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Panos Kraniotis

Rosetta Stone

Regional Director, Europe

Read more from Panos Kraniotis

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How Language Training Impacts the Bottom Line


Globalisation has made acquiring language skills really important at all levels of the organisation and across business functions. Complex business challenges demand an international understanding and a level of cooperation never before seen. The ability to communicate with clients, potential customers, partners, and employees across multiple regions is critical.

For this reason, language training shouldn’t be the exclusive domain of senior leaders in the business. All companies with a global outlook need employees that can communicate effectively, both internally and externally across geographic regions. 

Opening Lines of Communication

Language proficiency in the workplace can have a direct impact on a business’ bottom line. Not only are stronger relationships formed, but more successful interactions result from conversations with customers, suppliers and colleagues in the language they’re most comfortable with. A certain level of trust is built that otherwise could not exist. This can lead to more sales, higher productivity and more successful working relationships.

It often falls to HR or Learning & Development (L&D) teams to show the benefit of training programmes on the business. For them, how can an upshift in key performance indicators be directly linked back to language learning initiatives? To date, it has been difficult to do, but it is a critical part of a successful programme as measurement of progress and the demonstration of actual business benefit of all investments is imperative, especially in strained times when budgets are tight and companies are scaling back on expenditures.

Demonstrating Return on Investment

To reach this level of insight, the essential first step is reporting learning outcomes centrally. If training is initiated and managed in departmental silos, it is very difficult to get a pan-organisation view of success.

In today’s world where digital learning has been a primary resource for business-based learning programmes, allowing employees to learn on the job, at home or on-the-go through their mobile devices, businesses often tap into the latest digital offerings that best suit their needs.

Our own Rosetta Stone Catalyst program, for example, just launched and provides HR and L&D teams with the robust administrative tools needed to measure and report on progress so that business leaders can see a direct return on investment. Administrators can track performance, proficiency gains, and usage across learners, teams, geographies, and languages. Reports include progress tests that measure learning outcomes, and signal when the employee is ready for new opportunities. This, coupled with the ability to serve all learner levels across an organisation, is helping to change the way global businesses learn new languages.

Working and Learning in the Digital Age

Technology has dramatically changed language learning for business and the benefits of digital-based learning are many. They include the practical benefit of being able to efficiently rollout an online and mobile training programme when the organisation is globally dispersed.

Then there’s the skills benefit of being able to teach proper pronunciation through digital learning programmes. After all, it’s tough to develop good pronunciation from text books alone. Face-to-face sessions can achieve a good result, but they’re often expensive and hard to arrange to fit around employee schedules. Today, digital language learning that utilises speech recognition software and online interaction with native speakers combines the personal touch with the efficiency of remote learning. Plus, the best speech recognition tools allow even visual learners to boost their language skills by displaying speech patterns visually.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

There’s just no such thing as ‘one-size-fits-all’ with language learning as learners have a diverse range of needs and each person learns in an individual way. Digital learning programmes adapt to learners, both in terms of content delivery and pace, and deliver a more personalised path for learning.

This level of individualisation can now be taken even further with highly adaptive digital learning programmes. Instead of relying exclusively on self-assessment to determine the level of training needed, these programmes can individually assess each learner and assign them to an appropriate learning path based on proficiency level and learner goals. It takes the guessing game out of the equation for both the employee and employer.

Relevant Content

Another innovation in digital language learning is industry-specific content. This can maximise the benefits that languages bring to the workplace, helping employees engage with content that is familiar to their everyday work. In the Catalyst program, learners can choose certain content based on their industry. Training should be appropriate to the situations in which the skills are going to be used and appropriate to the learner’s level in order to motivate learners and yield the best results.

The integration of modern technology into work-based training has enhanced the scope and opportunity for language learning to help businesses perform better. From the possibilities such tools offer for individualisation, industry-specific content and powerful measurement and reporting to demonstrate return on investment, companies can now be better equipped to meet the challenges of globalisation – and to reap the rewards.

By providing employees with the tools and training they need to become proficient and confident in the language needed, businesses can close existing language skills gaps, thus enabling them to improve customer service, productivity, safety, employee retention, engagement – and, ultimately – profits. 

Author Profile Picture
Panos Kraniotis

Regional Director, Europe

Read more from Panos Kraniotis

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