Corporate Language Learning: Why HR Should Bother to Look at it
It’s very likely that the thought of improving your employees’ language abilities has never crossed your mind. Perhaps the notion of corporate language learning is something entirely foreign to you — but here’s the rub: it shouldn’t be.
Business language training is one of the most under-utilized initiatives in most companies these days, yet the importance of having a team of capable writers and communicators is immeasurable.
Is Corporate Language Training Something Really Worth Considering?
To put it mildly: yes, it most certainly is. And to put it not not-so mildly: the future or your company may very well depend on it.
Now, that may sound like a grand exaggeration and, admittedly, I too thought the same thing when I first heard it. But make no mistake, bad writing is a plague, a plague that can do untold damage to any business if not adequately dealt with.
To illustrate this point we needn’t look any further than Josh Bernoff’s extensive analysis of the subject. Bernoff, a professional writer and business strategist has created quite a grim portrait of the issue by way of his research.
Bad writing costs businesses billions
Bernoff’s survey of 547 business writers found that 81% of respondents agreed with the statement “poorly written material wastes my time” . As Bernoff points out, this is a staggering discovery because the amount of time being exerted on such endeavors means that wages are being spent on employees doing something completely avoidable — billions of dollars in collective annual wages are being needlessly spent on poor writing.
And that’s just the big picture.
On an even smaller scale, say for instance your particular company or business, the effects of poor writing are far more direct and impactful.
As someone who deals almost exclusively in the art of good communication, you know more than anyone else the important role it plays in facilitating productivity and efficiency. However, it’s importance isn’t only exclusive to you as someone in the HR department; it extends much further than that and it needs to be addressed accordingly.
What Can Be Done?
Although it may seem as though this is some massive, insurmountable problem, there are quite a number of ways you, as an HR manager, can help to effectively hobble this problem. As a matter of fact, cake.hr has already written quite an extensive article on the methods and strategies which can help to proliferate better writing amongst your staff.
Additionally, if the prospect of a home-grown business language training initiative appears to be too daunting a task, you could also look externally and enroll your employees in business language courses at Preply. Here, your employees will be given one-on-one corporate language courses by qualified tutors.
Regardless of how you choose to tackle this issue, just keep in mind that there are several meaningful and effective solutions to this problem. What’s most important is that you’re aware of it and proactively seeking to resolve it.
How Will Corporate Language Training Affect Your Company
There are a number of ways in which corporate language training can help improve the success of your company. Let me break down some of the most prominent ones, as these really shed a light on the importance of proper corporate language learning.
1. It Bolsters Effective Business Communication
Communication is one of the pillars of any successful business — without it, you wouldn’t be able to market properly, communicate ideas within the company, or even put together and execute strategies. Sure, many of these jobs are handled by specific departments who specialize in such things, but communication as a whole is something that should be prioritized by everyone.
The impact of good business communication can be seen everywhere, in all aspects of a company’s day-to-day. It’s not merely relegated to departments like yours.
Effective communication amounts to higher sales. Period.
If a company is more adept at communicating its core tenants, it’s sure to attract a wider customer base. Marketing shouldn’t be left strictly to the marketing department. Every employee serves as a marketer of sorts with respect to creating an image of what your company represents.
Effective communication means business success
In that sense, a greater ability to communicate ideas — regardless of a respective employee’s position — is something which could greatly contribute to attracting more customers or clients.
For example, say someone were to send an inquisitive email regarding one of your company’s services. In response to that email an employee, who is quite knowledgeable on the subject, responds with a mangled email, rife with spelling and grammatical issues.
How well do you think that would go over with the prospective buyer or client? Not well at all.
Again, the employee in this scenario is more than equipped to answer the question as far knowledgeability is concerned (as I am sure is the case with employees at your company), but what good is that expertise when they don’t have the capacity to communicate it properly?
Providing employees with adequate business language training will ensure that they are given a primer of sorts on how to correctly assert their knowledge and ideas on a given topic.
Furthermore, it’s important to look at how this will positively affect the internal communications within a company. By ensuring that employees are equipped to handle and produce more precise and cohesive correspondences amongst themselves, you are guaranteeing that your well-oiled machine is, well, even better oiled.
Quite literally, in fact! As this will not only allow a much greater flow of information, but it’ll also mean that less time is spent on producing and comprehending these correspondences.
Employees will be more attuned to how they should go about communicating certain ideas, whether it be through more accurate word choice or better sentence structure. Even meetings and verbal interactions will become more productive, as employees will be better at maximizing the time with which they have to communicate concepts and thoughts.
