Tales From The Office – Episode 4

In the last episode of Tales From The Office, Lisa was struggling with business English writing. Specifically, she was having trouble completing a new customer form for Steve from Samphor Industries. Lisa’s manager, Samantha, found a company called Skill House Learning to help Lisa improve her professional communication skills. Let’s see what happens in this episode…

After researching a training provider who could help Lisa, Samantha found a company called Skill House Learning. She decided to send them an email. The letter she sent looked like this:

Hello Daniel,

I am a customer service manager at Crodain Corporation, a manufacturer of chemical coatings in Los Angeles. Recently one my staff members has been struggling with handling customers on the phone and inputting information into our system. She has developed a reputation for difficulty in communication over the phone. Customers avoid dealing with her on the phone which has resulted in an increased workload for myself and her team members.

We are looking to develop a program that can help this employee, Lisa, with improving her customer service abilities, listening and speaking on the phone, and also improve her written and spoken grammar.

Please let us know if this sounds like a program you could develop for us.

Best regards,

Samantha Barendo

Daniel and Samantha set up an initial phone conversation to further understand the problem and put together an idea of what the program would look like. After the phone call, Daniel created an initial ESL for Business program proposal for Samantha and Crodain Corporation. The next step was to show the proposal to the president of the company.

Tales From The Office - Episode 4 - Business English Writing

The president of Croidain Corporation, Ross Johnson, looked over the proposal and gave the approval. Samantha and Daniel prepared the final version of the proposal. Lisa was going to start an ESL for Business program with Skill House Learning.

See how Daniel and Skill House Learning help improve Lisa’s business English writing in the next episode of Tales From The Office…

Identifying Pain Points for Partner Solutions

Small talk before, during, or after a meeting can give you insight into client needs that your partner organizations can address.

“Is there an app for that?” The secretary asked.

“We need to find a way to send an alert to all staff members, like the AMBER Alerts that you have on your phone,” said a manager.

I asked the manager if her company had an intranet. She replied no.

A light went on in my head. Here is a problem for which someone, maybe someone I know, can provide a solution.

This happened right before a meeting that I had with a management team at a client company. We were waiting for a conference room and had a few moments to chat prior to heading in to discuss the training program.

At this Los Angeles area company on this particular day, there was a fire drill. The pain point in this case pertained to company-wide communication, getting all staff members on the same page so that the fire drill would be effective and smoothly run.

A solution to this problem, as the manager suggested, is a way to push content to all user cell phones, notifying all staff in regards to the fire drill.

Paying attention to these moments before, during, and after meetings can provide insight into real situations that your client is facing. These may be situations for which you or a partner organization could provide a solution.

The key here is to keep track of what is talked about during the down time when conversation is casual. It may be more fruitful that you expect.

Here at Skill House Learning, we partner with a variety of organizations to provide solutions to client needs. Contact us for more information on how we can work together.


Factory Learning Programs

I was once invited to tour a factory where I came across a situation. A quality control manager at a precision instrument manufacturing facility designed an exam to test factory employee knowledge of an assembly process. He showed me the exam he had created. It was a fine exam, one that would work well with native English speaking employees who went through the American school system. The exam tested the ability of employees to assemble part of a scientific measurement device. The test included a matching section with a diagram. Many people would interpret it as an easy to understand test that the employees should have no problem acing. However, this was not the case. Less than 10% of forty factory employees passed the test.

A problem with the learning process at a factory

Prior to the exam, the employees of the factory received a lecture on the material to be tested. What was being done to check for understanding of the employees? Did the employees understand the material being presented? The way to improve this process is through formative assessment of the material. In a formative assessment, the trainer checks for employee understanding during the learning process. For instance, if a training session is to be 60 minutes, there can be 2-6 formative assessments that check for understanding. The best way to teach material is to break it down into small, manageable units of learning. This is called chunking. In this case, it could be 10 minutes chunks of content.

Training-ESL for Manufacturing-Factory

A problem with factory test design

There are many different ways to write an exam. Multiple choice, matching, short answer, fill-in-the-blank to name a few. The key with writing an effective exam is to make the exam match the learning abilities and needs of the employees. The exam should be able to test whether the employee knows the material, not whether he or she knows how to take an exam. The way to fix this is to show a sample exam with the style of questions and test whether the employee is able to complete the exam. If the employee is able to complete the sample exam successfully, let’s say in the range of 80%-90%, then you are ready to use that style of testing during the training.

For more information about our ESL for Business programs at Skill House Learning, have a look here: