BEP 312 – Business by Phone 2: Discussing Staffing Issues

BEP 312 - Business English Telephone 2: Discussing Staffing Issues

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson about discussing staffing issues over the phone.

One of a company’s most valuable assets is its staff. A good staff can mean the difference between success and failure. But even with an excellent staff, every manager knows there will be challenges. I don’t mean big problems, just the regular, ongoing challenges of planning, hiring, training, and support.

Everyone knows the importance of communication skills in business, especially when it comes to HR and staffing. But effective communication is even more important on the phone, because everything depends on technique and your choice of words.

Discussing any sort of issue on the phone might start with informing someone, like your boss, of a problem or challenge. And when you do that, you should also be sure to show how you’ve taken ownership of the challenge. Of course, staffing costs money, which means dealing with issues might involve asking for budget approval. And, if you’re discussing turnover of staff, you might also have to outline retention strategies, or ways of keeping good people around. Finally, any time you present an idea, you’ll probably want to want to gauge support for that idea.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Cam and Annette. Cam is a production manager for Boston Vintage, an American clothing company with an office in China. Annette works in the China office, and she’s calling Cam to discuss some staffing issues. As you’ll hear, she’s dealing with the resignation of an important company employee.

Listening Questions

1. What does Annette say she could have done to avoid the issue?
2. What are Annette’s ideas about retention, or how to keep good people at the company?
3. Why does Annette ask about “head office” near the end of the dialog?

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2 thoughts on “BEP 312 – Business by Phone 2: Discussing Staffing Issues”

  1. These are great. I’m using them with the team of vice-presidents that I am teaching.

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