The joy of jargon busting

Does this mean anything to you?

Leadership workforce planning:

  • enabling prediction of supply and demand
  • upskilling all user groups on how to undertake required workforce planning
  • providing a clear understanding of supply demand and inform recruitment and retention strategies.

If you are a human resources professional it may do. But what if you are not?

This was written for a non-HR readership. It is an extract from a draft information sheet outlining a strategy to develop leadership skills across a large organisation (names with held to protect the innocent).

My client sent me this for editing/rewriting, or ‘waving the Lu magic wand over it’ as she put it. As I waded through columns and columns of similar dot points I rubbed my hands in glee; I hardly understood a word and my inner jargon-buster was looking forward to the brain-hurting challenge. Strange I know, but I really do love translating bureau-speak to plain English.

For this one I actually had to sit with the client and get her to talk through each point.

This is how I rewrote those dot points:

Improve workforce planning

Develop our leaders’ skills in workforce planning to ensure they can identify and plan for the workforce we need. This includes considering current and future trends, understanding global and local contexts, predicting supply and demand, and recruiting proactively.

Jargon is a useful shorthand with your colleagues, but it’s worth road testing with people outside your sphere before publishing. Or better still, get your self a jargon-busting editor (not mentioning any names.)