In previous articles, we have discussed why learning a second or third language can be instrumental in helping your business to expand its reach overseas or into new markets by improving communication and collaboration in business relationships, ensuring clarity in negotiations, and even avoiding any cultural faux pas during business trips or meetings.
But what about your staff themselves? What advantages and benefits does language training really offer them? Can providing language training really help you to retain or attract the best candidates? In this article, we explore how language training may be a real point of difference in the eyes of your employees.
Employees who are able to communicate clearly and effectively in a second or third language are more likely to be confident in their role at work, and have less anxiety about foreign business dealings or travel overseas. Understanding and overcoming cultural barriers or misunderstandings helps to boost employee confidence, as staff can feel more comfortable if they know how to avoid embarrassing slip-ups or committing cultural faux pas! (Language training with Simon & Simon can cover cultural education too, helping your staff feel more engaged with their overseas associates when they understand more about their different holidays, celebrations, history, customs and cultures.)
Employees find that they feel more connected to their overseas colleagues or clients as the quality of their communication and collaboration improves. The better your staff become at speaking their non-native language, the more their confidence and sense of accomplishment will grow. The more they feel included as part of multi-language, multicultural teams, the more confident they will become about sharing ideas and suggestions in meetings, which can help them develop a sense of agency within the company.
Improving Productivity and Employee Engagement
Staff who can communicate confidently in a second or third language build strong relationships and inspire trust in the people they deal with. Business relationships blossom, nurturing an atmosphere of understanding and respect. Smooth and clear communication leads to improved, cohesive teamwork, even if teams work remotely. Employees feel engaged with their work and integrated with their fellow colleagues around the world, making them happier and more productive.
Providing opportunities at work for staff to learn and grow – such as offering language training – goes a long way towards making employees feel valued and nurtured. Staff will feel that senior management are invested in their career development and want to help them improve their skills. Offering language training shows a company’s commitment to the ongoing training and development of their staff. It proves a company’s interest and investment in its workforce. The subsequent reaction to these investments? Improved staff retention, engagement and loyalty, making your offering an appealing prospect for potential new talent eyeing up your company as a future employer.
Advancing Employability and Promotion Opportunities
Of course, all companies want to retain excellent staff, but for employees who become fluent in another language, their job opportunities suddenly increase to include positions in the country (or countries) of their second language. Perhaps such multi-talented employees will become candidates for you to promote to work in or head up offices as you expand overseas.
In today’s competitive job market, staff with a second or third language are eminently employable – they have proved that they are excellent communicators and can stick with learning something new as an adult, which is not always easy!
The personal benefits of learning a language are well documented. Language learning can enhance the communication skills in an employee’s mother tongue, as they become more familiar with the nuances of grammar and language structure. Incredibly, learning another language builds cognitive reserves, improves memory, and makes the brain more resilient against stroke or dementia.
Language learning also improves the brain’s ability to maintain concentration and block out irrelevant distractions. At the same time, switching between languages also improves multi-tasking skills. These improved personal and professional skills can offer a valuable reward for the effort of learning a new language.
Another personal gain for employees is the opportunity to travel overseas with confidence – whether on business or on holiday – and know that they will be able to communicate with ease. The benefits of becoming proficient in a second or third language are not restricted to the workplace!
Learning a language with Simon & Simon is a great way to attract and retain top talent. By investing in language learning, you are demonstrating that you are committed to nurturing and progressing your staff by committing to their training and development, and encouraging a culture of progress and improvement. In addition, learning a new language can be downright good fun for employees!
Language learning is a rich experience in its own right. Contact us today to discover how we can increase the value of your professional development offering by adding language training to the mix.