While language can drive connection and bring people together, language gaps have the ability to divide people and prevent collaboration. The US is one of the most linguistically diverse nations in the world, with as many as 430 languages spoken by its inhabitants and a population of almost 26 million who describe themselves as under-confident English speakers. Faced with such immense linguistic diversity in the country and across its workforce, companies are realizing that language training is a powerful way to recruit, train, and retain employees. The business benefits are clear. By using language training to nurture a culturally inclusive environment, organizations are more likely to attract a broader range of employees, customers, and associates.
Grow your business through language training
Not only do increased language skills extend the reach of your business, employee language training strengthens your employer brand and provides a better experience for your customers.
1. Spur productivity
The US workforce closely reflects the nation’s broad cultural and linguistic spectrum. While diversity fuels innovation and success in more ways than one, it’s vital to ensure employees from different backgrounds are able to communicate effectively with one another and can achieve their full potential in the workplace. Corporate language barriers hinder productivity and can negatively impact workplace safety.
Employee language training improves involvement in the workplace by providing individuals access to a common language. Companies with a robust language development program see better employee engagement and collaboration and report higher rates of retention.
By reducing communication gaps in the workplace, language training helps multilingual teams understand instructions, share ideas or express concerns, work efficiently, and achieve better collective results. In every area of business, effective communication yields greater returns for both the organization and its customers.
2. Inspire innovation
When considering the business benefits of employee language training, people often overlook its impact on innovation. The diverse and alternative perspectives that naturally occur across culturally diverse teams help to fuel innovation and enable companies to better represent customers from diverse backgrounds. When language barriers prevent employees from bringing solutions and ideas to the table, innovation and growth can be constricted.
By including language in their training and development programs, companies are able to better attract and retain innovative multilingual employees. In turn this helps develop messaging, products, and services that appeal to culturally diverse markets.
3. Facilitate operations and logistics
As companies expand operations internationally, establishing strong connections with multinational logistics or shipping companies can improve and facilitate order fulfillment. Language skills are a major business asset in negotiating with external service providers and achieving the level of service that warrants customer satisfaction.
4. Improve customer service
No matter the nature of your business, there is no disputing the value of effective customer service. It’s therefore important that as your company grows, client success teams can provide support for domestic and overseas customers in a language they understand. Rosetta Stone provides top-tier employee language training and helps thousands of business teams worldwide build strong multilingual support teams, and enhance their global reputation and penetration.
5. Optimize professional opportunities and business success
As you look to introduce language training and development programs for your employees, it’s important to identify growth opportunities at every level of your organization. Language gaps not only stifle professional performance, but can also create power dynamics that hinder employee confidence or involvement.
6. Manage linguistically diverse teams
When managing employees who don’t speak the same language, it’s more challenging to provide constructive leadership and generate results. It can take extra time, effort, and resources to help multilingual employees understand and meet objectives. All of these barriers can pose challenges to maintaining safety, consistency, and productivity in the workplace.
In almost every instance of leadership, guiding by example is an effective way to establish expectations and motivate employee development. Language training is no exception. In addition to providing tools for employees to access the domestic language, leaders in charge of linguistically diverse teams can participate in language learning themselves to connect better with their employees. Using an employees’ native language to communicate on even the most basic level evokes trust and clearly portrays respect, and in the long run, helps to build connections and construct positive working relationships.
7. Avert language-related power dynamics
Providing language training opportunities for employees at every tier can diminish language-related power dynamics in the workplace. As the universal language of business, English is often also perceived as the language of power and leadership. Employees whose skills fall short in English are often perceived (or may perceive themselves) as lacking professional skills and being less eligible for career advancement opportunities. In predominantly English-speaking companies, this self-perpetuating prophecy can put culturally diverse employees at a professional disadvantage.
When language training is introduced, it demonstrates support for linguistically diverse employees. Those who may otherwise have permitted language barriers to eclipse their professional success are able to set aside that barrier. Language training creates equal opportunities for professional growth and success. This enhances wellbeing in the workplace, and encourages linguistically diverse employees to stay within the organization.
8. Forge international collaboration
Large multinational corporations often struggle to collaborate across geographical borders. Language training has the powerful ability to encourage the seamless flow of corporate communication and to enhance the success of company-wide initiatives.
The best way to address language barriers in your business
Rosetta Stone for Enterprise provides comprehensive employee language training and assessment solutions. It covers 24 languages, enabling organizations in every industry to recruit, train, and retain multilingual teams with the ability to work effectively together and accelerate business success.
Offering industry-specific content, unlimited Live Tutoring, and industry-leading assessment options, the versatile web- and app-based curriculum addresses the specific language needs of every employee. Rosetta Stone’s enterprise solutions have closed communication gaps in, and supported the success of 12,000+ organizations worldwide.