Speaking the Language of Employee Engagement

Continued employee development should be a priority for managers and HR Language skills positively impact employee engagementprofessionals. Hiring is about more than just finding talent – it’s an investment in your employees, who are your greatest business asset. Encouraging development can improve results, making management and executives happy, and also reduce turnover, alleviating headaches for HR.

Beyond conveying necessary job information, offering staff resources to pursue personal development has also been found to have positive effects on engagement and retention. One such outside-the-box offering that has been embraced by more companies in recent years is corporate language training. While especially useful for companies that have expanded internationally, data indicates that even U.S.-based businesses have good reason to consider expanding their current training paradigms.

Chasing engagement

Engagement is an increasingly important objective that management and HR alike continue to chase. In fact, in recent years, it has topped the list of the most important objectives HR professionals are striving for. A survey conducted by Human Resource Executive Online found that 36 percent of respondents listed employee engagement as the biggest challenge faced by HR, and it’s not getting easier. The majority of HR professionals – 37 percent, the largest of any group – reported being concerned about losing talent over the next 12 months. This paints a stark contrast to the 2 percent who were not at all worried about losing talent.

In short, engagement is the brass ring employers should be reaching for, but this is becoming more of a challenge. Learn more about fostering engagement in this new white paper.

Employees as an investment

At its heart, engaging employees requires an understanding of the concerns your staff is facing, and demonstrating a level of understanding of these issues. If you know what your employees want, they will be much happier than if they feel like expendable assets.

A 2011 report from the Society for Human Resource Management found that the chief driver of employee engagement was the ability to develop and use skills on the job. More respondents indicated this key competency as “very important” than any other. In other words, more than money or other forms of financial compensation, workers want to develop their skills above all else.

Development for a new workplace

Many companies offer essential job training programs, but some have begun branching outside of this and offering their workers additional personal development opportunities as well. One major way this has manifested is through the introduction of language training for businesses.

It may seem like an esoteric offering, but the results speak for themselves. In the results of the 2014 Rosetta Stone Business Employee Use Insights Survey, language training was shown to increase engagement in an astounding 84 percent of employees. Even more encouraging, 88 percent indicated that they felt language training demonstrated their employer’s interest in their own development, and 89 percent reported an increase in positive feelings toward their company as a result. Read the full results of the study here.

This is exactly the boost to engagement HR departments are striving for, but the benefits don’t stop with retention. Survey results indicated that management will find a lot to love when it comes time to evaluate the impact of language training on overall performance. Rosetta Stone’s data indicated that 79 percent of employees reported greater productivity and higher confidence on the job. Some 66 percent of employees indicated an ability to effectively service a wider range of customers, while an encouraging 86 percent reported higher overall job performance.

This is a pendulum that swings both ways. Corporate language training is effective for helping elevate non-English-speaking workers by improving communication skills. On the flip-side of the equation, as U.S.-based companies expand into international markets, the ability to communicate with new business partners in their language will be a key factor in determining which businesses get ahead in the ever- globalizing workplace.

For more on this: To read the complete analysis of the relationship between employee engagement and language by Chief Learning Officer magazine’s Sara Davila, please click here.

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