Thursday, October 11, 2012

Your Job Title on Business Cards: Does it Still Carry Weight?


Today's companies are requiring more multi-skilled workers who can fit different company roles for different business situations. These workers are often called 'generalists'. Generalists are seen as workers who can do a lot of things and may be really useful employees to grow into a certain role down the line.
One coding engineer in Silicon Valley recently wrote about this very topic and how it can bring good benefits to companies. "Companies need to understand the value of someone who can figure out how to do new tasks, not just hire people who can do the tasks already identified," he wrote. "Every company has people who they hired to do particular things because they can do them. The spectacular companies also have a large percentage of individuals who thrive on taking on new challenges and exploring new frontiers."
In startups, this is especially true, as many job roles and job titles are flexible in the early days, and everyone is expected to pitch in where and when they can. Overnight coding session? No problem! Finalize the app process on Saturday? Sure! Today's multi-skilled workers seem tailor made to helping to bring down traditional job hierarchy.
However, as workers grow into their roles, certain aspects of jobs are required by workers in an organization. Here are a few ways that employers can help to grow recognition toward employees.
Pro Job Titles
Most employees want to have solid, professional job titles, not the kind associated with Web startups like "Top Marketing Hondo" and "Big Code Dog." While these may be hilarious in the early days for those workers, having a title like that may not get you a foot into your next job.
You want a job title that not only accurately describes the work you're employed to do, but also a title that reflects your rank and seniority within the organization. Stick with well-constructed and descriptive job titles for employees, that clearly designates these attributes.
Good Business Cards
It doesn't cut it enough anymore to expect to have your own employees print business cards online. Employees now expect a business card that's professional with a company's logo, website, name, job title, email and social media contacts. Even if your job doesn't involve a lot of networking professionally, the cards you can distribute to friends and colleagues in a social setting can perhaps lead to a business contract for your company in the long term.
Business cards also give a sense of identity to workers. If a firm is without business cards, it can lead to fewer opportunities to connect when outside the office. it also lessens a business's marketing presence to be without business cards.
Identifying Cross-Departmental Skills
If your company does indeed hire multi-skilled generalists who can adapt to other work situations, then set up a cross-department knowledge transfer system. Have these generalists move temporarily to other departments to learn how that department's work translates into the overall company mission. It can be an eye-opening experience for the worker, and a helpful addition of new eyes and ears to the other department.
Using aspects of professionalism from larger companies can be a bonus to new employees at smaller companies. Consider some of the tips above in your own company.


Anthony Thomas comes from a long line of small business owners. Growing up in the Topeka area, his family operated a small chain of fast-food restaurants. He studied business management and works as a consultant and freelance writer.

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