Professional Development

Why You Should Add Language Training to Your Employee Retention Toolkit

You’ve invested in hiring, training, and developing your employees. It’s natural to want to reap the rewards of having a talented team on your side not just today but for years to come. And increasingly, the key to improving employee retention isn’t about cool benefits like MarioKart in the breakroom or even big salary raises. It’s about offering your employees the opportunity for both personal and professional growth.

In fact, research suggests that a lack of training can be a primary driver of employee turnover. Employees who are dissatisfied with benefits and opportunities naturally grow restless and may cast a roving eye towards polishing their resume. In a recent survey of managers, 76% of respondents indicated they wanted more training and development and 47% confirmed they were considering leaving their current employer to seek out opportunities elsewhere.

In order to retain your best talent, it’s imperative to put your best foot forward. Adding language training to your learning and development efforts provides tangible personal and professional benefits that both employees and employers will appreciate.

How does language training drive employee retention?

Findings from a 2019 Rosetta Stone Learner Impact study are consistent with the conclusion that training, and in this case specifically language training, matters to your employees. And no, we’re not talking about endless zoom meetings with stale powerpoints. Employees want training and development that makes a real difference in their professional and personal lives. And they value employers who can provide it.

Rosetta Stone found that 80% of the employees surveyed who were participating in language training felt more positively about their employer. Furthermore, 66% reported being more engaged with their work and employers were able to attribute language learning training with a 19% reduction in employee turnover. Those are the kinds of numbers any employer would envy.

Here are four main ways that language training can prevent employee turnover and ultimately improve your bottom line.

  1. Language training can inspire a more inclusive company culture.

The more you make an effort to show your employees you value their voice, the more they’ll feel valued as employees. Extending language training communicates you care about making sure everyone within your company is heard and understood. It can signal an inclusive company culture and foster greater tolerance.

Of course, diversity and inclusion are on the training menu in most workplaces, but it can feel a bit performative (not to mention awkward) if you’re not practicing what you preach. Offering language training not only communicates inclusivity in the workplace, but it can put diversity into action by enabling the recruitment of a truly global workforce. Being able to recruit talent from all over the world lets your company stay agile in an increasingly global economy.

  1. Language training can encourage collaboration.

Language training hones your communication skills, including giving learners more practice in active listening and verbal communication. While it might seem your employees are learning to conjugate verbs in present past participle Yes, that’s really a thing), they’re actually also learning more about their own language in the bargain. Employees with these next-level communication skills can set the stage for a more collaborative work environment by removing language barriers and demonstrating greater cultural intelligence.

Ines Vandenberghe, an account manager with Rosetta Stone, points out that clear communication and removing language barriers is especially important given the challenges remote workforces currently face. And no we’re not just talking about those embarrassing moments when folks forget they’re on camera during the weekly virtual staff meetings.

“Ninety-three percent of communication is non-verbal. So when we are on those Zoom team Skype calls with or without our video, we’re losing vital pieces of communication.”

Better communication skills are a direct benefit to employers who reap the rewards of a collaborative environment that encourages productivity and innovation. A Stanford study found that participants of collaborative teams persisted 64% longer than solitary peers when faced with challenging tasks. Employees engaged in collaboration also reported higher engagement and lower fatigue levels that persisted for several weeks after the completion of a project or task. It’s clear better collaboration is the secret sauce of a successful endeavor.

  1. Language training can increase confidence.

Employees with blossoming language skills feel more confident not only about engaging with others who speak the language but also about themselves. Tackling a challenging task can inspire confidence and as progress builds, this boost can cross over into other professional and personal endeavors. Your employees may discover they suddenly feel empowered to book that trip to Machu Picchu or stroll the bazaar in Morocco. Perhaps they’re confident enough to chat with a global supplier or speak at a professional conference half an ocean away.

Employees who feel confident in their roles and are satisfied at work also create happy customers. Harvard Business Review reported that with each one-star improvement in a company’s Glassdoor rating, they found a corresponding 1.3-point out of 100 improvement in customer satisfaction scores. The impact was doubled in industries that required frequent and close contact with customers.

  1. Language training provides opportunities for growth.

Language training isn’t just an asset to your business. It also provides opportunities for your employees through increased travel, resume building, and more. Learning another language is a marketable skill that serves employers well in a global economy but is also something tangible employees can take with them. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

In a recent study, 9 out of 10 employees cited opportunities for growth and advancement as more desirable than long-term salary raises. Whether your employees are learning another language for personal or professional reasons, the end result is the same. Language training is a growth opportunity and one that is highly valued no matter which side of the desk you’re on. 

If your business has been struggling with retention, consider what you’re giving your employees in terms of growth and opportunity. Walk a mile in their shoes and ask yourself if the benefits you’re providing are what your employees want or need. Focusing on tangible takeaways like language training can be the catalyst to transforming your learning and development from a retention liability to an asset.

Ready to add language training to your employee retention toolkit?

0
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.