11 Feb Why Global Mobility Specialists Need to Invest in Language Learning
Global mobility specialists will have to take the lead in encouraging their leaders to invest in language-learning courses for their talents. Assignees hired from other countries would need to augment their English-language skills, while employees who have skills and interests in linguistics can be trained to learn another global tongue.
A workplace that supports diversity and encourages intercultural exchange can become stronger in an age where digital communication is speeding up globalization. Learning and mastering another language can strengthen communications between employees and open up avenues of trust. Relationships in the workplace would not be strained by misunderstandings, which do happen when one party does not understand the cultural context or the idiomatic expressions of another. An assignee would be able to blend faster with his team mates if he catches – and keeps up – with their nuances in dialogue, inside jokes, and references to American pop culture. Meanwhile, American talents who can speak a foreign language fluently would be able to better represent the company and create partnerships with locals once he visits its country of origin.
HR Dive lists three more reasons how employee bilingual training can be an asset in a corporation:
First, expenses involving any kind of translation can significantly be reduced. Global mobility specialists would not need to hire live translators during important meetings with foreign partners. Converting foreign words to English while transcribing documents don’t have to be outsourced, either.
Second, employees with foreign language skills can be tapped to help the organization expand into foreign markets. Company management does not have to think twice about doing business in another country once they have the confidence that they have in-house talent who can speak the foreign language and build trust with the locals. Overseas partners do tend to warm up to expatriates who have made the effort to know and communicate using their native tongue.
Third, learning a second language does wonders for the brain. Science has shown that it enhances cognitive and analytical skills. Employees can use these improved abilities in other areas of work.
Assignees who develop their English-language skills can find that they can navigate the business landscape with more flexibility. Newsvine reports that English is still the lingua franca of global business with 375 million people speaking it in varying levels of fluency.
Employees with a gift for languages might prioritize learning Spanish and Chinese Mandarin. There are actually more native speakers of these two languages than English. The Spanish-speaking population is one huge market that companies would want to enter. China is the biggest economy in Asia, a preferred destination for investors and enterprises alike.
Investing in linguistic training can also attract many millennial talents who cite overseas assignments as one major motivation for signing up with a company.
The kind of training that is being done these days is another incentive for the emerging younger workforce. Gone are the stiff classroom-like sessions which trainors have replaced with more fun immersive interactions. With a few companies looking into using virtual reality as a mode for training, language learners can converse with foreign nationals in an online representation of their country. Once they put on that helmet, assignees can simulate a trip to various destinations in Northern California, trying their English vocabulary on the “locals.” A U.S. employee can use it to practice his newfound Spanish-speaking skills and his salesmanship to an online colleague who owns a business in Madrid.
Learning and mastering a second language can open up new horizons for talents. Global mobility specialists can bring them in, expand their knowledge, and prepare them for more complex lessons in a global business landscape.