Headcount (or “heads”) : amongst themselves bosses never use the terms team members, workers, employees and other more familiar terms to describe employees. Instead the term “headcount” is used.  “If we do not make our quarterly number, I’m afraid we’ll have to reduce HEADCOUNT (or simply referred to as “heads.”) to compensate for the lack of revenue.” I guess it sounds better than saying, “we’ll have to layoff a bunch of workers.”

One comment on “Headcount

  1. […] Headcount A long time ago within a leadership meeting that I shouldn’t have been in based on my lack of seniority but somehow got invited to; I heard the business buzzword headcount being used frequently. It was not long before I realized that the buzzword “headcount” referenced workers and furthermore, the phrase that I kept hearing in this meeting, “headcount reduction” was code for layoffs. “How did such a nebulous term–headcount, come about?” was the first question that came to mind. I mean, would it be easier to use the more universal term employee or worker? And the answer came screaming to me within seconds of the question—to generalize, desensitize and ultimately dehumanize people. But why would corporate executives want to do that? To take the sting out of the decisions they make that have a significant impact on someone’s life—like layoffs. And what’s really disturbing is that headcount is institutionalized within the corporate structure – particularly within the human resource department of an organization. […]

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