Do Creative Job Titles Inspire Workers- by LinkNow Media Have you ever had a Sandwich Artist serve you at your local Subway sandwich shop? Perhaps you’ve heard of Disney’s Imagineers? Some people find these creative job titles amusing at best, but others, like the London Business School professor Dan Cable, believe they can energize workers and improve their overall labor experience. In most companies, job titles don’t generate a lot of excitement. They are mostly viewed as a way to standardize job positions and in a way, measure your professional growth. But according to Cable, job titles can and should do more than that. In 2014, Cable surveyed a number of employees from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Employees were encouraged to come up with fun titles that would supplement their current job titles. The result: employees felt that these creative titles made it easier for them to cope with the emotional challenges they faced everyday as they helped the families of terminally ill children. Cable followed up with a more in-depth study, researching employees from a hospital chain. Again, employees were prompted to come up with creative titles that captured the essence of their jobs. For example, an infectious disease specialist came up with “germ slayer” and an X-ray technician retitled his job as “bone seeker.” When Cable and his group of researchers compared the different group studies, they noticed that the employees who had been encouraged to retitle their positions had experienced lower levels of emotional exhaustion and felt more validated within the company. Cable’s conclusion matched his theory, “Rather than viewing titles solely as sources and reflections of formality and rigidity or mechanisms of bureaucratic control, our research suggests that titles can be vehicles for agency, creativity, and coping.” Since then, Cable has continued to study the benefits of job retitling and along the way has created a methodology companies can use to jumpstart retitling initiatives. The technique consists of two fairly easy steps. Number one, employees are asked to reflect on their job’s purpose, like for example, what values does the job promote. Employees are also asked to think about what parts of the job they do well and what parts of the job they do differently from their colleagues and/or competitors; these are also known as identity questions. Once these questions are answered, employees move to the second step, where they brainstorm potential creative titles for their existing job position. Part of the brainstorming session includes asking for ideas from other employees and getting input from their superiors before they decide on an official new title. What’s interesting about Cable’s methodology is that the actual creative title is not the most important thing. What really produced psychological benefits is the self-reflective process employees are asked to dive in to. Most of the time, we’re so busy with our own day-to-day operations that we easily forget the big picture – the real meaning and value of the job title we hold. Up to this point, Cable’s methodology has not proven to work in every organization. Most companies that employ this kind of job retitling technique are either start-ups or giant companies like Disney and Google. But who’s to say other companies can’t try it out? According to Cable, the best way to start is with a small employee unit, that way you can scope out what the acceptance rate will turn out to be. All in all, creative job retitling is an effective HR technique that deserves at least a shot. At the end of the day, it’s the only kind of company re-branding that will cost you at worst, nothing, and at best, it might inspire your employees to be more engaged in what they do.