Magazine article Training & Development

Hot New Job Titles for Trainers (and Others)

Magazine article Training & Development

Hot New Job Titles for Trainers (and Others)

Article excerpt

What's in a name?

Well, if it was up to you, wouldn't you want to be the vice-president of cool?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, said the Bard. In that light, is "intangible asset appraiser" just a fancy name for HR manager? In other words, do some new job titles reflect a change in the actual work? Or, do they just paint the lily?

In the HR and training arena, there is no doubt of a newfound focus on workplace learning and performance. Job titles are bound to change in accordance. In fact, one could say that the title of HR manager supplanted the title of personnel manager as the scope of the job expanded. Now, a trainer or HR practitioner is likely to be called a performance consultant, echoing the shift from what employees need to learn (training) to what they need to do (performance).

Jim Robinson - a principal along with Dana Gaines Robinson of Partners in Change, a consulting firm based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - says that he thinks performance consultant is the most popular new title for trainers. "We see it a lot on people's business cards now."

Robinson says that he has also come across the titles performance advisor, client interface manager, and relationship manager in the organizations his firm works with. A corresponding phenomenon, says Robinson, is the performance team - typically made up of a training consultant, delivery person, and instructional designer with the goal to support one or more strategic business initiatives.

It may be a chicken-versus-egg question (as in, which came first?), job titles and corresponding department titles aren't what they used to be. Walk down the hall looking for the training or HR department and you may find these words on the door:

* Support Services

* Training Excellence

* Skills, Strategy, and Vitality

* HR Capacity and Business Planning

* Personal and Professional Development

* HR Effectiveness and Education.

Those are just some department titles used in companies belonging to the Benchmarking Forum of the American Society for Training and Development.

It also appears that job titles in training are becoming more specific - such as, professional development specialist, process improvement coordinator, and database integration training developer. Such titles leave little doubt as to the job focus.

Technical & Skills Training magazine ("EPSS: Unlocking Its Potential in Your Organization," by Barry Raybould, February/March 1996), points to several titles that are replacing the terms instructional designer and training manager. They include performance support specialist, performance support developer, and performance support manager - all tied to EPSS, electronic performance support systems. AT&T is now calling its instructional designers "knowledge engineers."

Director of deluge

In business in general, new executive titles are cropping up - such as, chief learning officer, chief knowledge officer, and director of knowledge management. All reflect the challenge of organizations in dealing with the torrent of information crucial to survival. It's as if a huge fire hydrant opened and no one can find the valve cap; someone has to control the flow.

But does a chief learning officer need the same skills as a chief information officer? Not necessarily, according to the New York Times article "In the Executive Alphabet, You Call Them CLOs" (February 4, 1996). It quotes an executive recruiter who says that information officers manage technology-based systems while a learning officer might not know a database from a diskette. The purview of the learning officer is broader and somewhat blurred around the edges, in a way that offers opportunities to capture knowledge through new avenues or to think of solutions through new perspectives.

Lest you think that the title of chief learning officer and its knowledge-officer cousins are bogus, most CLOs earn between $300,000 and $700,000 per year - not to mention their own acronym. …

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