Virgin on the ridiculous

Tomorrow's Business

Virgin Atlantic’s statement yesterday announcing more than 3000 job cuts is a classic of the genre. I do not mean that it was good.

The way to announce job cuts is to use the simplest language possible. To avoid the usual corporate claptrap. To explain why you are doing it and to say sorry. And to put the bad news right at the top.

You have to get past hundreds of words of guff before Virgin comes clean.

Until then it brags of its “vision” and its goal to be “the sustainability leader”. It plans to be “the most loved travel company”, words that today border on the delusional.

The people of Virgin, it brags, “are what sets it apart”.

If you were one of the people being fired, you might find this rather insulting.

Virgin goes on to claim that it will later make a “significant contribution to the UK’s economic recovery by providing essential connectivity and competition”.

Even while it is turning the lives of thousands of people upside down, it is patting itself on the back.

Richard Branson has been trying to persuade the Treasury to bail out the airline he founded. The statement today hardly helps make the case that this company deserves backing.

Couldn’t he get a loan from Virgin Money? If not, why should we take a risk they won’t?

It is not surprising that Virgin Atlantic had to make job cuts. But the way these things are announced says far more about how a company views its people than a thousand sermons about “values”.

There is no name or contact number at the bottom of the Virgin Atlantic statement.

Perhaps no one felt able to take all the credit for what is, in some ways, a masterpiece.

Certainly, PR trainers should save it as an example of how not to do it.

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