Learning and Development

What’s missing from your L&D plan?

In 2020, employers are responding to the unique challenges of an increasingly remote workforce by enhancing online learning and increasing L&D budgets for the third year in a row. A study from LinkedIn indicates 57% of employers plan to invest more of their L&D budgets than ever before in virtual learning. 

However, a majority of employees and employers express continued dissatisfaction in the tangible results of professional training programs. A recent Forbes article cites research that employees who feel their company offers positive learning opportunities are 21% less likely to have left that organization in the last three years. So where’s the disconnect and how can we fix what’s missing from learning and development plans so you can keep your best talent in house?

The secret sauce to a successful L&D plan may be contained in recent insights that employees actually prefer opportunities for growth and meaningful work over straightforward salary increases. The key to increasing satisfaction with learning and development initiatives may be focusing on benefits employees feel provide them both personal and professional enrichment. Learning that not only beefs up the resume for future career opportunities but also provides personal growth and satisfaction.

There are few learning and development initiatives that fit that description as neatly as language training. Language training brings beneficial knowledge to the boardroom table and can increase your company’s global mobility. And it can also give employees real-world results like becoming bilingual and bringing a world of experiences to their doorstep through the power of language.

Here are just a few ways offering language training can enhance your learning and development plan and give both you and your employees the tangible benefits your L&D budget has been hoping for.

5 ways language training bolsters your learning and development plan

1. Language training cultivates soft skills.

Effective communication is the foundation of valued workplace skillsets like accountability and teamwork that employers say are some of the most crucial career skills gaps they face in today’s work environments. Many employees might have the technical skills to complete a job, but they lack the effective communication skills to function well as part of a team.

Language training not only teaches other languages but can unlock insights into our own language and everyday lexicon. These insights can become powerful building blocks for creating more articulate and thoughtful communicators in the workplace.

2. Language training provides focus on diversity and inclusion.

An inclusive work environment begins with providing every employee a way to have their voice and concerns heard. Becoming bilingual not only leads to greater understanding of other languages but can promote tolerance and diversity within your work culture. Research also supports that a more diverse workplace can increase innovation and economic performance.

Language learning can also foster a sense of community within your workforce. Because you’ll have multiple learners tackling the same language, they can reach out to establish practice buddies or form study groups. Rosetta Stone has found this same phenomenon in virtual workspaces where employees engaged in language training are encouraging one another and sharing success stories.

3. Language training can build your employer brand.

Who are you to your employees and who do you want to be? Thinking about your brand as an employer and carefully crafting it in the same way that you create a customer-facing brand is a powerful way to communicate company values. And there’s no better way to build your brand than to offer benefits employees actually care about.

In the same way marketing talks about building credibility with “brand ambassadors,” you want your employees to be ambassadors of your company culture. Giving employees the chance to become more culturally aware and build marketable skills communicates that you care about the people you employ.

4. Language training can be a driver of employee retention.

Including language training in your learning and development budget indicates you care about providing benefits to your employees and encouraging diversity. That investment can create a culture of loyal and enthusiastic employees with long-term returns on employee retention. 

In business-speak, your ROI or return on investment on a new employee is much longer than the time, cost, and effort it takes to continue to develop the talent you already have. And the longer your talent stays by your side, the more your investment in professional development pays off.

5. Language training allows employees to customize learning journeys.

Offering customized content and a way for employees to engage at their own pace increases learner engagement. Learners are much more likely to continue to make progress in training and professional development initiatives if they can choose how and when to access those resources. 

Empower your people to take control of their language learning.

One-size-fits-all learning solutions, such as zoom meetings and endless powerpoints, frequently fail because they don’t allow learners to access training when they need it. This is sometimes referred to as “push” versus “pull” learning. “Pull” training lets employees access or “pull” resources when they need them versus “push” training where management or leadership demands engagement. Employers see much higher levels of engagement and greater benefits in the workplace when employees can choose where, when, and what to learn.

Eager to discover what’s been missing from your learning and development plan? Start by offering language training today.

Kaz Weida
Kaz Weida is a freelance journalist and photographer who is passionate about crafting content that helps entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes tackle challenges. When not at her keyboard, Kaz can be found in the kitchen indulging in a little craft cocktail inspiration.