Upskilling Human Resources at FSSH: Oh My English (Handling Phone Calls)

Prepared by: Dr. Hema Rosheny Mustafa, Ms. Rika Diana Busri & Ms. Nurshamsinar Ramli

FSSHeart 2021 is a programme meant to empower human resources initiated by the management of the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities (FSSH), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). ‘Heart’ in FSSHeart stands for “Happy, Empathy, Appreciate, Responsible and Trust”. Various initiatives have been strategically planned to ensure that the human resources of FSSH are ready to face various challenges in years to come.

One of the FSSHeart 2021’s initiatives is ‘Oh My English’ programme handled by Language Academy, FSSH. The programme involved about 110 participants who are non-academic staff from FSSH UTM Johor Bahru and UTM Kuala Lumpur campuses. This upskilling English communication skills programme comprises three parts which are Handling Phone Calls, English for Counter Service, and Writing Emails.

Handling phone calls may seem petty to some people as this could be a routine in their everyday life. However, having the skills in handling phone calls appropriately and politely is vital especially for non-academic staff who have to entertain different people, including academic staff, students, colleagues and the public, with different needs.

‘Handling Phone Calls’ was divided into three sessions and implemented once a month starting in April 2021. Each session ran for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Each session comprised two activities; the training where the speaker talks about the topic, and later followed by the practices for the participants where they can assess their understanding of the topic discussed earlier.

The sessions also comprised topics on useful tips and strategies for handling phone calls, appropriate telephone phrases, and common phrasal verbs. More specifically, trainers demonstrated effective ways of handling and making complaints, saying out numbers and dates, and handling difficult situations on the phone. Hence, this programme is beneficial to enhance the communication skills of non-academic staff in FSSH. The trainers involved were academic staff from UTM MyLinE Task Force, Assoc. Prof. Fatimah Puteh, Dr. Hema Rosheny Mustafa and Ms. Shazwani Abd Rahman.

The participants showed positive attitudes during the sessions as they evidently asked a lot of questions concerning the topic at hand. They did mention the knowledge that they gained is very useful for their daily work duties. They were also keenly completing the practices that had been provided for them and participated in the end-of-training competition to assess their understanding of the content taught. The winners for the competition were Ms. Nurhidayah Reman, Ms. Nurfazreena Mohd Sah, and Ms. Nurhidayatul Fatanah Buang. Congratulations to the winners!

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