Download the Jagon Bingo Card
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.
More worryingly, the research suggests that jargon can create a barrier between managers and their teams. Demonstrating the potential 'desk divide', over half (55%) of senior managers think jargon is harmless, whilst 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.
Almost two thirds of employees (60%) would prefer no jargon at all at work, yet, with over a third (39%) saying that its use is on the rise, the problem looks set to grow if left unchecked.
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 the following:
· 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 to help 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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Notes to editors
1) "Management jargon" refers to specialised language (words and phrases) used within the workplace.
Some examples of common management jargon include:
· 'Blue-sky thinking'
· 'Singing from the same hymn sheet'
· 'Heads up'
· 'Think outside the box'
· 'The helicopter view'
· 'Get our ducks in a row'
· 'Joined up thinking'
· 'On the runway'
· 'Brain dump'
Investors in People have produced a jargon bingo card which you can download at www.investorsinpeople.co.uk
2) YouGov interviewed a nationally representative quota sample of over 2,900 working adults throughout UK & Ireland between September 29th-October 3rd 2006. Those who are self-employed and work on their own were excluded. The full sample has been weighted to the known profile of the GB and Northern Ireland population.
Investors in People:
· This year's Investors in People Week marks the start of the organisation's 15th anniversary celebrations.
· The Investors in People Standard provides a framework for improving business performance and competitiveness through good practice in human resource development.
· An organisation that has achieved the Standard has been successful in adopting and maintaining its three fundamental principles: Plan - developing strategies to improve the performance of the organisation, from business goals to leadership strategies; Do - implementing those strategies, taking action to improve the performance of the organisation; Review - evaluating and adjusting those strategies, measuring their impact on the performance of the organisation.
· The Investors in People Standard is promoted and developed by Investors in People UK - a public body whose main stakeholder is the Department for Education and Skills.
· The Investors in People Standard is delivered by a partner network:
1. In England, the network of Investors in People Regional Quality Centres. 2. In Scotland, contact Scottish Enterprise (SE) or Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for details of the Investors in People Standard.
3. In Wales, the Business Skills Delivery Team at the Department for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Welsh Assembly Government.
4. In Northern Ireland, the Department for Employment of Learning delivers the Investors in People Standard.