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Home > News > November 2006 > 08 November 2006

Managers urged to ditch needless management-speak

More than half of UK employees (54%) have given management jargon, such as 'think outside the box' and 'the helicopter view', the 'thumbs down', saying it is a problem in their workplace.

According to the poll - conducted by YouGov to mark the 15th anniversary of Investors in People - employees have a low opinion of colleagues who use management jargon. Over a third (39%) of those surveyed think it betrays a lack of confidence and almost one in five (18%) think people who use it are untrustworthy or trying to cover something up.

The research suggests that jargon can create a barrier between managers and their teams. While over half (55%) of senior managers think jargon is harmless, four in ten (42%) employees think that it creates misunderstanding about roles and responsibilities. Over a third of employees (37%) say it results in mistrust in the workplace and makes people feel inadequate.

Commenting on the findings, released on the first day of Investors in People Week (6-10 November), Nicola Clark, Director at Investors in People (UK) said: "The research gives bosses an invaluable insight into the impact of management jargon on the workplace. Whilst it can be a useful shorthand at times, managers need to be more alert to when and how they use it.

"Cutting jargon out of everyday communication is clearly a challenge, with almost half (48%) of employees that use jargon admitting to using it without thinking. However, as our research shows, if used inappropriately, jargon can be an obstacle to understanding, which ultimately can impact on an individual's performance and an organisation's productivity.

"Bosses need to lead by example, ditch needless jargon, and concentrate on communicating clearly with their employees."

Other results from the survey include:

* Employees are more likely to experience jargon in larger organisations than smaller ones: fewer than one in five (19%) of people in organisations of 2-49 employees say jargon is used at their workplace while two thirds(65%) of people in organisations with 5,000 or more employees say it is used where they work

* 52% of people in large organisations (1,000+ employees) say use of jargon is increasing, compared to just under a quarter (24%) in small organisations (2-49 employees)

* The use of management jargon is higher than average in local government, where well over half (56%) say it is used in their workplace, compared to just over a quarter (27%) in the retail sector and just over a third (35%) in the construction sector.

Investors in People was launched in 1991 with the aim of helping organisations improve their performance, and ultimately their bottom-line, through the management and development of their people. Initially, 25 organisations were awarded Investors in People status - this has grown to 37,000 organisations across the UK.

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