12 Words You Should Never Use In HR – During A Recession…

Tim Sackett Culture, Engagement and Satisfaction, Tim Sackett

Business Week has an article recently on the 12 Words You Can Never Say In The Office– from a technology stand point, because they’re so outdated (i.e., Intranet, Push-Technology, Web-surfing, etc.). This got me thinking of those things we shouldn’t be saying as HR Pros around the office because of what commotion we might stir up.

Here’s my list:

  1. RIF (Reduction In Force) – also don’t use downsizing, right-sizing, layoffs, involuntary turnover,Shut_up-thumb-200x200-1405611trimming the hedges, weeding the garden, pruning the tree, etc.
  2. Pay-Cut– also don’t use compensation-redesign, salary-reductions, wallet-right-sizing, adding-to-the-corporate-bottom-line, etc.
  3. Hiring-Freeze– I prefer Hiring-Frost, not as scary as freeze, you get the feeling that Spring might come.
  4. Furlough– First off, no one really knows what the hell Furlough means anyway – in actuality it’s derived from a Dutch word meaning temporary leave from prison – so, it actually does work well for HR to use! Sorry – you CAN use this one.
  5. Early-Retirement– also don’t use getting-rid-of-the-older-higher-paid-workers.
  6. Work-Life-Balance– Thank you Jack Welch!
  7. Diversification – Also, don’t use our-current-business-sucks-so-we-have-to-turn-the-Titanic.
  8. Budget-Reduction – All the people hear is that I need to start hording office supplies. Instead use “Horde-office-supplies” – it’s more clarifying.
  9. Pro-active – Just means you’re being “reactive” but want to look like a good manager.
  10. Heads-Up – As in “I want to give you a heads-up” this is never followed by the phrase “everyone is getting a pay increase!” – it’s always followed by bad news. Think of baseball, when someone yells “heads-up” it means you’re about to get hit in the head – it means the same thing when HR says it. Also, don’t use In-the-loop or going-forward.
  11. Brainstorming – This is usually followed by an explanation of how we can do-more-with-less, also don’t use out-of-the-box.
  12. Career-Counseling– also don’t use your-job-skills-have-diminished-to-the-point-we-can-off-shore-your-job-to-a-10-year-old-in-Turkestan.

What word would you choose?

Tim Sackett
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.