Layoff Euphemisms

Posted by: Jena McGregor on November 17, 2008

This post from the great Bob Sutton, whose “No A**hole Rule” became a management book sensation, is a good one. He compiled all the euphemisms going around for getting canned—“rightsized,” “streamlined,” or my personal favorite, “offboarded.”

Reminds me of a pitch I got the other day from Braithwaite Communications, a Philadelphia-based communications firm that was writing to sell me on an article written by their president oxymoronically titled “Straight Talk During Tough Times: How to Communicate an RIF to Your Employees.” Since when is an RIF straight talk? (That’s reduction in force, for any corporate-speak novices.) Why can’t companies just call layoffs by their rightful name? Making a painful process a little more human, and a little less coldly clinical, could go a long way, indeed.

Reader Comments

Hugh Braithwaite

November 18, 2008 4:40 PM

Jena, you're right. RIF has become common to many but not all. Simpler is always better when communicating tough news.

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