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an article recently on the 12 Words You Can Never Say In The Office– from a technology stand point, because they’re so outdated (i.e., Intranet, Push-Technology, Web-surfing, etc.).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:
- RIF (Reduction In Force) – also don’t use downsizing, right-sizing, layoffs, involuntary turnover,trimming the hedges, weeding the garden, pruning the tree, etc.
- Pay-Cut– also don’t use compensation-redesign, salary-reductions, wallet-right-sizing, adding-to-the-corporate-bottom-line, etc.
- Hiring-Freeze– I prefer Hiring-Frost, not as scary as freeze, you get the feeling that Spring might come.
- 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.
- Early-Retirement– also don’t use getting-rid-of-the-older-higher-paid-workers.
- Work-Life-Balance– Thank you Jack Welch!
- Diversification – Also, don’t use our-current-business-sucks-so-we-have-to-turn-the-Titanic.
- Budget-Reduction – All the people hear is that I need to start hording office supplies. Instead use “Horde-office-supplies” – it’s more clarifying.
- Pro-active – Just means you’re being “reactive” but want to look like a good manager.
- 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.
- Brainstorming – This is usually followed by an explanation of how we can do-more-with-less, also don’t use out-of-the-box.
- 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?