Smart and successful companies are made up of strong leadership, innovation and positive, forward thinking strategies. They strive to stay current and to expand where needed. In today’s world, they concentrate on what it takes to become more global. At aiaTranslations, we see companies making the smart decision to offer their employees foreign language training, a vital skill in today’s marketplace. Language training benefits employees in many ways – some less obviously than others. Here are three ways it helps.
Learning something new always bolster confidence. It’s a bit like a baby first learning to stand up and walk. Once you get it, there is no stopping you. First you cruise, then you take a few steps, then—before you know it—you are walking while loo
king down at your cell phone without bumping into anything or falling down. It’s the same thing with foreign languages. Learning foreign languages make us more confident, thus making us perform better and then we feel better and everyone benefits, from employees to clients. It’s a win-win situation, really.
And it saves time. Workers reportedly save an average of three hours or more weekly because of improved language skills. Knowing the language erases time wasted on resolving miscommunication or deciphering what someone said. Language proficiency can then help you concentrate on the task at hand, improving your productivity and overall job performance.
And confidence then leads to better work, which leads to higher employee retention and possible promotions from within the company. Again, it is saving a company money that would otherwise be needed to retrain new employees to get them up to speed.
Happy, contented employees lead to employees who don’t mind sticking around and businesses report employee retention is their first priority on their list if long-term strategies.
When employees can comfortably speak to clients as well as their colleagues, every day work is affected. Just as it is negatively affected when a new hire does not speak the team’s language. This can leave a new employee feeling ostracized or frustrated. They cannot establish a common bond with their new co-workers or trust with their managers. The team’s morale may decline as well.
But employees given language training feel rewarded and more engaged and more likely to remain with their current company. They can better relate and understand and be a vital part of the process.
This spreads to other parts of an employee’s life as well. If they are new to the United States or an expat living elsewhere, employees with the ability to speak the local language adjust to life in a new country more smoothly. This greatly reduces the chances of a disgruntled employee and failed assignments.
Also, if their family is also given the opportunity to learn the new language, the employee will benefit even more. When a family cannot adjust to the culture, it is harder on everyone. Knowing the language, however, makes everyday tasks easier such as buying groceries or a tank of gas, getting directions, a haircut or navigating the post office or local school system.
Companies who fail to learn the local language will not fully succeed in foreign markets. If you can’t understand each other, you can’t serve diverse clients well. And most countries have many languages which each come with their own cultures, nuances, and perceptions.
Speaking the language of your clients is key. Just ask any of the largest, global businesses. Multilingual employees who know the cultures will be able to assess and respond to the needs of clients more readily. They will know how to work with cultures that are more heavily relationship based than the United States. For example, when working with many Asian companies, it takes time to build a relationship before business ideas are discussed and agreed upon. Language savvy employees will understand the cadence of a language, not just its words. And that helps retain customers.
Language also helps companies target new areas when launching new marketing campaigns. Even when using a qualified translation company like aiaTranslations, it is helpful to have staff on hand who know the language your campaign is using. This helps the company make sure the campaign targets the correct audience in the right way. It also that the value and messaging are accurately translated.
Companies determined to acquire and keep loyal customers, should invest in learning the targeted languages. Doing so will prove to possible future clients that you are dedicated to understanding them and their needs and help you with you overseas expansion efforts.
From employee happiness and retention to successful global campaigns, language training is a must have on every company’s bucket list. It is one way to enrich both your employees’ lives and the life of your business’s bottom line.
By Ilona Knudson