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How Language Training Can Benefit Your Business

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English will remain the global language of business for at least another generation, but more workers today understand the benefits of learning a global language like Spanish or Mandarin. The Economist estimated that a worker who learns another language can on average expect to earn an extra $68,000 over their lifetimes, and businesses will fight to snatch these more valuable workers up.

But instead of having to spend time looking for workers who know certain languages, businesses should strongly consider offering a language training course or hire a language trainer. While many businesses may believe that language training is unnecessary, learning another language in general can offer plenty of benefits for your employees and by extent your business in ways which you may not have imagined.

Cultural Respect

Some skeptics of language training may argue that there is no point teaching something which the workers cannot master quickly. And it is true that workers will not become instantly fluent as that requires years of constant training.

Nevertheless, language classes offer plenty of benefits even if they will not impart fluency. For example, language classes do not teach just language, but cultural education and they can help pay for medical costs such as varicose veins. They also talk about Chinese or German or the appropriate foreign culture, explaining customs and traditions in those lands. Knowing these traditions can enable workers to both better work with foreigners as they learn to respect said traditions instead of viewing it as “weird” and also know how to show respect.

And even if workers come away from a language training course knowing not much more than how to get around a city, knowing some of a foreign culture’s language is a sign of respect and shows that your workers are willing to learn from others. While your workers may not come away fluent from a language training course, the knowledge they have gained will make it easier for them to communicate with important foreign contacts.

Better Employees

An employee who knows two language is obviously better than an employee who knows one. But the language difference is not the only reason why the first employee is superior. The act of learning the language in and of itself, a difficult task as noted above, imparts certain desirable traits.

For example, the Financial Times noted that bilinguals are better able to comprehend things from another person’s point of view. The effort of learning a language also means that bilinguals must be good listeners, take things slowly, deliberate over the rules which a foreign language follows, and then understand the exceptions to those rules. And the pride in learning a language imparts confidence.

As a result of all of these traits, bilinguals are better communicators, managers, and leaders in general. Learning a language is one of the most challenging things any of us can do, but the rewards are so much more than just being able to communicate with a new group of people. Businesses who want better performing employees should promote efforts like language classes to get these valuable traits in their own workers.

For the Benefit of the Employees

Employees know today that in this globalized economy, they must constantly learn new skills to get ahead. Unfortunately, many workers do not know where they can learn new skills without paying through the nose for classes which may not prove to be much value.

By providing training classes in a skill which anyone can use, businesses show employees that they want to boost their skills and care about their future. I shall concede that if you run the sort of business where workers leave at the drop of a hat and are not committed to staying long term, then perhaps language training classes may not be the choice.

But if your business needs to improve its employee retention, offering training and development is a great way to keep employees to stay as the Wall Street Journal points out. And offering classes in Mandarin or French gives employees skills which they can use in a wide variety of fields, even should they choose to leave your industry. 

Learning a language is not easy, and offering language development classes is a long-term commitment which may not bear immediate results. But the rewards are immense. Workers with your firm will learn valuable skills and traits beyond the language, feel like they are part of a company which cares about their future, and understand important cultures.

Understanding languages means understand both the world around you and far away. If your business is truly committed to helping your workers and training, language courses are a great way to start.

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