Growing International Business Through Language Skills

Speexx, the global provider of online corporate language training, will present international business solutions for continuous learning and micro learning at the upcoming Learning Technologies on 31 January and February 1, 2018, at Olympia Central, London. Furthermore, Speexx will be hosting a seminar on building high-quality business communication and agility for successful multinational operations.

Read the full press release here

Building an International Workforce

The key to international business success is creating a resilient capability for high business communication and agility. Traditional management hierarchies and fixed places of work are being replaced by increasingly fluid corporate structures. As a growing number of organisations operate by creating virtual teams on a project-by-project basis, comprising employees with the necessary skills for each project who may be based anywhere in the world, language and communication skills are increasingly vital. Most organisations that are operating internationally, or plan to, are aware of the need for language skills training. However, too often the language skills training they are delivering is not aligned with corporate goals.

The Risk of Poor Communication

This opens the gate to high business risks that come with poor communication skills, such as decreased productivity, increased time to market and even mistakes which can have a very high cost for organizations.

When it comes to meeting broader strategic corporate goals, low levels of employee communication skills hinder ambitions to expand into new territories or make new partnerships. Language skills are key to effective communications, which also encompass soft skills such as multicultural understanding, empathy and negotiation skills.

Transforming Organizations – Steps You Can Take

According to Speexx Exchange survey findingsa third (27%) of HR professionals state that there is only a small connection between HR KPIs and business goals. And only 8% of L&D professionals say that their vision and mission are fully aligned, and actively contribute to long-term company strategy. To bridge that gap, here are five tips to develop language learning that will help deliver corporate goals:

  1. Set L&D KPIs that explicitly align with corporate goals. It may be essential for a certain group of employees to learn a new language in order to target a new territory. Or, it may be important for the majority of employees to achieve a higher level of proficiency in one or two common business languages. Language learning can also contribute to achieving higher levels of staff engagement and retention, to supporting major business change or boosting customer service metrics.
  2. Ensure that language skills assessment is consistent. Many times, organizations rely on local management to assess the skill of employees in a language that may be a second or third language for everyone involved. Cloud-based digital learning delivery can enable entirely consistent training and, importantly, assessment across the globe.
  3. Complement language learning with broader communication skills training, including non-verbal communications. Cultural awareness and other soft communication skills will help employees build relationships within virtual teams and build trust with partners in order to achieve corporate goals.
  4. Get management buy-in to the benefits of language learning. Start by making sure that the descriptions of language and communication skills training objectives closely mirror those of target corporate objectives, to make the link explicit for senior management. Communicate successes in terms of corporate goals. Don’t say, “95% of learners have completed French language training”. Instead, highlight where improved language and communication skills have accelerated time to market or boosted partner relationships. Use existing collaboration solutions in order to maximise previous investment and help reassure management that language-learning plans need not be big budget.
  5. Measure results and act on them. Revisit KPIs and check that they still match corporate goals. If the data has identified areas where customer service metrics are weak, look for an improvement in that data, such as higher Net Promoter Scores. Be prepared to tweak, tweak and tweak again to make sure that learning delivery is working.

Thriving in Global Markets

“Companies are focused on redesigning the organisation, with nearly half actively studying and developing new models,” according to Deloitte analysts, who found that 88% of respondents to their survey believe that building the organisation of the future is an important or very important issue – but only 11% feel they know how to do that.

Effective global language training delivery, complemented by communication and soft skills development activities, can make a key contribution to transforming organizations. Successfully matching language and communication skills learning with organizational objectives will put the business in the very best position to thrive in a global marketplace.

About the Author:

Armin is the co-founder and president of Speexx, the world’s leading online language learning and business communication skills training service. He writes and occasionally speaks about learning languages online and the secret of the Perfect Blend and global talent management, Speexx, e-learning and generally believes in the power of communication. Follow Armin on Twitter and LinkedIn.