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Talking business across the globe.
By: Michael Winter

As the world becomes smaller communication and language between businesses(especially if they are not of your own tongue), can create obstacles. How is this overcome??

Over the past decade, the pace of globalisation has accelerated. Cross-border business has become increasingly complex, and organisations must adapt to succeed. Many executive teams are tasked with devising policies and strategies to cope with ongoing globalisation and prepare their workforce for the realities of working cross-culturally with people from disparate backgrounds. How can organisations thrive in the global economy?

English language knowledge is imperative for organisations looking to break into the North American market and beyond, as English remains the lingua franca of the business world. Yet as other regions rise to prominence on the world stage, organisations wanting a more global presence need region-specific language learning as well, either to entice new customers or recruit potential employees. Thus, globalisation speaks to the need for second language acquisition.

“Language acquisition applies to everyone in business, from front-line employees to the CEO,” says Armin Hopp, founder and president of Speexx. “Any customer-facing role that deals with international customers can benefit from online language training, as a better understanding
of the customers they serve can lead to higher levels of service and increased customer satisfaction rates.
Language training programs can also reduce mistakes and miscommunications while minimising expenses.” Hopp says that when developing a training program (either online or through a blended solution), it’s crucial to set goals and expectations and be prepared to meet
the program’s unique challenges.

The benefits of language training programs are numerous.
Second language acquisition offers several benefits to both employers and employees. One strategic benefit is increasing employee engagement. “Language training programs appeal to a wide range of workers as a tool for increasing employee engagement, especially if the organisation is international,” Hopp says.

“They’re particularly important for executives managing international teams — being able to confidently and effectively communicate with your colleagues is crucial in creating trust and mutual respect. Also, understanding new cultures and languages gives executives a comparative advantage when moving into global markets.”

At the tactical level, successful second language acquisition helps build trust with external partners, increases customer satisfaction, reinforces team camaraderie and reduces miscommunication. The more people understand each other and are fine-tuned to picking up more, larger differences, the higher the tolerance threshold and the easier it is to work together, avoid mistakes and learn faster from them when they do occur. Internal and external communications need to be sent and understood at the highest level.
Language training can go far toward building trust, especially between the sales team and potential customers. “The employee benefits are just as far-reaching,” Hopp says. “Language acquisition transcends organisations and follows employees throughout their careers. By investing in language training, organisations prove their commitment to employees’ professional development and their human capital, increasing employee satisfaction and encouraging retention.”

Intercultural communication is a necessary component to language learning. Organisations need people who understand the culture of the target market. “One side of language training is the technical side,” Hopp says. “The other side is being able to understand the business context of how and why words are spoken and delivered. Even the speed and etiquette of writing and answering emails can have cultural differences.

Knowing when your team or your customers prefer emails to face-to-face meetings will help to increase positive communication outcomes.” Employee motivation is a key factor in language learning success¹, which can be increased by connecting employees’ outside interests to language learning through intercultural training. industry insights.

Lay the groundwork to mitigate challenges

Having pre-emptive conversations with all stakeholders about language learning program impact should mitigate any potential stakeholder issues. “Management buy-in is critical for successful program implementation,” Hopp says.

“Managers will want to know what the outcomes of language learning will be, as there’s a conviction in management that increasing soft skills directly benefits the bottom line. At the same time when you’re talking to your managers, make sure you’re addressing any concerns your IT team might have, to reduce implementation challenges on the technical side.”

These days, organisations have more options for their language learning than strictly in-person training.
“There are many advantages to online or blended language learning programs,” Hopp says. “They’re faster, cheaper and more flexible than traditional methods. At the same time, online blended learning programs allow for face to-face learning through the human cloud, providing personalised learning opportunities and one-on-one attention. Blended solutions offer the best of both worlds, with the ease of digital and the attention of in person training.”

Encouraging employees to learn a new language has many benefits, from increased customer satisfaction and reduced risk, to greater sales opportunities for sales in new markets. By motivating employees to learn a second or third language, organisations prove their commitment to development, boosting employee engagement and giving organisations an edge over the global competition.

1 Karaoglu, S. (2008). “Motivating Language Learners to Succeed.” Compleat Links, TESOL International Association.

Added: 03-04-2018