Overview – Acronym busters
Acronym busters are a compilation of all the acronyms used by the organisation to ensure their meaning is clear for employees. Acronyms are part of the daily language of business. Acronym busters help foster improved employee understanding, particularly with new recruits or during mergers, to improve the effectiveness of the organisation’s communication.
An acronym is an abbreviation created from the initial letter of each successive word in a term or phrase. In general, an acronym made up solely from the first letter of each word in a phrase is rendered in all capital letters, e.g. ROI (Return on Investment). Acronym busters can be incorporated into a glossary to provide a comprehensive ready-reference communication guide for employees.
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Ensuring all acronyms used by the organisation are understood by the relevant employees.
✓ Building business literacy.
✓ Improving the effectiveness of any communication that uses acronyms by ensuring all employees derive the same meaning.
✓ Induction programs.
✓ Merger communications.
Things to consider:
⇒ Compile an alphabetical list of the organisation’s acronyms giving their meaning and examples of how they are used.
⇒ Publish the acronym buster on the intranet for ready reference.
⇒ Inform new recruits about the resource or provide them with a hard-copy.
⇒ Minimise the use of acronyms wherever possible to ensure clarity of understanding by all employees.
⇒ Always expand an acronym to its full meaning the first time it is used in a speech, presentation or article.
⇒ Include a side-box at the end of an article, or on the last page of a newsletter or magazine, listing all the acronyms used and their meaning.
⇒ Watch for word combinations that create unfortunate acronyms, such as Business Update Meetings.
⇒ Refer to Acronymfinder for commonly used acronyms.
Avoid using acronyms for change programs because it leaves the way open for employees to assign their own meaning to the acronym. This may not always be in the organisation’s best interests. For example, employees in a large company rebadged a change program called SPP (which stood for ‘Sustainable Productivity Program’) as the ‘Sacking People Program’.