Difficult work situations and asking for a pay rise This programmer was first broadcast in 2001 This is not an accurate word-for-word transcript of the programmer Carmela: Now you’re too busy to worry about reading English grammar books and dictionaries. You want short cuts to quick, fluent and natural-sounding English for any situation at work. And that’s what Business Language To Go is all about. Now, one quick suggestion is that you get a pen and paper ready so that you can write down the phrases you hear.
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This week we have two very different and difficult situations at work. In a moment we’ll look at some phrases you can use for asking for a pay rise. But first, here’s some of the language to use when you need to have words with a member of staff. You know the kind of thing ; when you need to complain about their standard of work. Or perhaps thieve been behaving badly towards colleagues, or even worse, customers. Now, as usual here with me in the studio is David Evans, our business English expert. David, what’s your advice for a Page 1 of 8 bougainvillea’s. Mom difficult situation like this? David: Well, I don’t think anyone enjoys this kind of situation. It’s very difficult for a manager to tell off another adult. To tell them that their work is not up to the standard or to complain about the way they’ve been behaving. I suppose the key thing for managers to bear in mind here is that they need to get the balance right – they need to be strict – but at the same time they must be fair to the other person and obviously listen to what they have to say In their own defense.
And going alongside that, both parties need to choose the correct register of language as well, because this is a very insensitive situation. Carmela: So, today we’re looking at some of the language you need for difficult situations and difficult message perhaps to a colleague. K – let’s get into the office now and hear our first example: CLIP Sean: Michelle, can I have a word please, in my office? Now then. I won’t take long about this, I’ll come straight to the point. We had a chat about two weeks ago, hey? Remember that? Michelle: Yeah …. T that point, I wasn’t particularly happy with the way that you were behaving in the office, the way that you were being uncooperative, a little bit surly with people. And since then frankly, Vie seen very little change. Well, I mean I think Vie made an effort trying to be helpful like I normally am O BBC Learning English Page 2 of 8 with people and I feel that I’m still doing my Job, not that the Job’s very interesting. I think it’s become less interesting since Sarah got the promotion. I think she’s getting some more of the interesting work. Okay well I’m afraid that despite what you say it hasn’t come across.
I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but you have taken quite a bit of time off and . Yeah, but you’re allowed to take leave, aren’t you? ND you leave your problems at home. END OF CLIP Well, quite a difficult conversation for both parties there. But David, if we can look now at some of the language, what phrases did Sean use to tell Michelle what he thought of her work? Well, he began the conversation in quite a neutral way with the phrase Can I have a word. If somebody says that to you, you don’t know if it’s going to be good news or bad news but you know it’s going to be a private conversation.
Then when they get into the office, Sean indicates that he wants to talk about business immediately – by using the phrase I’ll come straight to the point. So, those phrases are really preparation and the point that he wants to come to is – what – how did he deliver the point? I think the phrase he used, I think, was Page 3 of 8 I wasn’t particularly happy with the way you’ve been behaving. It’s quite a good phrase to introduce some kind of complaint that one – I wasn’t happy with. I wasn’t happy with your efforts, I’m not happy with your sales figures – it can be used in a lot of different contexts.
I think that we heard that Sean, the manager, was very careful with the way that he chose language. We also heard the phrase I don’t want to Jump to any conclusions and he’s using that phrase to make it absolutely clear that he wants to be fair, and that he is not prejudging the situation. Continue and how do they resolve the difficulties? Okay well I’m not going to get into a discussion about who deserved to get the Job. Clearly, the person who was appointed was the right person for the Job. What you need to do is look at your work and what you’re doing and where that’s taking you in your career.
But bearing in mind that you are still employed to do a Job and I expect o to do that Job with a certain attitude. You’re meeting members of the public quite regularly – it’s important that you aren’t unhappy or at least that you don’t show it. This meeting is really Just to let you know I’m not happy with the effort that you’ve made. K… And I really want to see some improvement. I know it’s difficult, I know that it’s depressing not to get a Job, but you’ve got to snap out of it, you’ve got to get on with the Job that you’re doing now.
Page 4 of 8 Sean, the boss in this situation sounds quite strict and stern – but we have to member it is the second warning, it’s the second time that he’s spoken to this colleague about the problems, and he establishes very quickly that he doesn’t want to dialogue. He simply wants to outline the problems, and try and get some kind of solution. How does he alert her to that? I think he does that by using the expression I’m not going to get into a discussion a very useful way of keeping the conversation strictly to its point.
He is strict but he does use some softeners, we hear him say I know it’s difficult, indicating that he does understand the situation that she’s in, but he makes it very clear that what he wants is to see an improvement. He wants things to get better, and we hear him use that phrase I really want to see some improvement Just to underline that that’s what he hopes will happen. Now we’re going to look at another tricky situation at work. How do you ask for that pay rise? Have a listen to the following conversation and concentrate on the phrases used by the person asking for the pay rise.
And as you listen try and answer these two questions. First, how long has the employee been at the company? And secondly, how much more money does she ask for? Page 5 of 8 Abigail: HI, are you free for a quick chat? M: Sure, come in, come in. Sit down. What can I do for you? K. Well it’s a bit difficult, but I really feel that it’s about had a pay rise. Okay. Why do you feel like that? Well, Vie been here now for 3 years and in that time Vie made good progress. Vie really feel that Vie grown in the Job and Vie taken on a lot more responsibility and I just feel it’s time that that it was recognized and my efforts were area reed.
Right. So you feel that you’re on a low salary for your current and current susceptibilities, do you? Position I yes, I do believe that what Vie contributed to the department months means I should be paid more. Over recent Okay, well, what kind of rise would you be looking for? Well, you know, I think that 3% on top of the usual annual rise inflation isn’t too much to ask. With We’ll check the answers to those questions right now. The first one: How long had she been at the company? – well, she’d been there for 3 years. And how much money did she ask for? The answer was 3% on top of the usual annual rise.
David, what phrases id Abigail use there to put forward her case for a pay rise? She’s obviously aware that this is something which is quite hard to ask for, so she begins by saying it’s a bit difficult but.. It’s a bit difficult but, I really Page 6 of 8 feel it’s about time I had a pay rise. And she’s using that expression, I really feel – to underline that this is something that is very important to her. Carmela: And the next step – for Abigail was to say why she thought she deserved the pay rise, what exactly she’d done to deserve it. How did she introduce her good points?
Well, I think her key point here is that she has taken on more responsibility. That’s the phrase she uses – and I guess what she means by that is that she now has a more important Job, she has more difficult, more challenging tasks to perform. And when she mentioned how much she wanted for a pay rise, she used a neat little phrase there, she said, it isn’t too much to ask – what did she mean by that? I think, what she’s trying to say is that “I’m not asking for very much money’… It isn’t too much to ask. I think she was asking for 3 percent more than she would normally have got.
Well, let’s go back to the conversation now and see how the discussion ends. Page 7 of 8 Three per cent. Right, well as you know, I can’t Just give you a pay rise immediately, just like that. I’ll have to discuss it with the other managers here. And as you can imagine, there aren’t unlimited funds available for things like this. But you might be pleased to hear that we are having a pay review meeting very soon and I’ll make sure we discuss your request then. Okay fine. Should I put this request in writing as well, so we all have a record of this discussion? Yes, that’d be a good idea.