In a recent study conducted by BRITA VIVREAU, it has been revealed that the pervasive use of corporate jargon in the workplace is hindering genuine communication between employers and employees.
The research exposes the detrimental impact of jargon on workplace dynamics, leaving a significant portion of the workforce feeling disconnected and less likely to engage in meaningful conversations.
Key findings from the study include:
- Manager Authenticity Eroded: Nearly a third (31%) of office workers perceive their managers as less genuine when employing corporate jargon in their communication.
- Disconnected Workforce: A quarter (25%) of respondents stated that the use of corporate jargon makes them feel disconnected from their colleagues.
- Confidence Erosion: Almost a third (31%) indicated that corporate jargon diminishes their confidence when interacting with senior colleagues.
- Jargon Usage Prevalent: More than half (53%) admitted to using corporate jargon themselves while in the office.
The research suggests that workplaces steeped in corporate jargon witness a 29 percent reduction in employees initiating conversations with colleagues. Moreover, 25 percent are less likely to speak up in meetings and ask questions at work.
Notably, the adverse effects of corporate jargon are even more pronounced among Gen Z employees, with 38 percent being less likely to start conversations and 32 percent less likely to ask questions.
Corporate jargon can be exclusionary
Eloise Leeson-Smith, a leading Linguist & Language Expert, emphasises that corporate jargon can be exclusionary, creating barriers between employees and hindering effective communication. Leeson-Smith warns that the cost of such ineffective communication can be significant, citing a report from Axios HQ estimating losses exceeding £11,000 per employee in productivity.
She states, “For any company wanting to foster a workplace culture of inclusion and prioritise staff mental well-being, creating opportunities for employees to communicate and connect authentically is essential.”
The Quest for Authentic Conversations
The study reveals a strong desire for authentic, in-person conversations among employees. Over two-thirds (68%) find in-person praise from their managers more genuine than email acknowledgments (25%) or vouchers (10%).
Water cooler conversations emerged as crucial for fostering genuine connections. Almost half (48%) reported having their most authentic conversations while making tea or coffee in the office. These interactions were seen as essential for team cohesion (33%) and relationship building with colleagues (43%).
What’s the solution?
Chris Dagenais, General Manager of BRITA VIVREAU UK, emphasises the importance of genuine conversations and introduces BRITA VIVREAU water dispensers as a tool to facilitate these interactions. The dispensers, providing still, sparkling, or hot and cold water, are highlighted as a sustainable and cost-effective solution for creating spaces that encourage authentic communication in the office.
Dagenais notes, “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.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.