From CBS News:
(MRK) president Mark Timney recently sent his U.S. employees a memo which contains at least 12 different euphemisms for the company's planned job cuts and layoffs in October, but doesn't actually mention the words "jobs" or "layoffs."
Merck should be praised for talking openly about the fact that it needs to reduce its workforce by 13,000, in addition to the 17,000 jobs it vanished as part of the acquisition of Schering-Plough. Timney, however, appears to have swallowed a thesaurus of business-writing cliches before he began his email. At one point he describes layoffs as an "opportunity":
... the opportunity for employees in the aforementioned select areas to proactively "hand raise" and be considered for separation. Timney's other don't-mention-the-war maneuvers included:
"reducing our expense base." "manage our expense base" "vacancy management" "restructure" "removing more open positions" "necessary actions" "we cannot promise the avoidance of such activities." "restructuring exercise" "affected employees" "the people who are directly affected." "the need for us to change our underlying operations"
Timney also seems to be a little bit confused as to whether Merck's employees ought to challenge the status quo or follow the company's "unchanged" strategy (a strategy that required a U-turn from Merck's previous strategy of refusing to cut costs): Our strategy, which remains unchanged, reinforces the need for us to change our underlying operations and enables our ability to grow. Rather than waffling about the need for unchanged change, the entirety of the memo could have been reduced to a couple of sentences if Timney had written them in plain English. cbsnews.com November 16, 2011
And x number of people are being “managed for value” = fired