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Are job role and title inflation impacting your margins? Do you need the EXO, CXO, and D&I Manager?

Background Every day we see adverts for new roles with ever more esoteric titles and in some cases unclear roles and responsibilities. I imagine that the downsizing we are seeing in the tech companies worldwide is not typically coming from the front line, it is from the burgeoning middle.

yes despite all these new roles, 70% of all UK call centres are under-resourced and therefore mostly fail to deliver the service customers require.

I believe it was Jan Carlzon who said 'if you are not serving the customer, your job is to be serving someone who is" and that holds true today. EXO's CXOs, Diversity and Inclusion roles and CCO's litter recruitment websites and corporate structures. Yet, are these roles adding value or are they costly 'ministers without portfolio' sinecures for overstretched

management teams lacking focus on the number one goal of serving the customers?

How do you measure this?

I like the military term 'Tooth to Tail Ratio' ie the number of heads in the front line as a ratio of those not. e.g. 10 non-front and 100 agents. 1:10 or 10%. There is no rule of thumb but experience suggests if you have a ratio of more than 20% in a people-centric business something needs looking at. Pure digital businesses differ as they have few front-line staff.

Where to start?

Whilst it may be dull, time spent reviewing job role descriptions and deliverables/targets is often very well spent. It stops you from thinking about the person (we love Mandy she is invaluable) and focuses on value. It also allows you to look for clear blue water in roles avoiding overlap. For regulated roles, it also helps with the FCA's SMCR regime

Spans and layer analysis are always interesting. One on One reporting always needs to be reviewed. Front lines usually fare well here but less so in the corporate centre.

Role Test Example

Diversity and inclusion roles, teams, heads etc have seen a proliferation over recent times. As an advocate for inclusion and a speaker on the issue, I have been pleased to see the efforts made to focus on this topic. The question is, do job roles with such titles actually help or do they excuse managers by outsourcing the issue?

To the shock and awe of many, my conclusion is often that these roles do not add value for several reasons:

  1. There is no skill or qualification required for the role and the so-called 'experts' are often people with passion and interest in the topic which is great but it does not mean they will deliver change.

  2. Some of the D&I recommendations have been quick fixes and in some cases cause more damage than good - unconscious bias training is the classic.

  3. Becoming a welcoming safe environment for employees has to be led from the top and managers need to be trained and developed to be inclusive and have that embedded in job roles and measurement systems

  4. It's an executive comfort blanket or worse brand washing like the CEO attending Pride but doing nothing for the rest of the year

  5. The job role often has little influence or power so the D&I managers become frustrated and/or ignored often with unrealistic expectations

  6. Outputs are hard to measure so the justification is more about activity - busy people

Other Roles

I could write the same for other roles e.g burgeoning compliance teams 'protecting' managers from themselves! Too often have I seen compliance' experts' be out of date with current thinking, be convinced that technology doesn't help, protecting themselves not the business. Often it's better to get excellent external help at least to review what is in place before hiring more.


There is no right or wrong. I have seen really excellent people in D&I, compliance and other roles. However, talented resource is scarce and the current economic climate is very challenging, cutting where it will least hurt the customers is critical.

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