Goal setting: A path to achieving team fluency

Pearson Languages
Office works stood in a cubicle and in a hallway talking

Reading time: 5 minutes

We know businesses that invest in skills development are more likely to retain top talent, and see many other benefits as well. Upskilling your team's English proficiency can have a transformative effect on the business, leading to new opportunities, growth, and a more engaged workforce. However, implementing a corporate language learning program can be challenging. Using traditional goal-setting frameworks can support you and your team on this journey. Here's how:

Goal setting: A path to achieving team fluency
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Popular goal setting frameworks for businesses

There are several approaches one can take to help with this:

3X3X3 model

The 3X3X3 model advocated by McKinsey ensures that goals are set over manageable three-month periods, fostering a steady progression.

SMART goals

With their specificity, measurability, achievability, relevance, and time-bound nature, SMART goals provide a framework that aligns individual efforts with broader organizational objectives.

PACT goal framework

Emphasizing purposefulness, actionability, continuity, and trackability, the PACT goal framework, championed by the National Society of Leadership and Success, offers an alternative perspective.

Regardless of the chosen model, it is imperative to communicate it effectively across the team. Consistency in the implementation of goal-setting practices ensures that everyone is on the same page, reducing ambiguity and enhancing the overall effectiveness of the language learning process.

Utilize digital tools and technology

Your employees have a lot on their plate, which means that any language training program should be designed to be easily accessible and engaging. Technology has significantly improved skill development in modern times (not just language learning), allowing organizations to really nurture their employee’s development.

There are numerous online language training apps and software available that provide dynamic and interactive approaches to help employees achieve their language goals. Choosing user-friendly platforms that cater to different learning styles can ensure broader adoption and engagement.

Mondly by Pearson, for example, is a flexible language-learning solution designed to facilitate self-led learning within easily digestible modules. It can be a cornerstone for organizations looking to set and achieve learning goals. The adaptability of Mondly by Pearson enables employees to progress at their own pace, providing a personalized learning experience that aligns with their individual language proficiency goals.

Monitor and evaluate your teams’ language skills often

When learning any language, the journey is just as important as the destination. Continuous monitoring and evaluation ensure that learning objectives are not static but adapt to the evolving needs of the individual and the organization. To fast-track your employees' English progress, use the Global Scale of English (GSE). The GSE allows you to monitor your team's developing English language skills on one simple, numerical scale, from entry-level to expert.

This multifaceted approach to measurement allows managers and employees alike to gain a comprehensive understanding of their English language proficiency, fostering a culture of improvement and development.

Another tool to add to your repertoire is Versant by Pearson, a robust English assessment tool that is instrumental in understanding the current language skill levels of your employees. This information serves as a baseline for setting realistic yet challenging goals.

Celebrate your team’s achievements

Recognition and celebration of achievements act as powerful motivators. If a goal is achieved but not acknowledged, the impact may diminish, and motivation can wane. Therefore, incorporating a culture of celebration within the organization is essential. This can take various forms, from verbal recognition in team meetings to tangible rewards such as certificates, performance-based bonuses, or even more competitive features like leaderboards (which Mondly by Pearson uses).

It is important for organizations to record the achievements of their employees in language learning as it not only boosts morale but also provides a valuable source of feedback. By acknowledging and celebrating the successes of their employees, organizations reinforce the significance of learning a language and create a positive feedback loop that encourages employees to set new goals and continue progressing their language proficiency.

Growth and success in the workplace

As organizations become empowered by the integration of goal-setting into their language-learning initiatives, they are embarking on and expediting their journey of continuous growth and success. By integrating technology, continuous monitoring, and praise in your organization's goal setting, you can create a comprehensive approach to language learning. This approach enhances language skills and has a positive impact on the business as a whole.

The result is a workforce that is not only proficient in English but is also confident, collaborative, and highly productive. As we move through 2024, organizations that prioritize progress-based learning are poised to thrive in an environment where effective communication is the key to unlocking unparalleled success.

Find out more about creating a culture of learning English in the workplace and the transformative power of language learning for businesses in this article – Creating a culture of success.

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    What is it?

    Business writing refers to the clear and purposeful use of language in written form within a professional context. It encompasses a wide range of documents, including emails, reports, proposals and presentations, tailored to communicate effectively with clients, colleagues and stakeholders. That can also include writing web content for professional audiences and clients.

    What's an example of business writing?

    One example is a formal email to a client:

    Subject: Proposal for Partnership

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    I hope this email finds you well. I'm writing to present a partnership opportunity with XYZ Corp that aligns with your company's goals for expansion and innovation.

    [...]

    I look forward to your response and the possibility of future collaboration.

    Warm regards,

    Jane Doe

    Why is effective business writing important?

