Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing what a style guide is, and why it’s so important for your company to have one.
A style guide creates and defines the standards for your company’s internal and external written communications. And while there are many benefits to having a centralized resource and training tool, it all comes down to the primary goal of ensuring that your brand is communicating consistently, accurately, and with a single, unified voice.
Style guides can vary in form, ranging from a detailed comprehensive guide to a simple reference sheet. No matter how robust or streamlined, your style guide should include the following key topics:
We are covering each of these subjects in a weekly blog post (links to previous posts in the series are above). Today’s topic is about industry terms.
What are Industry Terms?
Every industry has its own set of terminology, lingo, and commonly-used acronyms. Whether you work in finance, fashion, technology or hospitality, there is a vocabulary that is unique to that industry. Verbiage preferences can also vary from company to company even within a single field.
Within the world of human resources, there is a wide range of nomenclature, specific phrases, and jargon to learn. Some common HR industry term examples include:
- Technology: HRIS, HCM, ATS, LMS
- Hiring: staffing, recruiting, talent acquisition, retention
- Jobs: job posting, job description, competencies
- Benefits: health and wellness, healthcare benefits, COBRA
- Regulatory agencies: DOL, EEOC
- Tenure: employee lifecycle, onboarding, development
- Development: training, professional development
- Compliance: OSHA, FMLA, FSLA
- Termination: attrition, turnover, exit interview
- Engagement: corporate culture, organizational culture
3 Reasons to Include Industry Terms in Your Style Guide
Reason #1. A list of terms provides newcomers with the information they need.
It’s important that everyone who is crafting content for your company understands the meaning of your industry terminology and knows how to utilize it correctly. Including a glossary of key terms, their definitions, and examples of proper usage in your company style guide will help get new team members up to speed quickly and shorten the learning curve.
Reason #2. Consistency is always key.
Ideally, everyone in your organization should refer to the process by which employees are recruited and hired using the same term. That’s especially true in your content. For example, a single blog post should not use the terms recruiting, recruitment and talent acquisition interchangeably. There should be an agreed-upon single term your company uses to refer to that process. Otherwise, your readers will have to shift gears every time they come across a different word.
Reason #3. Proper use of terms demonstrates insider knowledge.
There’s a difference between employee relations and employee relationships. Employee relations is the working relationship between employees and the organization. Employee relationships are relationships between employees, and often refer to more than “just friends.” Any HR professional knows the difference. If you use these terms in the wrong way, your credibility is immediately lost. And, when you understand the difference, it sets you apart.
Identifying industry-specific terms that are commonly used in your field and including it in your style guide helps ensure that everyone in your company is communicating consistently and accurately. And when industry terminology is consistent across all forms of communication, your audience will receive – and understand – the message as it was intended.
Tune in next week for style guide topic #4: what SEO elements to include in your style guide.