Associate vs. Employee : Who’s Who and What’s What?
Posted on July 23, 2014 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
The HR Bartender, one of my favorite people, Sharlyn Lauby, asked everyone in Cyber, if they felt that the word “associate” should replace the word, “employee.” There is a poll and I voted not to replace employee with associate.
Further, a few responded, and of course, yours truly had something to say…
The word, “associate” as someone said before me, does imply that the person is somehow vested in a business and able to make some executive decisions as to how an organization operates. In my mind, an associate has more responsibilities and his or her status is closer to a vice president. “Employee,” describes a person employed to do certain tasks and garner a paycheck. “Employee” does not equate to “slave,” though there are some who may argue the point in jest. And yet, I believe this is the very reason why some organizations are calling their employees, “associates” so that they don’t feel like slaves. But that doesn’t have to be the case. And I don’t care what you call employees as long as you treat them with dignity and respect. You can call them kings and queens if you want, but if they are under-valued, and abused, what good are those titles?
I feel that some of my colleagues, or should I say, coworkers, raise an eyebrow when I use the word, “boss” to describe my supervisor. I’d rather use the word “boss” than supervisor, but I think some feel that “boss” sounds “bossy” and therefore rather passé. I don’t say to her, “Hey, Boss! How’s it going?” I call her by her first name. I think salutations depend a lot on the culture of the organization.
What are your thoughts?