Whether your company is seeking to break into new territories, retrain staff overseas, or reward employee success, corporate language training offers a perfect solution to improving business efficiency and company morale at the same time.
In this post, we’ll show you how to make your language programme as effective as possible, covering everything from teaching techniques, to gathering data to improve learning outcomes.
Corporate language training helps businesses communicate with global customers and global team members. The success of corporate language training is borne out by some impressive stats. According to the British Chamber of Commerce, investing in language and cultural skills can increase export sales by 45% and has a positive impact on overall performance, including employee productivity, communication, and customer service. Meanwhile, a study cited by Entrepreneur has shown that 70% of workers who receive language training become more confident in their work as a result.
So with a clear overview of what corporate language training is, how do you implement it in the best way possible? Keep reading to find out more.
In-company language training can be easily matched with business objectives and processes. Corporate language training can be structured to accommodate work presentations, meetings or negotiations, and many other business practices. In effect, this could mean building up a vocabulary of phrases typically used in team meetings for a better understanding of each other’s wins and challenges. Or it could mean helping employees establish rapport with clients from abroad via cross-cultural training.
Whatever the approach, before anything else, find out which business scenarios your staff are likely to find themselves in, then structure your plan accordingly.
Whether corporate English training or non-native languages, another important factor to keep in mind is flexibility. The learning mix which probably provides the greatest flexibility is online self-study and teacher-led study combined.
Commonly known as blended learning, this combination of teaching methods comes with a number of benefits: since the material is web-based, this lowers the cost when implementing at scale, hence achieving a greater ROI. Additionally, because blended learning allows you to personalise training, it increases the likelihood of completion as students create a schedule and curriculum that works for them.
While corporate training and development should leave the learner with no doubt as to why it’s required, it should also be responsive - taking into account the needs of your employees, which are likely to change with their ongoing work commitments.
To ensure no learner is left behind, monitor the learning progress of each employee (your online language learning tool should allow this) and encourage every employee to report where they are having issues, and where they think the course could be improved.
Following on from the previous point, just as important as inviting employee feedback on the course itself is measuring employee engagement - that is, identifying top learners and empowering them with recognition, or identifying struggling team members, and providing them with additional support.
Monitoring employee engagement can be achieved in a number of ways. With regular catch-ups (i.e. informal 1-to-1s) you should be able to establish engagement relatively quickly. By making these conversations private, you should also get an honest picture of how each team member is developing in their corporate language training.
However, it’s important not to overlook the value of quantifiable, measurable metrics. Make sure to send out standardised questionnaires as well. In this way, you should gain crucial insights into overall performance too. If you don’t have a questionnaire prepared, consider using the Q12 Gallup poll as a useful guideline.
Try to encourage regular communication about your language programme. This is particularly vital if you are running language training that covers different regions or countries. In that case, it is especially important to keep everyone up to speed about things like course changes, learning milestones, or orienting to a new learning method.
As well as sending out a newsletter, you can post regular course updates or learner success stories via your internal social media channels. This not only has the impact of keeping people up to date, but it also keeps everyone enthused - ensuring that your employees don’t lose interest in the course or their own progress along the way.
In addition to posting about the course via internal channels, it’s also important to post about course achievements via social media, e.g. Linkedin. This could be a learning milestone (x number of students completing their course) or highlighting high achievers (learners who’ve earned particularly high marks). Finally, where possible, encourage corporate advocacy on social media too.
In an industry that is always in flux, it’s essential to stay up to date on language learning as practiced across the globe. Whether seeking new learning techniques or looking for examples of how to apply the suggestions covered in this blog, it pays to keep in touch with your peers.
If you are an HR professional pursuing new ways to enhance corporate English training or another language, our recent language training webinar is a great place to start in creating your own language learning strategy.
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Learn how we can reinforce the effectiveness of your corporate language training plans through online language learning.