Engaging employees has never been more important. Millennials now expect learning and development opportunities from their employer, not just a high salary and career progression. Additionally, according to stats cited in Forbes, 68% of workers overall say training and development is the most important employer policy.
There's a good reason for this generational shift. Where companies have an effective learning & design strategy in place, an infectious culture of curiosity and progression develops in turn. Employees become more involved with their company, rather than seeing it as just a ‘place of work’.
Because language learning is such an immersive learning activity, and one which directly improves communication efficiency, employees who learn a new language are more likely to be involved in their day-to-day activities. Language learning has also been shown to improve multitasking, listening, problem-solving and creativity - all of which should feedback into employee productivity and engagement.
Aside from creating an environment where employees are more likely to feel enriched and engaged, there are a number of key areas where your business is also likely to benefit.
There is nothing more supportive of team spirit than positive and consistent interaction. But when teams and their stakeholders speak another native language, communication challenges become more pronounced. By learning a language, employees not only learn a new skill, but quickly become more effective as team players. Statistics bear this out. A study cited by Entrepreneur has shown, 70% of workers who receive language training are more confident in their work, whether in teams, or with external partners and suppliers.
Though it’s not just productivity that language learning promotes: by ensuring clear and consistent communication, employee morale is likely to increase as well. This in turn increases retention and fosters an environment where teams communicate effectively & enjoy each other's company.
A multilingual work culture also boosts cultural awareness and inclusion. When a whole team or company speaks the same language as a minority of team members from another country, such employees are more likely to feel welcomed and accepted. Being able to speak directly in their own language to others (or vice versa) means they are less likely to self-isolate, or form ‘support silos’ with similar nationalities, thus distancing themselves from the rest of the team.
But language is more than just speech. Each language is the expression of a particular culture, with a specific approach to living. This means that team members who embark on language learning are learning the values of a culture at the same time. Hence, by attaining a new language, cultural sensitivity is realised too.
Fulfilled employees are loyal employees. According to LinkedIn’s latest Workplace Learning Report (2021), 82% of L&D pros agree that engaged learners are more likely to find new roles in their organisation. It goes without saying that improving employee engagement through L&D grows retention and loyalty in turn.
There’s another benefit. Employees who are involved in their work through L&D are more likely to promote their company outside work. This could be either verbally, amongst friends, or via social media. For example, if employees are engaged in language learning, they are likely to post their achievements on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the biggest causes of absenteeism is disinterest. L&Ds strategies counter this tendency. By fostering self-development, teams have a greater vested interest in their work and career progression within the organisation. The development provided also leads to increased productivity.
Another way companies benefit from language learning is increased revenue. For instance, a recent Hay Group study found that companies with engaged staff made 2.5x more revenue compared to companies with disengaged staff. This establishes a strong ROI to present to businesses leaders who may be worried that L&D programmes are unlikely to improve their bottom line. In fact, studies like these show the opposite: effective L&D results in a healthy turnover too.
Lastly, customer service is also likely to be improved. When employees are invested in their jobs, they are much more likely to be invested in the customer experience. This applies, particularly with language learning. With multilingual staff on board, and with staff trained to speak multiple languages, overseas queries are handled directly, establishing trust with the customers.
However, engagement isn’t about selecting an L&D strategy and letting your employees do the rest. Engaging staff is an ongoing process. To establish that team members are still inspired and involved in their L&D programme, set up periodic 1-to-1 reviews and allow feedback over email where possible. With regular feedback sessions in place, you can monitor how well your staff are doing, and, by keeping track of course completion rates, identify those who might be struggling.
The only thing to make sure of beforehand is that you have selected a language learning provider that allows you to monitor employee progress, preferably via an easy-to-access management platform. With an e-learning platform like this at your fingertips, you should have no problem motivating your team and engaging them in their learning every step of the way.
Through something as straightforward as a language learning programme, you can foster a culture of learning and growth, encourage team spirit and facilitate an environment that promotes diversity & inclusion. All of which ensure unified teams, streamlined customer service, and increased profits as a result.
At Busuu, we provide award-winning online training that supports your communication goals through language learning. We allow you to engage your employees through an e-learning package that assists staff and management alike. Our ultimate goal is to support you in breaking down language barriers. All of which allow your teams to make valuable connections that lead to stronger relationships, enhanced engagement, and business growth. Join over 500 leading companies including Puma, OECD, Inditex & Uber that trust Busuu for corporate language learning.
Contact us to learn more about our language learning solutions to support your employee engagement goals.