HR jargon? It’s just an insult to our intelligence

Scottish Power HR director Paul Pagliari has attacked incomprehensible jargon as an unnecessary obstacle that prevents personnel professionals from achieving their objectives.

Pagliari singled out the term human capital as an “insult to employees that sends out all the wrong messages”.

He told Personnel Today, “I think inappropriate use of terminology that line managers do not understand should be avoided at all costs.

“You cannot be on a crusade where no-one understands what the crusade is or what the result will be when you win.

“This is the big problem with some of these buzzwords. Instead of re-inventing HR they are re-inventing the terminology of HR.

“You can write a lot of things down but words are cheap and what counts is whether or not you deliver.”

Earlier this year, a Plain English Audit survey found “human capital” is the third most hated piece of jargon among business writers (Personnel Today, 4 April).

Worst examples of HR jargon

• Corporate alliancing

• Critical mass

• Supplier deflation

• Operationalisation

• Drive cycletime

• People pipeline

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