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How you can prioritize employees for business English training

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

As a HR manager or a Learning & Development Manager, you decide how best to use your training budget. Quite often this means choosing or prioritizing which employees receive training.

Thinking about the four different types of language users in your company will help you prioritize when it comes to business communication or business English training.

1. Operational Users [high priority]

These employees use English as their operational language. They are a high priority because they can't function without English. These people work in a variety of positions, from high to low level (general manager to receptionist). With operational users of English, you have two choices. (1) Hire people who already have a good level of English and offer focused communication skills training so they can execute mission-critical business tasks. (2) If the people you need don't communicate well in English, create a learning journey that includes business communication learning goals over a period of time.

2. Instrumental Users [priority depends on their role]

These employees usually have important positions and need strong business communication skills to implement the company's business plans . When organizing training, focus on the task and not the person. These people have been hired because of their talent and experience, not their English. That means instrumental learners need training immediately after they are hired so they can succeed in certain tasks that require English. They also need ongoing training because they might not use English frequently.

3. Informational Users [priority depends on whether English affects their work]

Informational users are often mid-level employees who need English to access professional information. Market researchers are an example. Sometimes informational learners are also instrumental because they have to deliver their findings in presentations. In this case they should be trained in the same way as instrumental learners. If they are purely informational, self-study with the right materials is the best.

4. Aspirational Users [low priority]

Aspirational users don't need English in their job, but want to learn for future career advancement. Their English ability does not affect their work and they don't add value by speaking English. If you want to make a long-term investment or if they are targeted for future management, training will help here. Aspirational learners who want to take part in company-sponsored courses could be asked to pay a small amount for the course. This maintains motivation and attendance.

When deciding who to train, thinking in terms of these four kinds of employees will provide you with a clear decision-making model.


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