Home Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Language training boosts employee wellbeing and success

Language training boosts employee wellbeing and success

by Rosetta Stone
A diverse group of coworkers collaborate on a project.

Dr Jacob Burdis is a highly accomplished linguistics expert, and one of Rosetta Stone’s business leaders. He recently facilitated a panel discussion, focused on Learning and Development (L&D), in which directors from some of the world’s leading brands (Coca-Cola Bottling Co, Fossil Inc, and Western Union) shared insights on topics around how to support employee wellbeing with L&D programs. 

How does L&D benefit employee wellbeing?

The priority for L&D leaders is to ensure every employee can access the necessary knowledge and training to drive their company strategy forward. Their role is to identify skills gaps and to provide employee training that will help repair those. Ongoing learning and professional development programs enable each individual to fulfill their full potential and gain optimal satisfaction from their work. 

A robust Learning and Development strategy not only aids business growth, but also benefits employees looking to advance in their career. In many cases, it also centers on creating a supportive corporate environment, so that employees can thrive and feel comfortable in the workplace. In many cases this focus aligns with organizational goals forDiversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I).

Why is language learning an L&D priority? 

Language training plays an important part in enabling communication, but is also a central aspect of personal identity. Although words themselves can be translated, the social cues and cultural perspectives that intersect with spoken language can be a barrier to employees from different backgrounds working positively and effectively together. The same issues impact relationships between employees and customers from different cultural backgrounds.

As companies grow and diversify, it’s important to ensure that every employee can relate to their coworkers and customers, and that they’re able to collaborate in a way that supports business growth and development. Language training is a powerful way to support non-fluent employees to succeed at work, to aid collaboration through multilingual teams, and to support employees in developing personal and professional networks in different regions of the world.

How can poor communication impact business performance?

Where communication is hindered by language barriers, corporate performance can be affected in any number of the following ways:

  • Productivity diminishes due to ineffective collaboration
  • Safety is compromised and costly mistakes or liability issues are more likely to occur 
  • A lack of interpersonal relationships causes employee dissatisfaction and higher churn rates
  • Companies are less successful at serving global customers. This can result in lost opportunities and a decrease in revenue.
  • Poor levels of creativity and innovation are reported, as alternative perspectives are left out
  • Employees are unable to grasp technical training (often only available in the corporate language) 

Language training aids employee development and success

Corporate language training not only improves communication, but also helps build an inclusive culture. It’s proven to improve employee engagement by promoting a supportive and connected corporate community and enabling non-native employees to contribute their best work. What’s more, when employee language training is encouraged for all employees, the cultural access and awareness that comes from learning another language can bring employees closer together, and enable external-facing teams to form deeper and more supportive connections with global customers.

Learning a language also unlocks opportunities for growth, enrichment and fulfillment both in and outside of the office.  Whether or not they are native speakers of the corporate language, employees who seek language training are able to strengthen their relationships with multilingual coworkers and customers. Since organizations ultimately seek profitability by providing an optimal service for customers, the impact that language training has on business success can be tremendous. By serving their employees in a way that makes them better, broader, and wiser, companies with learning and development strategies that include language training report better and more sustained business growth across the globe.

The sum of these benefits results in better rates of satisfaction among both employees and customers. It reduces employee turnover and contributes to a deeper sense of belonging for everyone involved in the organization.

Creating an inclusive and equitable workplace with language training

One of the barriers that L&D professionals encounter is that deficiencies in employee language skills often pass under the radar. Even when employees claim spoken fluency on their resume, their language skills in other areas (reading and writing, for example) can prevent them from fulfilling their full potential at work or seeking promotions. This can result in higher levels of employee churn and the loss of talented employees.

Those who lack proficiency in the corporate language often fear for their job security and try to remain unnoticed. Since a lack of language proficiency can at times be confused with insufficient knowledge or professional skills, this can impact their confidence and performance. 

By providing corporate language training, companies create an environment in which employees are empowered to seek training. This in turn creates more equity and diversity through additional opportunities for professional growth and success for all employees.

What makes an effective language training solution?

Flexible online platforms

Most modern-day employees find it most convenient to access training online. It allows them to study on a convenient schedule and to tailor training to their needs, level, and learning style. In organizations where employees are dispersed or have a hybrid schedule, web-based training makes more practical sense and decreases the logistical burden and cost of gathering people together in person. Online and app-based training enables companies to be more inclusive of employees in different regions and to provide a broader range of courses to meet employee needs.

A culture of development from the start

For new employees, the onboarding process is a great time to outline training opportunities and encourage uptake. It sends a clear message that employee needs will be supported, and that individuals of all backgrounds and levels will be encouraged to grow and develop within the organization.

Responding to employee needs

Shezelle Krei, Global Head of Learning & Development at Western Union points to the importance of listening and responding to what employees need in order to succeed. By failing to provide the necessary training for employees, she explains “we expect them (employees) to meet us where we are, rather than meeting them where they are.”

Record keeping and reporting

Part of developing an effective L&D program is to understand what’s needed and keep clear records of the tools that are already in place. A language training audit can reveal any existing regional training initiatives and evaluate company spend on existing providers. Many larger companies find that by consolidating costs and selecting one globally scalable training solution, they can ensure a more targeted, effective service, and provide better cost efficiency.

Ex’zavia Hicks, Head of Organizational Learning & Development at Fossil Group, Inc. describes the importance of finding the most relevant and effective training tools to respond to the needs of employees and empower growth. She recommends being mindful about the tools being used for professional development, and to choose relevant and cost effective solutions. Her advice is to “reduce the amount of things that you have and get the things that you need.”

How do you measure training success?

One of the challenges for L&D professionals is to measure and quantify the effectiveness of any training solution. The expert panel offered many metrics for measuring success and impact on employee wellbeing.

“Success comes from seeing behavior changes and improved connectivity,” says Ex’zavia Hicks.

This certainly rings true for many customers of Rosetta Stone for Enterprise. After a short period of time, companies who prioritize language training see more customer engagement, improved levels of service, and better employee involvement. 

Considering corporate language training for your teams?

Rosetta Stone for Enterprise provides training in 24 languages, with a focus on business communication and career-centered skills. A clear administrative dashboard enables company leaders to monitor learner engagement and measure the growth in employee language proficiency over time.

Our language training consultants will identify a solution that matches your company’s scale, training requirements, and budget. We will help you to provide effective training, and will take great pleasure in witnessing the benefits this brings to your business by providing a sense of belonging, and supporting the professional involvement and development of your employees.

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