my name is

By Charles Coy

Job titles are having a moment. Business analysts call themselves “data wranglers.” Marketers are “brand defenders” and “growth hackers.” Salespeople are “customer success managers,” and the list goes on.

Human resources professions are no exception to this new-title takeover — and for good reason. HR roles are drastically different from what they were even 10 years ago, thanks to remote workforces, digitally savvy job applicants, and constant connectivity. Maybe it’s time we sunset the term “HR” altogether.

But, to borrow from Shakespeare: Would HR by any other name function as well?

Many companies and employees believe it would and have changed their titles accordingly. Here’s a look at some trending names that are replacing human resources:

  1. People Operations: It doesn’t get much simpler than this. The term has gained popularity among tech companies, including Google, Slack, Uber, Instacart, and Square. “Find them, grow them, and keep them” — that’s the motto Google uses to describe PO’s function.
  2. People@: Facebook uses this term to describe the team that focuses on three HR goals: “Hire the best people, foster continuous personal growth, and enrich the overall Facebook experience.”
  3. Employee Experience: At Airbnb, roles that impact employee health and happiness fall into this category. Open positions in the department include head of diversity as well as belonging and internal events coordinator.
  4. Employee Success: This department at Salesforce includes traditional HR roles like recruiters, but also incorporates some newer positions like business analysts who work with IT to build and manage internal HR apps.
  5. 5. Partner (Human) Resources: OK so Starbucks hasn’t totally made the switch, but it’s clear that the coffee retailer is moving “human” out of the spotlight. This department includes positions from diversity and inclusion manager to senior business systems analyst.

As some HR departments get a name change, so do the individuals who work in them. Employee communications platform GuideSpark has a VP of people and culture; Pley (“Netflix for LEGOS”) employs a chief people person; and healthcare provider CVHCare has an employee happiness cultivator on the payroll.

Whether or not these names will stick is up for debate, but there’s no doubt that technology will continue to push HR in new directions.


Charles Coy is the senior director of analyst and community relations at Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD), a leader in cloud-based applications for talent management that helps organizations recruit, train, manage, and connect their employees. He thinks a lot about how technology can influence how businesses evaluate, motivate, and value their employees—especially in light of the rapid changes happening in today’s workplace. Coy can be contacted at


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