How to Do It Right: Corporate Language Training in the Digital World
Globalization and digital transformation are changing the way business works, and more organizations are upskilling their employees in order to keep up – it’s simply not enough for teams to speak only one language. When a company limits itself to speaking only one language it is missing out on opportunities to develop new partnerships and secure new clients. Many companies are at different stages in their digital transformation journeys, and have questions about best practices when it comes to corporate language training in the digital world.
Multilingualism has many benefits for both businesses and employees: it improves collaboration across teams (especially those located across different countries), helps cultivate soft skills like empathy (which is necessary for healthy employee relationships, and fosters tolerance and respect), and improves adaptability to new working cultures. Here are a few best practice tips for successful corporate language training:
1. Assess and progress; first, know where you stand, then determine where to go.
Assessing the language knowledge and skills gaps of your employees is the first step to take before you can make informed decisions on where and how you can move forward with language learning and soft skills training. The ‘’skills gap’’ is also one of the three top trends identified by LinkedIn’s Future of Skills report. You should not only regularly assess employees to find skills gaps, but also track the success of your organization’s learning initiatives. Knowledge will help you make smarter choices and set more attainable goals.
2. Speaking of goals: Match up objectives and measure learning success effectively.
Don’t get caught playing the numbers game. Many HR and learning professionals are still measuring learning success in terms of numbers – the number of hours an employee devotes to learning, the number of employees completing a course – but the problem with these measurements is that they do not reflect greater business objectives. Before investing in training, outline the needs and objectives of both your organization and your workforce and design your training program around that.
3. Get personal – do not assume one-size-fits-all training will work for everyone.
When it comes to learning a new language for a job, personalization is key to quick and efficient progress. The employees in your workforce may hail from different generations and come with ranging levels of work experience, and they will surely have different preferred methods of learning. Learners should have access to bite-sized learning nuggets, a resource library and a skills center with current resources like videos and articles touching on topics relevant to their industry as well as personal interests (to keep them engaged!). Engineers, salespeople, and doctors all have different work scenarios and should be able to learn about relevant topics in their fields, and practice speaking using special terms related to their work.
Thanks to AI, the learning experience is now more personal than ever before – content can be prioritized, curated and delivered at the exact moment of need for individual learners. At Speexx, we use a collaborative filtering recommendation algorithm to send personalized content of interest to our users on a weekly basis. Aside from the need for content to be personalized to fit individuals working in different industries, there’s also the need to recognize the various preferred methods of learning and learning delivery. Keep in mind that people prefer their morning coffee differently, just like they have different learning preferences.
4. Go mobile.
There’s no doubt that mobile learning provides much-needed flexibility for modern learners, and in the age of digital transformation one simply can’t afford to exclude mobile learning opportunities. According to a survey conducted with over 700 HR professionals, 21% say BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is not allowed in their organizations – blocking the delivery of effective mobile training. In order to achieve learning in the flow of life, learning on-the-go via a mobile app will be necessary to help learners achieve maximum flexibility between work, personal life and learning. Employees can make best use of their time while waiting during a layover or a daily commute, and practice their vocabulary on-the-go. It’s the perfect answer to providing on-demand and point-of-need learning.
5. Do provide a variety of learning methods – not only one.
Some employees may prefer speaking with their language trainer through 1:1 phone calls, while others may be more keen on learning with peers or other industry professionals from around the world via virtual classrooms or webinars. Younger generations may prefer a more gamified approach and will favor learning on-the-go via a mobile app. Macro and microlearning are also proven methods for providing modern learners with interesting and engaging language training experiences. Be sure your content is not only personalized to fit the needs of your employees located across different locations, teams and industries, but also suitable for different types of learners.
As modern learners have less time to dedicate to learning, adapting the way training is delivered will be key to successfully delivering corporate language training through digital or blended learning initiatives.