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Exaggerated positions

Many companies in attempt to lure new employees offer them bumped-up jobs that do not match the real duties. Often this simple trick works quite well: companies hire necessary specialists, and specialists themselves having acquired the right to be called vice-presidents, department directors, etc. are motivated to work energetically and with responsibility. But sometimes "seducing by a position" has unpleasant consequences for a company: new employees do not cope with their duties but nevertheless require salary suitable for their exaggerated positions.

Unpopular measures

Unpleasant consequences of "seducing by a position" as a rule consist in the following. A new company with small staff begins to "hand out" job titles in order to attract specialists.

So at first both the management and the company are pleased with the work performed by new-made exaggerated financial officers, project managers, etc. But when the company starts to grow and top management functions become more complicated, the quality of work of such employees suits the company no more. At the same time false directors generally think of no importance whether their skills and duties match given job titles. But they are keen to make sure they earn as much as their counterparts in other companies.

There is an opinion that such problems occur mainly in small Russian companies, especially in those that started business in 90s. But it is not so. European and American companies as well as Russian ones experience problems with exaggerated positions.

A typical example is an American company Employco. In the very beginning, when company staff consisted of ten people on average, Employco management decided that made-up job titles allow to attract qualified workers, save on salary and benefits and make the company look more respectable. But with time when there were already 17 thousands of employees in Employco, many top managers were not able to cope with the duties. Someone was lacking education, someone did not possess necessary professional qualities, etc.

Finally the president of Employco Rob Wilson had to take unpopular measures. Firstly, it was quite evident that the company policy concerning job titles should be reconsidered. In this case, as Wilson said, "there is always risk to say goodbye not only to the position, but also to the employee."

Secondly, the situation in the company became even more complicated when Employco began hiring really qualified specialists to fill management positions. At that time several sales vice presidents had been already working in the company. So when one more person filled a similar position, other vice presidents were outraged. “But there has been no one really talented manager and leader among vice presidents yet, - Rob Wilson explains. – It was a necessary step for the company.” As a result Employco had to pass through a crisis concerning staff rotation and resentment of employees, that no doubt negatively affected the company business.

Wage work power

According to the research conducted by, almost 80% of employees who claim that they are underpaid in fact are paid more than they deserve or their salary matches their duties or job title does not reflect at all the amount of work. At the same time 30% of employees hold positions which titles do not match functions. There are managers among them that manage nobody and nothing except their own time, and their positions by no means fit in corporate hierarchy.

But not only company executives are guilty slathering bumped-up jobs. The matter is that nowadays labour market in Europe and in Russia is in such a condition that job seekers can be more discerning than employers. “We live in time when everything is focused on qualified work force, - an American expert Sharon Jordan-Evans comments the situation. - The battle for talents is in full blast, it means that wage workers have more choice and more power.” So company directors in many occasions have to flatter the vanity of talented specialists and offer them jobs with pretentious titles. Otherwise it is impossible to attract them.

No problems

But how to avoid troubles with forced demotion of employees? One of the methods recommended by specialists consists in standardizing professional requirements necessary for replacement of a certain position. Besides, many “replaced” workers can be satisfied with one-time monetary compensation or even with extra vacation.

But there is a more intricate method – replacement of general job titles by more concrete ones. For example, a person was an account executive and became a risk management consultant. It looks not less respectable. But due to a more concrete title it will be more difficult for an employer to find difference in salary if he decides to compare his wages with those of employees of another company. Moreover, when hiring this method allows to define more clear criteria to candidates for positions, and candidates can understand what exactly employers need.

At the same time employees are less upset about demotion if this demotion concerns many of the workers and is standardized. For instance, marketing company Richards Group started creating new positions actively because of business expansion.

It collected oneself only when there were 20 executive officers, and besides a bad regularity revealed: the more senior positions are created, the more employees demand promotion. In order to find a way out, the management took firm measures: all 20 directors simultaneously got the same position of a manager. Many employees especially “veterans” who worked in the company for many years reacted quite negatively.

But anyway no one left the job. Moreover, in some time the employees of Richards Group generally began paying less attention to job titles and more attention to their duties.

On the other hand, there are companies that give out pretentious positions and that makes them no trouble. As the general manager of trading company “Cameo” Anthony Calabin said, salary and duties are discussed with a potential candidate during a job interview, and employee can choose the title of his hob himself, of course, within due limits.

"Someone likes to be a vice president, someone prefers to be a department director, - he tells. – That’s up to them. It motivates them well. But salary is paid for the work done and not for their job titles written on their business cards. At the same time our staff list does not correspond to reality. I will never tell our employees what positions they take according to the staff list."

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