No matter how large or small an organization, whether it works online or offline, its employees will have to deal with a different culture or language at some point. This could be colleagues from abroad who haven’t fully mastered the local language yet, as well as partners, suppliers or customers in another country. Such encounters can be highly rewarding as they offer insights into a different culture and perspective. But they also leave much room for misunderstandings. Do you know how to greet someone senior from Japan without insulting them? How do Brazilians prefer to be addressed in an email? And what was that Spanish false friend you definitely had to avoid when speaking?
A Flexible World of Learning
The good news is that organizations can train their staff to deal with these issues more effectively on a daily basis. And training doesn’t need to take place in formal classrooms anymore. With the rise of cloud-based mobile learning solutions, languages and cultural concepts can be studied on a mobile phone, tablet or PC, be it at home, at work or while traveling. For HR and L&D managers, cloud-based learning means having standardized and measurable results across all borders. Our research shows that this kind of training will save costs compared to conventional classroom training, and people remember the content better because they can access it on their mobile devices at any time. Long-term, this will also help to get a better grasp of an internal talent pool, identify skill gaps and fill them with the appropriate training.
Speaking your Language
It’s no secret that learning a foreign language will also boost your communication skills. Good communications create a positive working environment, reduce errors and misunderstandings and accelerate processes as a result. And as we know, quicker processes mean lower costs and better business. Ties with external partners or clients will be strengthened if they feel an organization really speaks their language and has made an effort to take a step in their direction. This will give multilingual organizations a real competitive advantage as they will become the first port of call for their customers. We just can’t expect everyone to speak fluent English anymore.
And it works both ways: multilingual employees are valuable to the company. The below graph depicts this fact. If employees see that the company values the effort and application of a new skills by enabling to expand responsibilities and employability and as an effect the remuneration, the workplace becomes more attractive. A direct link therefore is created between bi-lingualism, socio-cultural and business benefits.
Source: World Economic Forum
So if you’re in charge of talent management in your organization, I invite you to think about your language strategy because long-term, it will be your business strategy. Get an online language training solution in place with a renowned provider, encourage business conversations in a foreign language and allow employees to spend some time on business abroad to boost their skills. Not only will this make communication more fluid and drive results, it will also motivate your workforce and give them a reason to stay.