Change the way you talk about older workers

Taskmaster This article first appeared on August 31, 2011.


We’ve got a cracking manager here at Taskmaster Enterprises who has been with me from the day I started this business.


He’s seen every up and down in the industry, he’s dealt with all sorts of people problems and there are few client issues he hasn’t seen. Whenever I have a problem, I know I can go to him for a bit of wise counsel.


But after reading something written recently by Richard Branson, I’ve realised I might have made a mistake in the way I treat this worker.


Branson – himself an ageing worker – is obviously big on branding and says one of the simplest ways to embrace older workers is to change the way you talk about them.


“Perhaps instead of thinking of and describing some of your employees as ‘older’ or ‘aging,’ use such words only in connection with wine, whiskey and fine cheeses. A much better way to describe a person who has been working hard for decades is ‘more experienced’.”


I’m sticking my hand up on this. We often joke about this manager as being old and while he never seems offended, it’s clearly sending the wrong message.


Get it done – today!


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