2. Employees Who Are Good Writers Reflect Better on Their Employer
As I mentioned earlier, employees and the way with which they conduct themselves has the potential to speak volumes about the company that employs them.
They are a window into the inner-workings of a company, and what someone sees in them is very likely what they will associate with the company they work for. I don’t have to tell you that this has the potential to induce all manner of consequence with respect to negatively affecting the company’s bottom line.
This is quite a shame, as the written capabilities of an individual aren’t necessarily linked to their competence or ability to perform the job they were hired for. Nonetheless, in today’s highly connected world, it is imperative that everyone be able to communicate ideas and thoughts effectively, especially in a business setting — without it, employees are just selling themselves short.
A business setting requires it. Because at almost any given time you are, in some form or another, selling yourself, and by proxy, your company to the person with whom you are corresponding.
That person will more than likely be attentive to every aspect of the business that they see before them: if a poorly written letter or email is the brunt of what they’ve got in front of them, it’ll surely go a long way in prompting them to form a negative opinion on who they’re about to potentially do business with.
Good writing is generally viewed by many as a sign of intelligence, competence, education, and above all else: value.
By exhibiting good writing skills, an employee is able to effectively communicate their value as well as the value of their employer. It shows that a greater level of scrutiny was placed upon employees which, in turn, signifies effectiveness on the part of the company as a whole.
It’s important that a company represent its values and value in each and every facet of its enterprise. You know never know who’s paying attention, and you’ll want to be sure to capitalize on any moment that arises to show the best of what you have to offer.
3. A Better Grasp of Language Encourages Greater Efficiency
We’ve already discussed Josh Benoff’s assertion that bad writing is actually just a huge waste of time — and not to mention money! Ultimately, this is because it gets in the way of optimal efficiency; it prevents employees from maximizing productivity within a finite amount of time by bogging them down with:
A) painstakingly trying to write something to the best of their abilities;
B) painstakingly trying to comprehend something written by someone attempting to write something to the best of their abilities
In either circumstance, you can almost guarantee that precious time is being needlessly wasted.
Additionally, a workforce that’s better adept at business language skills means that they are more efficient with respect to rudimentary tasks like note-taking and documentation — both of which contribute greatly the effectiveness of any company’s day-to-day operation.
It seems as though bolstering skills like writing and verbal communication have a compounding effect on other aspects of the office as well. One thing leads to another, and so on and so forth.
The butterfly effect in action.
A more well-rounded and efficient staff has implications in a variety of areas, all of which contribute to productivity as a whole. Business language training bolster’s the effectiveness of your company in every regard and is a necessary part of maintaining a successful enterprise.
4. A Staff That is More Adept at Communication Means Less Pressure on You
As an HR member, you serve the company as a communications liaison of sorts. It is up to you, in large part, to manage and facilitate proper communication among the staff, as well as between management and the staff.
To that end, it’s certainly no surprise that a workforce that is more effective at communicating would essentially serve to make your job a lot less strenuous. Which, barring the chance that you happen to be some type of masochist, is a good thing!
Of course, this isn’t to say that by incorporating business language learning you’ll be able to magically recuse yourself from any sort of workload — nor should you want that. But what it will be able to do is to ensure that your staff is far more adept at communicating certain things as well as comprehending them.
National health costs could decrease if managers reduce work stress
So instead of constantly being bogged down with micromanagement and minutiae, you’ll have a lot more time and energy to expend on more serious affairs.
Also, not to be overtly morbid, studies have shown that workplace stress contributes to at least 125,000 deaths per year. Needless to say it might be better to err on the side of a more stress and pressure-free environment.
Hopefully, after reading all that, you’ll come away from this article realizing the multitude of benefits that come with initiating some sort of corporate language training amongst your staff.
Today’s world of business, more so than any other time in history, truly necessitates that every member of a given enterprise be able to effectively write and verbalize specific concepts and ideas in a concise and comprehensive manner. The stakes are too high and the pitfalls of not doing so are far too great.
For something with a solution so simple, it really is a mystery why more firms and companies have not taken to the idea of bolstering the communicative abilities of their staff.
Nevertheless, it is our hope that by imparting this message to you, our valuable reader, that you will take the time to assess and consider the damage done by poor communication within your company. Only by doing this, are you able to move forward in a meaningful and productive way, hopefully leading to some form of change for the better.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a litany of methods to go about correcting this, but what’s most important is that you recognize the need for such a change.
So, go on! Begin to make the changes that are so desperately needed in many of America’s great corporate institutions. Stay ahead of the curve and do what your competitors have not yet even begun to consider: the all-importance of corporate language learning.
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