Hi All,
I am working as a Sr. HR of a service based company. In our organisation all are employees are either Btech. or MCA but the major issue we face is their communication problem in English. Most of the time they are suppose to deal with the customer but due to the lack of communication skills (in Listening/understanding/writing/speaking) they won't be able to express what they really want to deliver.
I need a help of Seniors on an urgent basis and want to know a step by step process so that I will be able to help our employees to improve their communication skills in "English".

From India, Delhi
I suggest a one day basic communication training program to be followed up by two days advanced communication training program after 1st and 2nd months. If you are interested, please advise your contact number, to enable us to follow up with you.

From India, Mumbai
Thanks Sridharan, But the management want it to be absolutely internal. So, I need the step by step process which I can apply over the employees and help them to improve their english.
From India, Delhi
Hi Akansha
This is a very relevant concern for any service industry. However there can not be any quick fix solution- you need to have a fair idea of the employees current level of proficiency, conduct training sessions with enough role plays and practice sessions, have scripts for professional interfaces with the customers which need to be shared with the employees etc ...and above all... the employees need to feel enthusiastic and motivated about learning to change . For that there needs to be ample information sharing / training on organizational vision/ mission and how the employees play an important role in shaping the same.
Please feel free to discuss further.

From India, New Delhi
Dear Akansha,

I have little different take. If communication in English was so important then why tests on English were not conducted at the time of recruitment? Why Group Discussion (GD) round was not conducted while selecting these job candidates? Who is responsible for this inappropriate selection?

Secondly, if all these employees are Engineering graduates, then they are associated with English since their Class I or in simple words for more than 17-18 years. What they did not learn in those many years will they learn now or will you able to teach them now? There is no evidence to prove that by teaching someone, one has acquired mastery over English. It is quite long drawn process and that too one should have inner urge for it and it cannot be thrust because of organisational requirement.

If customer satisfaction depends on the knowledge of English then is customer satisfaction impacting because of their poor command over English and if yes, then what is the cost of customer dissatisfaction?

Employees are the brand ambassadors of the company. Do these newly recruited staffs project wrong image of the company amongst the customers? If yes, then what is the cost of poor brand image?

By the way, has anyone given feedback to these employees on improvement of their English? Why not to give them target and tell them to improve their English at least now? Are they not responsible for their personal development? Is it that they will develop only if their organisation develops them?

My questions may appear very down to earth but I request you to ponder over these questions.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
I absolutely agree with Divekar, Why was The Language issue not taken into consideration in the first place? If communication in English was so important then why tests on English were not conducted at the time of recruitment? Why Group Discussion (GD) round was not conducted while selecting these job candidates? Who is responsible for this fiasco?
The intervention is likely to be a long drawn out process and for improvement to be reflected, the training should be linked to their performance metrics KRA's
Unless they realise the management is serious they are likely to take it lightly. You would only wind up wasting time, energy, effort and resource.

From India, New Delhi
See, learning English cannot be pushed down the throat once the students become employees. It cannot just happen. English learning, per se, should start from a tender age. At the age of 20s and 30s, we start thinking in our mother tongue and try to respond in English, which will be a total fiasco. If at all an employee wants to learn English, out of his own volition, then he can stand on his head and learn it. Whatever efforts you take, at this point of time, it will just be an exercise in futility.

I started reading English stories from the age of 10, which my father encouraged. Once a student becomes an employee, with other work pressure and commitments, he or she may not be able to focus his or her mind. Learning English is a different take.

I did a Diploma in Russian language, while I was in Central Govt in Delhi, in early 70s, because I had the urge to learn that language to change my career to become a translator or interpreter, as opportunities were limited then.

As my learned professionals opined above, at the time of recruitment itself, your company should have focussed on students or candidates from metro cities and elite colleges. Now it is too late, I feel !

From India
Dear Mr. Divekar,
If you have employees without english communication skills who have joined much before you take up the role of HR , you have no one to blame ...In these cases all you can do is try and train them to communicate in a better way and keep working on upgrading their skills.

From India, Mumbai

It is not a question of blame. In my earlier post I never blamed anyone. My focus was on loss of business due to poor recruitment. If you feel that these staffs are worth retaining you are free to do so. Nevertheless, what are the cost implications of their retention? Please calculate cost of customer dissatisfaction and cost of loss of brand image. Add up to this one more cost i.e. cost of training. Find out what benefits you would accrue and when you would accrue. Do the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA). Take decision based on the benefits.

Secondly, would you mind to give me example this formula of English training that has worked anywhere? Did the training improve customer satisfaction? Has it improved the brand image that took beating because of the low-quality manpower?

For every person there is a job and for every job there is a person goes the adage. Unfortunately management thinkers do not understand this simple rule of life. There are asses in this world and so are horses. Both animals are important their own way. However, one makes ass of himself or herself if he or she hires asses and and thinks by training it can be converted them into horses. Let us not utilise enterprise's precious resources that defy the basic law of nature!


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear Mr.Divekar,
I did not say that you have blamed anyone! I think you misunderstood.
When you commented on hiring mistakes ( without english test/GD etc), i just wanted to point out that if we have people who have been recruited before our time, you cant blame anyone for the hiring mistakes but still we have these set of employees for whom knowing verbal & written english is very important to carry out their functions effectively. So although it is tough the only alternative left is train them in better communication skills. The fact is that horses are required and so are the asses. You cannot deny their importance. So if management does decide to spend money on upgrading their skills to some extent and make them into better performers whats the harm is trying? If they improve by some percentage , its a huge step forward!
Hope you appreciate the point of view

From India, Mumbai

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