When you hear these words, do you zone out? Do you hear “cost”? Only hear half of what is being said because you have already started to work on that pressing problem you have? You are not alone.
We all relate more effectively to people who speak ‘our language’. Doctors, Lawyers, IT Professionals and Engineers, for example, all have their own language. While their “buzz words” have deep or significant meaning, we sometimes get lost or lose interest very quickly if it is not communicated in simple terms that we can understand. Human Resources professionals have developed their own language too.
I earned my stripes in the fast paced environment of high technology. Our HR team was highly effective and made significant contributions to the organization and management teams’ success – how? If we were not able to show them how a program was going to benefit them (dollars and cents) they had no time to listen to us. So, since we had all these great ideas and didn’t particularly want to sit on our hands or at the back of the room, we learned to talk to them in their language. When I work with a lawyer, I know I much prefer to discuss the legal implications of a situation in plain and simple terms – my language – don’t you?
The good news is that Human Resources have become more and more of a strategic partner in organizations and that’s great because they can contribute in a way that means higher profitability, customer satisfaction, reduced costs and good communications on a company wide basis. They can impact positively on the bottom line.
In some respects, it is good news that in the transition from the historical HR model of policing to strategic partner, an HR technical language has developed. The bad news is that some HR professionals have not learned to translate programs to dollars and cents when working with their management teams, instead of using terms that are viewed as jargon. Even I call these terms HR buzz words. I recall meeting with a Senior V.P. for I.T. for the first time to introduce myself as his ‘new’ HR partner. The first thing he said to me was “tell me how you are different from all of the other HR partners I have had”. I answered “well, for one thing, you won’t ever hear me say things like ‘paradigm shift’ – it’s not that I don’t know what that is, it is just that I prefer to communicate with others in plain English”. His response was “Thank God!”
So, in a nutshell what do terms like “Employee Engagement, Organization Effectiveness, Organization Development, Leadership Surveys, Employee Satisfaction Surveys” mean?
They translate to a positive flow in EFFICIENCY, TIME, CASH AND PEOPLE, and the right HR professional can help you get that out of your organization.