There are plenty of corporate phrases that make staff roll their eyes, but two particularly terrible ones have - quite literally - won an award for being the absolute worst.
“Not aligned to the legislative requirements” and “voluntary employee separations” have been named the worst corporate doublespeak phrases in the Plain English Foundation’s 2019 Worst Words of the Year awards.
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The former was first used when insurer NIB illegally rejected thousands of health insurance claims.
Rather than deeming it “breaking the law”, the company admitted its processes were just “not aligned to the legislative requirements”.
Over in Europe, when Ford announced it would be cutting labour costs earlier this year, rather than saying its employees were being made redundant, it simply said they would go through a “voluntary employee separation”.
“These are classic examples of spin that downplay a far less pleasant reality,” the Foundation’s executive director, Neil James said.
The worst buzzwords of the year
Buzzwords are particular words that trend at a particular time, and in the post-Banking Royal Commission environment, businesses loved the term “friction”.
So much so, that it was named the worst buzzword of the year.
“With ‘frictionless customer experience,’ ‘friction’ became one of the buzzwords of the year at a major retail conference in New York. We can only hope that it slips out of use without resistance,” the Foundation said.
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