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Tech execs need new titles for the hybrid workplace

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter where we share the latest tips, tools and insights to help you stay informed about the modern tech office. Today: The future of HR leadership, "geo-neutral" pay and possible relocation pay cuts.

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—Amber Burton, Reporter (twitter | email)

The Big Picture

Your future C-suite title might not exist yet

Jeff Schwartz, the vice president of insights and impact at Gloat, is no stranger to the new titles companies are adding to their growing roster of executives. His own title did not exist just a decade ago, and prior to joining Gloat, an online talent platform for the workplace, Schwartz was a senior adviser for the future of work at Deloitte.

Schwartz said he's seen a majority of new leadership titles pop up in HR, where companies are dealing with new employee needs. He sat down with Protocol to chat about why executive titles are changing and how they reflect our evolving workplace.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Why are we seeing so many new executive titles, especially when it comes to HR?

These roles in one sense reflect the new things that we're doing — markets, digital, wellness experience [and] purpose being some examples. Titles we didn't really have in the same way before. We may have had a health coordinator doing OSHA coordination, but we didn't have a wellness officer.

The second way work is changing is that work is becoming more multidisciplinary, and we see this in the titles as well. One of my favorites we see is chief talent and purpose officers. That's a good example … so within HR, work is becoming more connected, more multidisciplinary.

The third theme that we're seeing is that work is becoming more cross functional. So it's not only that the work and job and titles are changing. Much more of the work that we're doing is team-based, much more of the work we're doing is dynamic.

What trends have you noticed in terms of the new roles that are being created by companies?

There is a trend to put the words, digital and data in almost as many roles as possible. But that's not a surprise because it's a new core capability. So whether you're in HR, or finance, or operations, or R&D, the level of digital proficiency and the levels of data proficiency that you need are growing.

The other thing we're seeing is the growing understanding of the importance of the non-technical skills. We used to call them soft skills … At the same time that we've seen a rise in the digital and the data skills, we've also seen an increasing demand for problem solving, emotional and social intelligence, communication and the other one which I think underlies them all, which is the ability to work on teams.

Are some of these new titles being put in place to help solve for the "Great Resignation" at their respective organization?

This is one of the mega-trends that we're looking at now. So we've all been looking at the "Great Resignation," "the great resume tsunami," "the great retirement" … Organizations are also asking themselves, what can we do to create a world of opportunity inside our organization? So the challenge for business leaders, and C-suites, and obviously, HR and talent is to create that world of opportunity inside the organization.

Work Spot

What is geo-neutral pay?

More tech companies are offering geo-neutral pay -- offering the same compensation despite geographic location. The reason? The candidate is king right now. In the past, leaders could enact cost-of-living adjustments if an employee wanted to relocate out of a metropolitan city and they'd get little pushback. Now, in a tight and competitive labor market, candidates are more apt to take another job with better compensation and the ability to work remotely from anywhere in the U.S. This move toward geo-neutral pay has also made it easier for smaller tech companies to compete with large companies for top talent. "If you're a software engineer and you're talented, there's not a great reason why you shouldn't be paid the same if you're living in San Francisco versus if you're living somewhere else in the U.S.," Andrew Boni, CEO of Iterable, told Protocol.

Read the full story here.


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Today's Tips and Tools

Friday's tips are all about work-life balance. For those of us who have yet to be granted a four-day work week or are dealing with burnout, there are few tech tools that can help lighten the load.

  • Try a meditation app — there are many meditation apps on the market that will allow for you to take just a few moments out of your day to take a break and recharge. Some of the most popular apps include Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer. While some of the apps offered are free, check with your company or your health insurance provider to see if either offers a subscription to any of the services. Tech subscriptions promoting mental health have become a popular benefit offered by companies.
  • Slow the flood of incoming emails — apps like Boomerang plug into your email and allow you to banish select emails from your inbox and schedule them to come back to you at a more convenient time. Boomerang is free and can make sure important emails don't get lost in your inbox on the busiest days. You can also use the Snooze feature in Gmail, Outlook and other popular email programs. Here are more productivity tips designed for anyone juggling a variety of projects and deadlines.
  • Take the analog route — set a timer or reminder to get up from your desk throughout the day. Experts say that moving your body throughout the day (other than walking to the fridge for the fifth time today) helps with managing anxiety.

By the Numbers

Some tech workers are feeling the pay cut

Despite more companies coming around to offering "geo-neutral" pay, some employees are saying they still expect pay adjustments based on location. A recent survey of over 4,000 professionals conducted by Blind found that 46% of workers said their companies adjusted pay for those who moved out of the city where their job was located. Here's what else they found:

  • 24% of workers said relocated employees' pay had not yet been adjusted at this time, but they believe it will happen in the future.
  • 30% of workers believe that their companies will make no changes to their compensation packages despite relocation.
  • A vast majority of survey respondents reported that they would reconsider their employment if they were faced with a pay cut. 68% said they'd consider going to another company if their salary was reduced.


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Work Perks

Highlights of the most popular benefits and perks offered in tech and who's offering them.

  • The four-day workweek — 2021 has brought a lot of new perks to fit employees' new hybrid work life, but one of the buzziest has been the four-day workweek. More businesses are piloting four-day workweeks as they try to woo some of the top talent in tech. For some tech companies, the four-day workweek looks like working 32 hours a week, while for others it entails taking off Mondays or Fridays. Among the companies that have launched or piloted shorter workweeks are Wildbit, Shopify and Cisco.
  • Free mentoring and professional coaching — Free, on-demand coaching services have become a popular perk among tech companies seeking creative ways to support their employees outside of the physical office. Apps like Bravely, BetterUp and Marlow offer confidential management coaches. Twilio currently has a partnership with BetterUp and Autodesk offers Bravely to all its employees.
  • Spontaneous gift giving for top performers— Days off or extra coaching don't suit your fancy? Try gifting a car. According to former employees, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has a tendency to reward his direct reports with a Cartier watch or bracelet if they impress him. Oh, and then there was the Aston Martin car he reportedly gave now-CMO Sarah Franklin. You read that correctly. How's that for solving your "great resignation" problem?

Around the Internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

  • What does "flexibility" actually mean when we talk about the future of work?
  • Be careful that your hiring managers aren't falling into "superwoman schema," expecting Black women candidates to save your workplace culture problem.
  • Is burnout what's behind the "Great Resignation?"
  • One fun tweet: Here's what remote work expert Chris Herd thinks remote work will look like in 2030. (That's less than 10 years away. Let that sink in.)

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com. Have a great weekend, see you Tuesday!

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