Business English | People and Workplaces

Audio Episode

What is this episode about?

Learn about people and workplaces, employees, management and administration, labor, personnel and HRM in this new Business English episode from English Plus Podcast.

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I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.


Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about business English and we will focus on people and workplaces. We will talk about employees and management. We will talk about management and administration labor. Personnel and HRM. So without further ado, start talking about our topic for today, and that is people and workplaces.

[00:00:33] First, let’s start talking about employees and management. And for that purpose, we have been with us. Who’s going to help us when it comes to business English. So Ben are all people the same in a company are all employees the same in a company. Well as human beings, of course they are. But when we are talking about the hierarchy system in a company, no, of course they are different now.

[00:00:55] Yeah. We can have a lot of positions and a lot of levels in a company, but I can think of three main levels. We have the manual or blue collar workers. We have the white collar workers and the management. Could you please tell us the difference between these three levels? Yeah, sure. When we start with the manual or blue collar workers, these are the people who do physical work in a company.

[00:01:22] Now, for example, if you’re thinking about a factory, these will be the assembly line workers, maybe the maintenance workers or people who operate machines, for example. So all of these are blue collar workers, or we can call them manual workers. What about the supervisors? Well here, the supervisors. When you talk about those people who supervise the work, the physical work directly, these are still from the same level of blue collar workers.

[00:01:52] So what is the meaning of white collar workers? Well, white collar workers. Those are people who do not usually do physical work and they work in offices. They can be it guys. They can be people who handle support over the phone, maybe shipping logistics, et cetera, but they do not do physical work like those on the factory floor, for example.

[00:02:15] So we call these white collar workers. And what about the last level you talked about management. Well, the management is the upper level in a company because they are the decision makers. So we have people like the CEO, the chief executive officer, the CFO, the chief finance officer, and the marketing director.

[00:02:36] For example, here, when we talk about management, we usually talk about upper management. Middle management can be part of the white collar workers. They work in offices, they manage some people. There are some people who report to them, but they’re not the real decision makers of the company. The real decision makers of the company might be the directors.

[00:02:58] As we said, the CEO, the CFO, the marketing director, et cetera. These people are called the management. Okay. So one more thing here. Yes. The people who work for a company are on its payroll. That’s why you work for this company because the company pays you. But what do we usually call the people who work for the company in general?

[00:03:18] All of them, because we hear different words like employees or personnel or staff. What is the difference between these words? Well, usually these words are the same. So these people who work for a company, yes they’re on its payroll. They are its employees. We can call them personnel, staff, workers, or workforce, but these words can also refer just to the people carrying out the work.

[00:03:43] Of a company rather than the management here these words. We might refer to the workers in a company, both the white collar and the blue collar as staff personnel workforce. But the management, we call it the management and the management obviously are those who are leading the company. Now here, I will have to add a language note.

[00:04:04] And that is about the workforce because it is maybe one of the most common words that is used here. Now, workforce can be used as one word, like workforce linked together, or we can split work and force and put a dash between them or two words, two separate words, work force all are possible. I mean that just the linguistic note.

[00:04:25] Now let’s move on and talk about management and administration. What can you tell us about that? Ben? A company’s activities may be spread over different sites in different places. A company’s most important managers usually work in it’s head office or headquarters or what we call for short HQ. Uh, some managers have their own individual offices, but often employees work in open plan offices.

[00:04:52] And these are large areas where many people work together, administration or what we informally call admin. We use this word to refer to the ordinary work, supporting a company’s. Activities. And that is often done in offices like these by administrative staff or support staff, for example, those giving technical help to buyers of the company’s products are in technical support.

[00:05:16] All right. So this is the management and administration. Then what about the labor? We use labor to talk about everyone except the management who works for a company. And we use this word, especially when we talk about a company that makes things physical things. Maybe we don’t use labor for a software company where there are no physical things.

[00:05:38] No, not like a car production plant or something, but labor in general talks about all the people who work in a company except for the management. And here, when it comes to talk about labor, we have a couple of words that are very important to know that are related to labor. What do you mean words? Like what?

