BEP 257 – English Collocations for Discussing Staffing (2)

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on discussing hiring and staffing needs.

At the heart of every great company is a great staff. But how do you get a great staff? How do you make sure you have enough of the right people in the right places to make the business a success? These are important questions that you need to answer when discussing staffing needs. Not just because labor is one of the biggest costs for most companies, but because people are the real backbone to any business.

In today’s dialog, you will hear the speakers use many different expressions that we call “collocations.” A collocation is simply a natural combination of words. Native English speakers commonly use these collocations as “chunks” of language, because it’s actually easier to remember them as a chunk than as individual words. For example, in business you might hear the expression “fixed costs” for business costs that don’t change from month to month. People don’t say “unchanging costs” or “solid costs” or “same costs.” Those just aren’t natural collocations. Everyone says “fixed costs.”

As you listen to the dialog, try to pick out some of these English collocations and we’ll discuss them later in the debrief.

In the dialog, we’ll rejoin a conversation between three managers at a fiber optics company. The company is planning to manufacture a new product, and they need to decide how to staff the project. You will hear Carla from finance, Hank from HR, and Paul, the production manager for the new product line. Last time we heard these three talk about hiring new staff or bringing people over from another division. Today they’re talking more specifically about the number of people and costs.

Listening Questions

1. How did they get the lead engineer for the new venture?
2. How does Paul think the company can save some money on hiring for the new project?
3. Why does Hank think it will be difficult to hire new workers?

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