Words to keep inside the HR boardroom


I was at my dentist last week…always fun (not really) and after gazing into my mouth he turned to me and asked: “are you an aggressive brusher?” I responded with: “I don’t know what that means”. Which got me thinking about the words we use in HR, that when used outside of HR mean, well, not much. So here is my first cut at words to leave inside the HR boardroom:

  • Talent Management. This one takes the cake. No one, I mean no one, knows what the heck this means.
  • HRIS. Is an acronym. Avoid avoid avoid. Spell it out for people.
  • Intervention. So we get this, but most others think you are going to gather their family members in a circle and confront them about their drinking habit.
  • Systems thinking. This one is right up there with talent management. I get what this means, you get what this means. No one else does. Business people use words like alignment and integration.
  • Strategic HR. Just stop using this one. We should all be doing work that is aligned and driving our businesses forward. If you’re not, then outsource yourself or change.
  • OD guru name dropping (think Senge, Buckingham, Lencioni, Kotter). Start incorporating Buffett, Drucker and Welch so folks can relate to you.

5 responses to “Words to keep inside the HR boardroom

  1. Good points – every profession has its own ‘lingo’ and I know it’s frustrating for me when I hear someone speak in their special langauge – so why would hearing us speak in ours be any less frustrating? Some of the terms we use are just silly – such as Talent Management – I’m with you…what the heck is that? Strategic HR is another – I’m not particularly fond of Bench Strength either. How difficult is it to just say we are looking at our current needs and figuring out which roles we need to prepare for in the future?

  2. I don’t mind “bench strength”, yes it is a term ported over from sports but its context in sport is addressing a HR issue. Plus it is a term that all guys will get, even the “finance” type guys, the ones not normally HR focused.

  3. Mark – good point. Benchstrength is a good one – we can take that one outside the HR boardroom.

  4. I suppose that’s true…I just don’t see the connection between weight-lifting and HR . Not sure what they have in common…but hey, who am I to argue. I guess for me; I just don’t see it being relevant to HR…but that’s just me. Obviously, it does indeed have it’s place. Thanks Mark – (and Suzanne) appreciate the insight.

  5. I like the concept of more good govt. ,

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