Month: October 2016

Making suggestions at work

I was recently asked to teach a group of learners who needed to be able to hold tours of their production site in English. While we were walking around the factory, examining their machinery and describing various processes I noticed that suggestion boxes were located pretty frequently throughout the area. I asked my participants how often they are used and they told me that they’re very popular – they give employees opportunities to participate in decision making at work. As a result, they feel empowered and assume more ownership of their work. As well as this, there are even greater benefits to the organisation – often these suggestions increase revenue and create added value benefits for the customer, through optimisation of the products and services, as well as enhancing after-sales programmes.


In business English classes we’re involved with a wide variety of people whose jobs involve some kind of optimisation responsibilities. This may be streamlining daily admin processes, trying to hold meetings as quickly and as effectively as possible. Maybe they’re trying to improve on-site security systems or switchboard duties. Perhaps you’re even teaching the ‘big bosses’ –those in charge of the whole organisation who ultimately want everything to operate as quickly but as effectively as possible. Making suggestions is therefore a communication act which we’re all involved with. This lesson asks learners to discuss how they make suggestions at work, introduces them to the language of making, accepting or rejecting suggestions and allows them to discuss a range of employee suggestions which aim to improve the way a company operates. Have fun using it!