Alternatives to ‘re-humanizing’ business jargon

Businesses have seemed bound and determined to call employees anything but people in recent years. Here are some ways to buck that trend.

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It’s January, and for many of us it’s time to complete our annual self-assessments and undergo another round of performance reviews.

No matter how good a writer you are or how adept you are at crafting messages, it’s never easy to complete a self-assessment. Choose the wrong words, and you might not get a raise.

If only executives thought so carefully about words—particularly the words they use to describe the people who work for them. We’ve all been on the receiving end of a message that made us feel less like a human being and more like a replaceable part in the corporate machine.

Here are some examples, along with alternatives that can “rehumanize” the message.


“Employees are our most valuable resource.” “Let’s throw some resources at it.” “Resource” can refer to a server, a stapler, or a person. Instead, try, “Employees provide the most value to the company,” or, “Let’s assign additional staff to work on it.” That way, you acknowledge that people are different from staplers.

Human capital
(Also human assets)

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