HomeEmployee ExperienceEngagementEmployees feel disconnected at work due to corporate jargon

Employees feel disconnected at work due to corporate jargon

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Almost a third of office workers see their manager as less genuine when they use corporate jargon

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We’ve all been there – a colleague uses a strange bit of office jargon that makes you inwardly cringe. Whether it’s suggesting a “paradigm shift” or calling a meeting a “blue sky brainstorming session,” some business phrases just give us the ‘ick.’

Though we may chuckle at silly corporate terminology, exclusionary language use at work points to a more serious issue. Relying too heavily on complicated, industry-specific vocabulary can potentially alienate employees, reduce morale, and undermine team cohesion.

As we communicate in the workplace, we must be conscious of how our words, especially confusing phrases or inaccessible jargon, impact connectedness. While terminology serves a purpose, plain speak builds relationships. With some more careful language choices, we can prioritize inclusivity.

New research by BRITA VIVREAU reveals that corporate jargon is limiting employers’ and employees’ ability to be authentic, leaving workers feeling disconnected and less likely to start conversations at work.

  • A quarter (25%) of office workers said corporate jargon makes them feel disconnected from their colleagues
  • Almost a third (31%) said it makes them feel less confident speaking to senior colleagues
  • More than half (53%) are more likely to use corporate jargon when they’re in the office

“Corporate jargon is all too common in the workplace but can be exclusionary and leave employees feeling left out – creating barriers between them and their colleagues. This will often result in ineffective communication in the workplace, which can be incredibly costly for employers,” says Eloise Leeson-Smith, leading Linguist & Language Expert.

“In fact, a recent report from Axios HQ estimated it can cost over £11,000 per employee in lost productivity. So, with communication between colleagues now taking up 72% of the work week, it’s no surprise that employees and executives cite that lack of effective collaboration and communication as the main cause of workplace failures and frustrations.”

According to BRITA VIVREAU’s research, working somewhere that uses a lot of corporate jargon would result in 29% being less likely to start conversations with colleagues, and a quarter (25%) being less likely to speak up in meetings and less likely to ask questions at work.

Corporate jargon has an even bigger impact on Gen Z employees, with 38% being less likely to start a conversation with colleagues and 32% being less likely to ask questions. Almost a third (30%) feel that corporate jargon is used in the workplace for the sake of it, and that senior managers are the worst offenders (45%).

“For any company wanting to foster a workplace culture of inclusion and prioritise staff mental wellbeing, creating opportunities for employees to communicate and connect authentically is essential,” says Leeson Smith.

Watercooler moments are important

Employees want to have authentic, in person conversations with their managers and colleagues. More than two thirds (68%) said that being told well done in person by their manager feels more genuine than an email to the whole company (25%) or a voucher (10%), According to BRITA VIVREAU’s research.

Almost half (48%) of office workers said they have their most authentic conversations with colleagues in the office when making a tea or coffee.

The water cooler is indispensable in facilitating genuine conversations and relationships in the workplace.

Office workers said that water cooler conversations make them feel more part of a team (33%) and help them establish relationships with colleagues (43%). More than a third (34%) said they’re most likely to start a conversation with a senior colleague when they’re getting a drink at the water cooler.

“We want employers and employees to benefit from the every-day water cooler moments. While these brief moments in the day may seem unimportant, the water cooler is where some of the most genuine conversations happen in the office. These in-person conversations have a meaningful impact on how employees feel towards their team and company,” says Chris Dagenais, General Manager, BRITA VIVREAU UK.

“Water cooler moments facilitate more hierarchical conversations and help colleagues establish relationships and feel more part of a team. BRITA VIVREAU water dispensers can help businesses of all sizes to create a space in the office that encourages these more authentic conversations.”

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