Employers are more than ever realising the potential of investing in employees for the benefit of the business overall. Providing training is key to success, not only in the day to day functional skills that employees require, but also in broader life skills – like acquiring another language. Developing employee language skills, for example, not only helps to improve communication but provides an intrinsic value to the employee and the business, according to a new study by Rosetta Stone. The benefits can include increased productivity, more motivated employees and an overall improvement in retention.
Better Communication Is Only The Obvious Impact – Tangible Benefits Go Way Beyond
Recently Forbes cited a study from the Jackson Organisation, which stated that “companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity & assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don’t. When looking at Fortune’s ’100 Best Companies to Work For’ stock prices rose an average of 14% per year from 1998-2005, compared to 6% for the overall market.” The recent study by Rosetta Stone confirms this. In fact, nine in 10 employees believe language training is relevant to their job duties, and 86 per cent report a direct, positive impact on their job performance. Employees also report an increase in job satisfaction and loyalty due to their companies’ investment in their professional and personal development.
All businesses want to improve employee performance. As trading models change, and the world moves ever faster, productivity and collaboration are what makes or breaks companies. Our survey told us employees find learning a new language improves their performance at work and helps them serve customers more effectively, with 80 per cent of employees reporting that gaining proficiency in a second language makes them more productive overall, and increases their confidence in communicating with those necessary to perform their job functions.
Teamwork is now global. The barrier is no longer the distance, it’s the language. With language barriers out of the way, employees can share innovations, insights, and best practices with their coworkers. This kind of collaboration is critical for companies that aspire to operational excellence.
I strongly believe that businesses that invest in people will produce high performing teams. Motivated employees are not only advocates for a company, they are more likely to stay longer and be more productive, which increases overall profitability.
Boosting Morale and Improving Retention
Employee engagement has moved up the CEO agenda over the past decade. Leaders understand the value of demonstrating commitment to their people and investing in holistic talent management programmes. They also understand that providing access to training in only functional skills can be perceived as ‘self-serving’ rather than engaging – and are looking for ways in which to increase transferable skills which provide employees with real value at the same time as helping the business. Having the skills and confidence to speak another language is a life skill that many people aspire to in their personal as well as professional lives, and confers obvious benefits such as better dialogue with partners and customers globally to a business.
The survey findings support the idea that providing language training is seen as engaging, 89 per cent our respondents said they feel more positively toward their current employer and 84 percent said they feel engaged at work. Perhaps most importantly, since recruitment and training costs for new employees are notoriously higher than the costs of retaining existing employees, over 70 per cent of respondents said they are more likely to stay with their employer as a result of being provided an opportunity to build lifelong language skills with Rosetta Stone.
The latest research from the CBI supports our findings. In the latest Education and Skills Survey, 72 per cent of businesses say they value foreign language skills and 52 per cent say they are recruiting new staff with language skills. Our enterprise customers, including the top three European fashion retailers are using Rosetta Stone language solutions2 to drive business growth and increase market share abroad. They know that as a potential bridge to new customers and partners, multilingual employees add value to the workforce.
Providing language teaching is not just a nice-to have benefit, nor even a competitive differentiator anymore. Speaking the language of employees, customers and partners is fundamental to continuing to do business in a global economy.
About the survey
The Rosetta Stone Business Employee Use Insights Survey surveyed a cross-section of the company’s 12,000 global enterprise customers. Based on the results of the survey, the languages studied most frequently in the marketplace are English, Spanish, Japanese, and German.
1 The Rosetta Stone Business Employee Use Insights Survey
2 Based on Europe’s largest companies (by turnover) published in The Financial Times. © The Financial Times Limited 2013. FT Europe 500. All Rights Reserved.