What’s in the ‘Job Title’
– In the RAT Race-
Ms. Veronica Bhatia – Manage, HR (India)
Mr. John Richardson – CEO (BS Inc)
Mr. Tony Gottlieb – VP (HR), Corp. Office @ HQ @ BS Inc, New York
Mr. Arminder Dhillon – MD (India)
Veronica Bhatia, Manager – HR
Berries Smartphone Private Limited [Indian Unit of Berries Smartphone Inc.]
Veronica Bhatia has overall experience of over 15 years & is working as Manager-HR since March 2010. She is having over 15 years of experience in HR. Veronica takes care of end-to-end HR [Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Talent Development, Organization Development, Compliance, etc.]. She also manages few global HR interventions.
SIX Indian HR Team members report into her. Functionally, she reports to Tony Gottlieb, Vice President – HR based out of Corporate Office and Headquarters of Berries Software Inc. [BS] in New York, USA. Administratively, she reports to Arminder Dhillon, MD, India of BS.
The Berries Hierarchy
Global Leadership Team does not interfere with local structure and designation nomenclature.
On her 2nd Annual Performance Review during 2012, she requested Arminder, MD (India) to change her designation to Assistant General Manager – HR without any change in the compensation. She feels that it will place her as a peer to her other colleagues with similar work experience & titled as AGM/DGM. Further she is also of the view that her compensation is already at par with existing AGM’s and DGM’s and as such change in the job title should not be an issue. Mr. Arminder listened to her request & advised her to rout her request through Mr. Tony. Accordingly she has sent a mail to him requesting the change of her designation to AGM.
Tony & Veronica on the Skype
Tony called Veronica for a Skype meeting. After the initial courtesies exchanged, he inquired into ‘what’s actually going on in her mind?’ and asked her to explain in detail.
She explained to him with clarity that people with similar experience as that of her in India is designated as AGM / DGM. She being titled as MANAGER is at times creating times of discomfort in communicating with AGM’s / DGM’ as they view her title to be their junior in spite of fact being that she is a part of the local leadership team & heads the HR.
On hearing this Tony expressed his surprise by saying – “Why do you want to become an “Asst. to General Manager (AGM)” when you are in a much senior role as MANAGER. And he was sure that even Mr. Arminder will be upset on this. In case you are looking at ‘additional signing authorities to sign on certain documents etc. in the absence of Mr. Arminder, it will be considered and it doesn’t require a change in her title to AGM.
Veronica got surprised as she got to understand that AGM means “Asst. to General Manager (AGM)”. However, she quickly got back into the moment of the meeting and told –
“I already have the authority to sign Appointment Letters, Bank Cheques, Bank Guarantee, Official Documents, etc. It is not about authority. The issue here is about the local hierarchy and social cultural issue. In India, AGM is considered as higher in hierarchy than Manager.”
By this time, Tony was bit irritated as he could see a clear gap of cultural communication and understanding. Consequent to this, the discussion happened on these lines:
The Q & A Session between Tony & Veronica
Veronica is Happy….!
Post the meeting, she sent an email to Arminder under a copy to Tony regarding the change of her job title to Senior HR Business Partner. Consequent to this she evolved out of the thought of being in the rat race of hierarchical promotions in India and focused her strengths on taking up the responsibility as “Regional Manager HR – Asia” in the future.
The Facts on the Flip Side
- Veronica was one among the top-15 highest paid employees [out of 350 employees in India] of Berries Smartphone, India.
- Her role impact will be on 350 employees.
- She was handling global HR assignments
- She was coaching leadership team in India.
Having come this far into the story, many of us might have also come across such employees who ‘Job Title’ is MANAGER, but hardly have any impact. In fact there are MANAGER’s who are confined to ‘Individual Contribution roles’. In view of this, one has to understand that ‘Job Title’ is not about the designation that the individual carries. It has more to do with –
- The span of control,
- Scope and impact of the role and
- Compensation that should matter the most.
Should you have a view to share, please do reflect on the following:
- If you were Veronica, does the ‘Job Title’ matter to you?
- Does designation really matter considering the fact that ROLE & its IMPACT is what matters?