Traffic-light colors inform employees of job status

Is this the worst internal communications idea you’ve ever heard of? Or is it a stroke of genius? And what is that red light supposed to symbolize? That your whole life stops if you’re laid off?

Green light! Your job is safe. Red light! Not so fast.

That’s how the Daily Telegraph characterized the way Everything Everywhere, the name for T-Mobile and Orange’s joint telecommunications venture in the United Kingdom, let employees know last month whether their jobs were safe in a big reorganization. The changes could lead to up to 30 percent of middle managers losing their jobs, the Telegraph reports.

“The presentations were made in public in front of between 30-60 colleagues,” reporter Rupert Neate wrote. “Some employees are thought to have had no idea that their jobs were at risk before the humiliating public meeting.”

In an e-mail response to, Everything Everywhere called that characterization “sensationalist and insensitive.”

A company spokeswoman said managers met individually with employees and “the full implications of these changes were explained to them personally.”

Although the company got “at least part of it right” by informing employees of the possibility of layoffs before the ax fell, use of the color codes was “ill advised” and showed “a great deal of poor taste and insensitivity to employees,” says Robert Holland, owner of Holland Communication Solutions in Richmond, Va.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.