Consumption in emerging markets is expected to top $30 trillion in ten years. Accordingly, 71% of business leaders plan to grow their companies in markets where English is not the primary language. That is an unprecedented effort.
However, the American labor supply does not dovetail with those efforts. Only 1 in 10 Americans speak a second language and 70% of the Global 1000 workforce are non-native English speakers. Home or abroad, there isn’t enough talent to meet our global aspirations.
This all fits with 90% of business line leaders reporting that their teams face language proficiency challenges. But, remarkably, only 33% of those leaders consult their HR departments to help them solve these language challenges.
Taken together, these facts represent a growing challenge to the American economy—but, if mediated correctly, they can also represent an opportunity for your business to obtain a competitive advantage.
All It Takes Is a Strategy
We’ve developed what we think is a comprehensive strategy to address the language challenges in your business. Each step is accomplished using our new Global Readiness Toolkit.
The first step is to document the linguistic and cultural skills that already exist within your organization. This is accomplished with a survey meant to be distributed company-wide.
Then, match the existing skills you’ve identified with your company’s short- and long-term goals. Just how far are your employees from meeting the goals you have for the business? Our Talent Map will tell you.
Finally, employee development plans need to be modified to help your workforce meet the challenges you are about to give them. The sooner they can work toward language and cultural proficiency, the sooner you can be ready to compete in emerging markets. We’ve provided a sample plan that accomplishes this task.
We believe a common-sense language strategy is the key for any business to grow in the 21st century economy. Once completed, those businesses will have a significant advantage over their competition who are still sitting on the sidelines.