Do You Write HR Jargon?

Earlier this month I received a totally unexpected and exciting email from a woman named Deb Silverberg.  Deb is part of the Social Communications team at AARP, dealing with financial security and work issues. She sent an email asking if I was  interested in becoming a regular guest blogger for AARP, addressing work and HR issues for the over 50 crowd.

The fact that I am over 50 and already blogging about work and HR issues is obviously an advantage for this kind of gig. 😉

In her email, Deb explained how she found me and that she had read some of my blog posts. She was particularly interested in me, she said, because ” your content was refreshingly void of HR-speak and jargon, which isn’t always easy to find in the HR world.”

HR jargon? No one really uses that, do they?

Sentences like

“The idea is to determine whether an innovation warrants further exploration, not to generate a business case or estimate ROI, as too little is known about the innovation to assess the business case effectively.”


. . .  strongest driver of improvement in performance within the strategy domain.”

or maybe

“With the apprenticeship scheme both parties are signing up to the idea of a structured training program, and you can really spend some time ensuring that the apprentice is building a full tool-box of techniques that will help them perform, whilst also not only developing best practice but also learning about how we do things here and fitting in with our approach rather than picking up bad habits or questionable ethics in desperation to bring in results.”

Yes, those are all examples from actual HR blogs. I could have added dozens, right?

There are other people in the HR blog world taking a stand against this type of writing. The people at the KnowHR blog are particularly great at speaking in plain English and speaking out against  the over-use of jargon. And The Cynical Girl Laurie Ruettimann recently wrote

We get it. You are smart. But blogs are meant to entertain.

HR jargon is not entertaining.

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