Bad for morale

The people (you know it was a committee) who dreamed up “morale booster” probably had their employees’ best interests at heart. Yet it’s come to connote “too little, too late,” “PR opportunity for management,” and a whole lot of other negatives.

Other good terms gone bad include:

Creating synergy. One of a “grab-bag of phrases that fill in for actual ideas, goals or know-how,” says reader Alba Brunetti.

Work with me. “Lower your rates to fit my wee budget.” (Jenna Schnuer)

Operational excellence. “Layoffs and massive budget-cutting” (Sarah Maxim). Used to be called streamlining or rightsizing.

Teachable moment. “You fucked up.” (Sophia Dembling)

Please add to the list!

A four-word social media policy

Every organization now has a social media policy, and most of them boil down to the same thing: Don’t be an idiot. For some reason, companies feel compelled to spell out every form that idiocy might take. IBM’s guidelines include items like “don’t pick fights” and “don’t pretend to be someone else;” Kodak suggests you “know what you are talking about.” Coca Cola goes even further, specifying that “it’s not okay to violate other people’s rights.”

It’s as if, instead of saying the dress code is business casual, companies are telling their employees to wear pants. Does the nature of social media somehow lead to corporate overthinking?