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Employees disconnected at work due to corporate jargon

New research 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.

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

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%).

Most overused phrases by employers, according to employees:

  1. Touch base
  2. Legend
  3. Quick win
  4. Deep dive
  5. Drill down
  6. Superstar
  7. Circle back
  8. Deliverables
  9. Synergy
  10. Bandwidth

Eloise Leeson-Smith, leading Linguist & Language Expert, explains: 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.

“In fact, a recent report** 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.

“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.”

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%).

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.

Chris Dagenais, General Manager, BRITA VIVREAU UK, adds: “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.

“Water cooler moments facilitate more hierarchical conversations and help colleagues establish relationships and feel more part of a team.

*Research by BRITA VIVREAU

**Research from Axios HQ

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