    Effective business writing is crucial as it reflects the professionalism and credibility of an individual and their organization. It ensures that the message is understood as intended, which is pivotal in decision-making processes and maintaining positive business relationships.

    Clear writing improves workplace communication by minimizing misunderstandings, saving time and enhancing productivity. It facilitates seamless collaboration between teams and departments and aids in developing and maintaining a positive professional image.

    Key elements of professional English writing

    When crafting business documents, several key elements ensure your workplace writing is effective and well-received. These elements include:

    • Structure and organization: A well-structured document with a clear introduction, body and conclusion makes your content more understandable and engaging. Use headings and bullet points to break down information and guide the reader through your message.
    • Tone and formality: The tone should match the context and purpose of your communication. While a business proposal might require formal language, an internal email to colleagues can be less formal. Understanding the nuances of tone can greatly impact how your message is perceived.
    • Purpose-driven writing: Every piece of corporate writing should have a clear purpose. Whether it's to inform, persuade, request or confirm, keeping the purpose in mind ensures that your writing is focused and achieves its intended goal.
    • Attention to detail: Precision and accuracy are paramount. This includes correct grammar, punctuation and spelling, as well as ensuring that all facts and figures mentioned are accurate. Errors in your writing can diminish your credibility and confuse the message.
    • Cultural sensitivity: In a global business environment, it is crucial to be aware of cultural differences and avoid culturally sensitive phrases. This sensitivity can prevent misunderstandings and foster more harmonious business relations.

    By focusing on these elements of workplace writing, you can enhance your business English writing and ensure it's both professional and effective.

    How can I improve my professional English writing?

    Improving your business English writing involves focusing on clarity, conciseness and appropriateness. Here are a few strategies to get you started:

    • Immerse yourself in business language: Read a variety of business-related materials such as reports, emails and articles.
    • Practice regularly: Engage in writing exercises that mimic real-world business scenarios.
    • Get feedback: Have your writing reviewed by proficient English speakers and incorporate their suggestions.
    • Brush up on basics: Reinforce your understanding of grammar, vocabulary and punctuation.
    • Utilize technology: Take advantage of language learning apps and online courses that offer business English modules. These tools can provide interactive learning experiences and immediate feedback.
    • Join professional networks: Participate in forums and networking groups where business English is used. Observing and engaging in discussions can enhance your understanding and application of business terminologies and conventions.

    Practical business writing tips

    You've got a writing task to start but you don't quite know how to approach it. Here are some actionable steps to help you:

    • Start with a clear purpose: Define the objective of your document and stick to it.
    • Organize your thoughts: Use headings, bullet points and paragraphs to structure your content logically.
    • Be concise: Use straightforward language and eliminate redundant words.
    • Use an appropriate tone: Maintain professionalism and consider the cultural context of your audience.
    • Revise and edit: Always revise your work for errors and clarity before sending it.

    Bad corporate writing

    To illustrate what to avoid, here are a few examples of bad writing:

    • Overuse of complex vocabulary leading to confusing sentences.
    • Long-winded paragraphs that bury the main point.
    • Casual or inappropriate language and words that don't fit the business context.
    • Writing that lacks a clear call to action.
    • Ignoring cultural nuances and making assumptions based on one's own cultural context. This can lead to misinterpretations or even offense, undermining the purpose of the communication.

    A bad example

    Applying the points above, you can begin to see how this message uses some of these examples, this could be perfectly fine for written conversation with a friend but not on a more serious, professional level:

    Subject: Quick Hello and Ask 

    Hey!

    Hope this message finds ya in good spirits. Wanna catch up real quick this Thursday on a lil' something I've got on my mind? Got an idea that might just be up your alley - think major game-changer vibes for both of us. Let's make it happen. Excited to hear your thoughts!

    Cheers!

    Alex

    The effects of poor professional writing

    Poor business writing can have far-reaching repercussions that can significantly impact an individual's career progression as well as an organization's reputation. Ineffective communication may lead to misunderstandings and loss of opportunities, eroding trust between parties and taking a toll on professional relationships. It's not just about immediate confusion or delays; the long-term effects can include the potential loss of business, as clients and partners may perceive inefficiency and lack of professionalism.

    English for effective business writing

    Mastering workplace writing is a continuous process that demands dedication and practice. By focusing on clarity, structure and an audience-centered approach, you can craft messages that not only inform customers but also influence them.

    Keep refining your skills, taking feedback positively, and staying updated with trends. Your written word has the potential to make a real impact in the business world, so wield your pen (or keyboard) and write with confidence and precision.

    Unlock your full potential in the business world with our comprehensive Business English courses. Also, check out our post '5 ways to politely say no in business English' and other language learning posts

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