[00:05:56] Well, we’re talking about words like labor costs, labor dispute, leader relations, labor unions. Okay. I guess these are important words. So let’s go through them one by one. Let’s start with labor costs. What do we mean by labor costs? Well labor costs. That’s obviously what companies have to pay for labor rather than materials.

[00:06:20] So that is the cost of the people who work for you. And those people are called labor. And to talk about the other words as well, we have labor dispute, and that is a disagreement between management and labor. When there is a disagreement between management and labor, we call that a labor dispute. There’s also the labor leader, and that is someone in charge of an organization that represents workers.

[00:06:45] And also we can say labor relations, the relationships between management and employees in general, we can have labor shortage. And that is a period when there are not enough people available to work, or sometimes there is a period of disagreement between management and employees, and the problems are just escalating.

[00:07:06] We can call that labor unrest. Ben, you also talked about labor unions. Could we just expand a little bit more on that? Yes. Sure. Now the labor unions or. As they call them in British English trade unions defend the interests of workers. And sometimes even they organize industrial action. Now, when workers are not happy with pay or conditions, they may take industrial action.

[00:07:34] What do we mean by industrial action? What does that mean? Well, industrial actions can be when workers stop working for a time, we call that a strike stoppage or walk out. Sometimes they do not stop working completely, but workers continue to work, but more slowly than usual. And we call that a go slow and go slow.

[00:07:56] Here are two words joined by a dash. So not every time when they’re not happy, they just go on a strike. They can go on a go slow. And as I said, this is when workers continue to work, but more slowly than usual. And there’s also one more thing that is common, and that is an overtime ban. Now that happens when workers refuse to work more than the normal number of hours.

[00:08:18] Now you might say that workers sometimes really want to get overtime, but overtime is not available for them or something. And that is true in some companies, but in some other companies, when there is demand for overtime, Because they have deadlines. They need to meet production that cannot stop et cetera.

[00:08:37] So the labor or the workers can pressure the company by refusing to work more than the normal number of hours. So that’s what we call an overtime ban. Okay. So now we talked about a lot of useful words that are related to the word labor. We talked about labor costs, dispute leader, relations, shortage unrest.

[00:08:59] The labor unions or trade unions. And we talked about some industrial action, like a strike stoppage walkout, a go slow or an overtime ban. And all of these are very useful. Now let’s wrap up today’s discussion by talking about personnel and HRM. I mean this HRM thing, it sounds a little bit fancy and flashy.

[00:09:21] You know, what is HRM? Well, HRM actually is a human resources management. So it’s not a fancy word, but because these words are long. So in business, they tend to use the acronyms. They tend to use the short form, the abbreviations, if you will. So what is personnel and HRM in larger organizations? There is a human resources department or HR D and that deals with pay recruitment, et cetera.

[00:09:48] Well, this area is called human resources or HR. And a lot of people just say HR instead of human resources. And because it is used a lot, so people understand what HR is without telling them HR means human resources. So sometimes there are abbreviations that are not that necessary. But in this case, no, HR is an important abbreviation because it is used a lot to the point where people don’t use the original words anymore.

[00:10:17] So they just say HR and here we have, of course HR, human resources or human resource management. And that is the HRM. Now personnel is another, an older name for this department in the past. They used to call them personnel department instead of HR. But nowadays it’s rare to find this department in companies, especially big ones called personnel department.

[00:10:42] Well, it is the personnel department because that is the department where they handle employees, pay recruitment contracts, et cetera. So it is the same thing, but because HR is a little bit bigger umbrella that consists of more than just contracts and pay and recruitment. So the word personnel department has evolved into HR or HRM.

[00:11:04] All right. So be everything that I wanted to discuss today with you. Thank you very much for the information you shared with us. And for our listeners, we would like to thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast. Don’t forget that you can find extra things on our website, English plus

[00:11:22] You can find the link in the description of the episode, and if you like the content we’re creating and you would like to help us create more of this content and reach even more people, you can support us on Patreon and become our patrons. There is also a link that will take you to our Patreon page, go to Patreon, become our patron.

[00:11:40] And there are intensive courses coming soon to Patreon that are exclusive to our Patreon members. So you might want to think about the benefits of becoming a patron as well. And with that being said, once again, I would like to thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast.

[00:11:57] This is your host, Danny. I will see you next time.

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