Customer Success Stories, Language Training

Learning a language is a career game changer

Multilingual professional

Learning a language is a career game changer in today’s multilingual work climate. It’s an in-demand skill your employees can use for decades.

Let’s pause to consider some basic career advice employees receive. Like be punctual. Keep focused. Find a mentor. Stay tech-savvy. Take whatever training is offered.

When an employee moves to a different position, what goes with them, besides the plant and photos? Experience, of course, or at least the part that’s relevant. Hard and soft skills tend to stay with individuals. It’s still a good idea to be realistic about the demand for each skill as time and technology advance. 

Most of today’s workforce has seen how employment needs shift. It’s understood on both sides of the interview table. For employees, career paths take planned or unexpected turns. New doors open. Life happens. For businesses, pivots often create a need for new workforce skills. Through it all, the constant is the need for qualified candidates to apply for — and current employees to stay in — the jobs you need to fill.

Employee retention remains a top YoY concern of HR leaders. The 2019 Retention Report published by the Work Institute reported that for the 9th consecutive year, the top reason employees moved on was a lack of career development. Related research has also shown that professional training helps to both attract and retain talent.

In the end, employees are responsible for their own careers. But can employer-provided personal development also upskill employees to meet the present and future workforce needs of the company?

One way is to provide training in essential skills that employees can use, no matter which position, department, or location they move to. It’s also a chance to offer training that gives employees and companies another competitive edge.

Which brings us back to the value of learning a language.

Making the numbers work

HR or Learning and Development leaders are often aware that language training offers a certain value. Their organizations provide language programs to bridge communication gaps between employees, and between employees and customers. 

When you consider adding any type of training, you know programs are typically viewed in one of two lights: nice to have or need to have. In both cases, stakeholders want to justify the expense to confidently make the investment. 

Determining the exact ROI of language training to everyone’s satisfaction is nearly impossible. But there are measures that show how it adds value to the business.

Consider taking this approach. Discuss the return on your language training investment in relation to key company financial goals, such as reducing turnover. Here’s an example:

Panda Restaurant Group (PRG) — a past recipient of both Forbes’ Best Employer award and the Golden Chain award from the National Restaurant Association—found high-quality language training to be a powerful workforce development tool. Not only are employees encouraged to take full advantage by learning a language for personal and professional growth, but PRG has traced a 19% reduction in employee turnover directly to it. 

Imagine achieving a significant increase in retention, just like Panda Restaurant Group — and what that could mean to your operating budget and future growth.

What languages are most valuable?

The answer to this, of course, is it depends. 

One way to think about language learning is as a collaboration tool. It’s personal. It’s direct. Does your company need to increase communication in a common language? 

If so, meeting that expectation is a good place to start. In the US, those languages are most often English and Spanish. Learning a language increases employees’ ability to collaborate with co-workers, build relationships with customers, and increase productivity.

Or say your company’s business in the eurozone takes off. While most international business is conducted in English, people still attach special appreciation to being addressed in their first language. In this case, employees trained to speak and listen in French or German become that much more valuable to your organization (as well as boosting their own career stock).

Choosing the right languages for your training program often comes down to specific business cases. But an added consideration is to offer employees greater choice in developing this career skill. Working closely with a language provider that offers a variety of languages enables your company to accomplish both.

In 2020, learning a language continues to deliver personal and professional benefit. People and businesses the world over recognize the value of learning to communicate with a wider population.

Several reasons are behind this ever-increasing emphasis. A truly global economy, the rise of remote teams, and growing attention to diversity and cultural sensitivity are just three.

Many popular language training solutions focus too much on taking away the pain of learning, instead of giving learners the best tools to succeed. That makes looking for the best corporate language solution as important as choosing the right language.

Whether your employees hope to find their hotel a little faster in Tokyo or are preparing to present to customers in Spanish, Rosetta Stone offers award-winning language training resources to help them achieve their goals.

Over 12,000 businesses have chosen Rosetta Stone as their language training provider. Is your company ready to introduce its employees to a career skill they can use for a lifetime?

Jack Flynn
Sr. Content Strategist
Jack creates customer-focused content for use on established and emerging marketing platforms. Away from work, he savors the perks of mountain living with his wife, Pam.