As today’s workplace diversifies, so should the language speaking abilities of all the corporate players involved. In order to advance, effective communication is key, especially when reaching clients and colleagues all over the world. Whether opening offices internationally or concentrating marketing efforts on a global scale, success of these endeavors sits squarely on whether or not employees can understand and communicate in the languages involved. Concentrating on English as the lingua franca is not always possible. Companies are realizing the benefits of multi-lingual employees. Here are a few reasons why multinational companies across the world are investing in language programs:
For exponential business growth
In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, knowing the languages involved affords companies more opportunities by increasing employee efficiency. Breaking down language and cultural obstacles helps free a business shackled to monolingual enterprises, making them free to enter emerging markets.
For those employees who actually move to a new locale, without at least a basic grasp of the language, it can be difficult to assimilate or be effective. So, the longer they prepare for an overseas position, the better. If the employee is schooled in both the language and the culture, they will feel more confident and reap greater success from the assignment, both personally and for the company. According to Matthew Chan of Rosetta Stone, “as much as 75% of assignments have failed because employees were not adequately prepared. That’s a staggering number.” The biggest obstacle to their success? According to sixty-one percent of employees the answer was lacking local knowledge and culture.
To improve talent
Being able to communicate with colleagues and executives, allows employees to improve their professional skills, such as business writing and speaking with clients. Languages help increase employee productivity and performance. They are more apt to advance within the company as well due to their new skill set.
From in-class instruction to self-taught courses, there are dozens of language training options. Employees can learn before or after they arrive, depending on the situation. The length of training really depends on the starting level of the student and the desired end point. Aptitude tests are used to determine an employee’s proficiency and aptitude for learning a new language. These give a baseline to gage their success in a foreign location.
To create an international corporate culture
In order to develop a strong corporate culture by unifying employees across distances and cultures, knowing the local language(s) is key. Whether it is English for new employee’s arriving to the US from Japan, or an employee conversing in Portuguese to colleagues in Brazil, knowledge of the local languages are the ties that bind people together as a cohesive group working toward the goals together.
No matter how the training is delivered, companies that understand the importance of language training are bound to succeed. Making sure their employees know languages, local dialects and regional business terms will spark a sense of confidence that is unparalleled. Not being hindered by language barriers helps employees function at a higher level, which saves time and money and ultimately creates more successful people and business objectives.
For more about why cultural training should go hand-in-hand with language training, check in next month.
by Ilona Knudson