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Top 20 Most Annoying Buzzwords and Phrases in the Workplace

While today’s workplace is awash with buzzwords and cliches, certain terms and phrases are more common — and grating — than others, according to an Accountemps survey of human resources (HR) managers. “Dynamic,” “deep dive” and “leverage” were among the most overused and annoying business buzzwords cited by those polled.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 600 HR managers at U.S. and Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

“Clarity is still king when communicating in the workplace,” said Bill Driscoll, New England district president of Accountemps. “Jargon tends to confuse, not clarify. It’s generally best to avoid the tired cliches and trendy buzzwords in favor of clear, straightforward language.”

Managers were asked, “What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the
workplace today?
” Their responses included:

  • “Out of pocket”
  • “Deep dive”
  • “Forward-thinking”
  • “Dynamic”
  • “Let me get back to you.”
  • “Pick your brain”
  • “Employee engagement”
  • “LOL”

In what may be a sign of both employee burnout and improved job prospects, some of the phrases suggest workers now feel more comfortable venting about their workloads and salaries:

  • “It’s not my job.”
  • “It’s above my pay grade.”
  • “When am I going to get a raise?”
  • “I am overwhelmed.”
  • “Crunch time”

Some buzzwords simply refuse to go away. These well-worn words and sayings also were cited in similar Accountemps surveys conducted in 2004 and 2009:

  • “Win-win”
  • “Value-added”
  • “Think outside the box.”
  • “Leverage”
  • “At the end of the day”
  • “Circle back”
  • “Synergy”

About Guest Author Accountemps

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 340 offices worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at accountemps.com.

We love hearing from you! Are there buzzwords or catch phrases you love or hate? Share them with us in the comments section below!

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