hiring, and developing the people that work for your organization, you are gonna back me up. That is what I need to know. And I don't really care WHAT you call me, as long as I know you'll back me up.

Warm Regards,

James E. Mason
Managing Partner
MasonMcRight Legal Recruiting & Support Services


Great post. I deal with HR folks all of the time and I am amazed at the level of competency that often goes unnoticed by the "C" suite. I believe HR is integral to the success of any company.

HR Manager Position

3 cheers to the post! HR is supposed to be the backbone of the company but still designation is unnoticed. The 'C' suite should focus on this part to better designate the HR.

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