Last September, goFLUENT President John Ambrose talked about how language can become a strategic enabler for multi-national organizations in a Chief Learning Officer article. Read more about this here.
Today, four major enterprise “learning pillars” exist in almost every company: IT skills, business skills, leadership skills, and compliance. It’s time for language learning to be elevated as the fifth pillar. If you hear any of the following three phrases in your organization, language learning could be a blind spot:
“Everyone in our company speaks English.” If you are in a multinational organization that is focused on growth, up to 50 percent of your employees are in markets where English is not the native language.
“We just let the regions handle it.” While most other ‘pillars’ have been centralized, language learning has not. Think of the number of countries where your company does business. Now, think of the duplication of effort managing expensive local language learning programs.
“Language learning is not strategic.” Business today is global, and growth for most companies is in non-English speaking developing markets. Further, companies pay an average of 10-15 percent more for bilingual employees, according to U.S. News & World Report. So why isn’t language strategic?The economic downside of not treating language learning as a global strategic initiative is frightening.
Here’s how you can course-correct your L&D strategy with a five-step plan:
Evaluate rogue spend. Take a look and you will be amazed (and shocked!) at how much money is still being spent on expensive classroom-based and other disparate language learning around the globe. Tally it up.
Align with your global business partners. Communicate the benefits of a centrally coordinated program that frees the business partners from redundant tasks of qualifying, procuring and maintaining many small local relationships.
Choose a truly global partner. Be sure to choose a language learning partner that has the global support in the countries that are key, i.e., China, Brazil, Mexico, Africa and Europe. By buying globally, but working with a partner with feet on the ground in key geographies, you can be assured of the critical local support needed for success.
Rally around the outcomes. Everyone loves positive results and successful KPIs. By elevating language learning to the pantheon of L&D pillars, you can extend your existing scorecards and demonstrate value back to the business.
Look beyond English. Find a vendor who can support you with a variety of business language learning options and can flexibly support your workforce’s needs!