This blog uncovers and defines the absolute worst HR and Corporate Buzzwords and Jargon…

Once upon a time in Corporate Landia people spoke in plain English. Yes, that’s right (we are not kidding) and then somehow (not sure how) over time, it would appear that all the people who worked in the upper echelon of Management felt they needed to create a whole set of buzzwords and jargon to make them seem really really smart. Like waaaaaaaay smarter and better than people who worked in non-management roles. >Insert snigger<. This in turn created a culture of aspirational wanna-be’s in the lower ranks adopting said buzzword talk and so it began.

The history of business buzzword talk is rich, it’s been going on since the industrial revolution and HR people probably take the cake for using some of the stupidest buzzwords of all.

That’s why at HR Gurus we are committed to debunking the HR loser myth. That is, not all HR practitioners are totally annoying and downright farcical. Some of us are in fact extremely commercial, outcomes focused and good at listening! I know you are all sniggering right now, but it’s true. This is our ethos… straight-talking HR experts is what we are. That’s why every HR Guru on the team needed to escape from Corporate Landia where they were being consumed by the traditional HR machine that is generally completely dysfunctional if not downright bloody soul destroying.

Having worked in corporate HR for 12 years, I know what I am talking about. I was continuously told off for “not fitting in”. Oh sorry for actually having a personality and wearing colours other than navy guys!

I actually got chastised in a performance review for…

a) Having too much fun at work; and

b) Not wearing appropriate clothing that represented what a HR person should wear.

Seriously, was I still at High School? I was totally perplexed, defeated and frustrated but I trudged on carving out my career and attempting to earn my stripes. But alas, the harder I tried the more I died on the inside. I even got my desk moved once for having too much fun with a colleague! Um hello, do you have any problems with the actual quality of my work, or the outcomes I delivered? No – it’s not about quantifiable results it’s more so about our judgemental perception of you. I actually felt I was envied by my superiors and colleagues because my clients actually liked me! OMG who would have thought a HR person could actually have any friends, or be seen as someone who is fun! One of my key objectives as a HR person, was and is, to always make sure I understood my client’s business. I spend lots of time shadowing people and even working on the production floor (if necessary) to ensure that I can grasp their internal processes, challenges and yes sometimes even their lingo!

And there-in lies the problem! Where is the line drawn? On one hand as HR practitioners/Consultants you want to talk in a language that your clients understand and this requires us to some extent learn a whole other language when we deal with different industries, as each of our clients to some extent have an internal lingo that generally creates their unique culture. This lingo can range from tradie talk right up to serious Corporate Jargon, so wherever you are you need to ensure your tempering your language to ensure your audience can pick up what you are putting down! Get it… But doing this and staying true to your convictions of no jargon can sometimes be difficult.

We have all been subjected to corporate jargon, hell we are all guilty of using it sometimes. So let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used HR & Corporate Jargon with some handy definitions and realistic interpretation for good measure…

  1. People & Culture – really means Human Resources but trying to make it sound cool (not working guys)
  2. Talent Management – literal meaning but extremely fancy way of saying we care about our really awesome people and we are trying to manage their careers
  3. Talent Acquisition – Code for recruitment
  4. Talent Pools – Database or stable of candidates/awesome people
  5. Right sizing – Restructuring which is really code for making poor bastards (normally dead wood) redundant
  6. Change Agent – someone who tries to make changes but normally fails
  7. Organisational Development – Twats who talk in code and are known to use pretty much every buzzword listed here, known for achieving not much at all
  8. Business Partner – Try hard HR person who thinks that they are part of the business but not really
  9. Centre of expertise – normally ineffective department who are good for nothing but like to think they are really high and mighty
  10. Ivory Tower – Workers reference to corporate head office twats
  11. Learning Culture – code for we pretend to care about people and whether they are learning
  12. Innovator – someone who has great ideas but never implements them
  13. Moving Forward – filler commonly used by twats who want to sound savvy
  14. Thinking outside the box – someone who challenges all the crap ass processes in an organisation
  15. Synergy – working together with someone or something
  16. Symbiotic – Positive relationship but realistically normally in Corporate land it is one sided
  17. At the end of the day – OMG kill me now!
  18. Let’s car park this – OMG kill me now basically this is code for please stop talking so I can keep talking
  19. Watercooler games – bored people gossiping in the halls
  20. Smell test – to see if something is a crap idea or not
  21. Critical path – the easiest way of doing something
  22. Low hanging fruit – really insignificant changes/outcomes that are cherry picked by lazy people who want to appear to be really innovative or productive
  23. Bandwith – the amount of time and resources needed for a project (OMG insert vomit noises)
  24. Take this offline – code for please shut up you idiot
  25. Brain dump – Let’s get all the crap out of our heads onto some butchers paper so we can appear busy
  26. Pain points – the gripes of the masses
  27. Single source of truth – Is this is really crap idea or not?
  28. Paralysis by analysis – You are really annoying just make a decision and stop dithering
  29. Gen Y – The generation old farts blame for everything also interchangeable with lazy

So there you have it! A totally honest and practical buzzword definition list that every HR person, consultant and anyone in business can relate to! If you need HR support minus the Corporate Jargon and hoop-pa-la then you have come to the right place! Call one of our straight-talking HR experts today.

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