Beware of Desensitizing Acronyms

Most of us tend to over-use the special acronyms that are familiar to us and our colleagues in the same industry or profession.  They are useful for confirming membership in HRthe group and for excluding outsiders. (You know them.) But they often create a barrier to communicating effectively with a wider audience that is unfamiliar with our jargon.

On the other hand,  there are two widely used acronyms we have a habit of using that enable us to avoid really connecting with the issues: HR and CSR.

How did we ever arrive at calling employees Human Resources? They are people, right? That's a perfectly good word.  What consultant or accountant thought we would manage them better by describing them like capital equipment.  People are more complicated. They all have different aptitudes, abilities and interests. They have families, health and financial concerns, personal objectives and career plans. People we can relate to and empathize with.  They are not assets to be used and written off.

CSR

And we now have a lot of attention on corporate social responsibility, but we immediately desensitize business leaders and operating managers by calling it CSR.

Like it's a software product. So it gets delegated to the marketing and public relations department to keep those annoying socially responsible employees and customers happy and out of our way.

Why don't we just say, "Stop pollution!"  Or "Be kind to our neighbours" and "Protect the planet!"  Those are clear and easy to understand as socially responsible behaviour.

Let's stop hiding behind the acronyms.

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