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HR tip: Paying for employee to learn Chinese


These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


"We are planning to do a bit of business in China, though it will be handled by a specialist marketing organisation. However one of our employees has asked us to sponsor him on a Chinese language course. This might be of some use, though limited. Do you think we should pay for him?"

HR tip:

The cost of language courses varies greatly. At one end of the scale would be a three-year course at Beijing University; at the other a course you can download from the internet onto your iPod for about £4. And there is much in between.

If the course is only a few pounds it might be worth you paying for it as a sign of encouragement. If more expensive, you might consider first how great is the expense, second how valuable might it be to you, and third will the employee gain personal benefit because, say, he is taking a holiday in China?

In the last case you may consider paying a proportion of the cost. If you are prepared to pay a significant sum, you might consider doing so after evidence that he has passed a recognised exam or at least has completed the course.

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