Trash Talk: ‘Onboarding’


Mortgage Monkey reveals the gibberish littering the industry’s press communications

Business speak of the week: ‘Onboarding’

Culprit: Recruiters, HR managers and marketing teams

Mortgage Monkey finds HR and marketing teams a reliable source of irritating jargon for this weekly column.

This time the term ‘onboarding’ has been getting on his nerves. If you haven’t heard it, some people use it to describe the process of getting staff ‘on board’ with a new system.

In other words, ‘training’ or ‘induction’.

But why use that tried-and-tested terminology when one can create a new verb and make it sound as though one is doing something really radical and innovative? Marketers use the term to describe getting consumers ‘on board’ with their brand or technology.

Monkey feels there is a passive-aggressive undertone to the concept. Is there not an implied lack of free will from the object of this ‘onboarding’, namely the customer or employee? An implicit threat that ‘You will be onboarded’ whether you like it or not.