Studies show that in today’s global world, language and cultural training can have a positive impact on business and human capital factors. However, the need for such training is often hidden. It is up to HR to uncover where language training is needed and then rollout a program to address the skills gap. The first step on the path to making your workforce global-ready is talent mapping.


Former German Chancellor, Willy Brandt, famously stated: “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. But if I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen.” To be successful in the global marketplace, the skills of your talent have to match the needs and expectations of your customers. This is key not just for sales and customer support; when your organization supports clients abroad all facets of the organization are impacted by language and cultural barriers. Everyone from accounting to operations to legal communicates and is therefore affected by language barriers. Your organization needs to be prepared to evolve as your customer base evolves.

So what should you do first? DeShaun Wise, Director of HR and Global HR Business Partner at Rosetta Stone, recommends you begin with an internal analysis. Begin by compiling your company’s short and medium-term goals. Then look at the countries and regions to which your operations and customer base will be expanding over that same time period. Identify the linguistic and cultural competencies your current workforce possesses via a short global readiness survey. Do they match your customers’ cultures and languages? Next, map out the global readiness skills your workforce will need in 1, 3, and 5 years based on your goals and expected growth. Do the linguistic and cultural skills of your workforce map to the composition of your customers and operational locations for that time period? Remember that language and cultural skills are not developed overnight. Both take time.

Complete this mapping exercise, and while you’re at it, get a sense for who has an appetite for this training right now.

Download your Global Readiness Talent Survey Template


Neda is Marketing Coordinator at Rosetta Stone and takes care of Marketing activities within the EMEA region. She grew up in Germany and is now based in London. She speaks German, English, Persian and Spanish and is now adding Portuguese to her language portfolio.

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