Sure there are plenty of feel good factors when learning another language and plenty of studies will show how it can do everything from improving performance through to fending off dementia; but when it comes to business learning a language is just like every other expense – it has to deliver measurable results.
No-one knows this better than the founder of the VICI businesses, Nathalie Danon-Kerr, who explained:
“I am a businesswoman before I am a linguist. I run VICI Language Dynamic and the VICI Language Academy and this has given me the experience and insight in running a business and in order to deliver a service you have to watch the bottom line and know that any investment is offering a return.”
So here are four examples where we have helped businesses with a focus on the bottom line; either increasing productivity, saving money or avoiding costs.
When it comes to buying materials or services for your business it is important to get the best price from your suppliers; but what happens when the best price is offered in a language you do not speak or comprehend?
We worked with a purchasing team who could not engage with French suppliers and recognised they offered the most competitve prices. After delivering French language training they were able to use these suppliers and we soon save thousands of pounds each month.
- Health and Safety
Businesses have a statutory obligation to protect the safety of employees and understanding the language is obviously key for foreign staff. Indeed the Health & Safety Executive requires employers of migrant workers to address the following issues or run the risk of prosecution.
- Provide essential induction training and any necessary job-related/vocational training;
- Provide relevant information about the risks to which they may be exposed and the precautions they will need to take to avoid those risks;
- Consider the needs of workers who may not speak English well, if at all, and whether you need translation services;
- Make sure workers have received and understood the information, instruction and training they need to work safely and consider how to ensure it is acted upon;
- Make sure workers are adequately supervised and can communicate with their supervisors;
- Make sure workers know where and how to raise any concerns about their health and safety and about any emergency arrangements or procedures.
Language is fundamental to these issues and it is interesting they only consider translation, which while a solution, it is a sticking plaster contrasted with the lasting impact of providing language training for the migrant workers, the supervisor or indeed both.
- Communication with teams abroad
An Italian sales director came to us after repeated visits to the office kitchen here in the UK would reveal staff gossiping about their Italian counterparts – and he imagined something similar happened in Italy and wondered if it might be down to the language barrier.
Sure enough after theItalian staff were taught English and the English staff were taught Italian the communication improved and the gossip stopped – or at least involved everyone.
An interesting by-product of the language training was staff retention with an unhealthy turnover of staff halted with the introduction of the language training.
- Continental commuters
You would probably be surprised to know just how many people in the Thames Valley commute not to the capital of the UK, but to capital cities across Europe and speaking the language can transform how effective that commute can be.
We recently worked with an executive who commuted weekly to Belgium where everyone correctly assumed he only spoke English and would address him as such. However he regretted he could not even enquire about his team’s weekend, or about their children in French.
Six months of learning French with VICI and he says his professional relationship has been transformed with much better communication and his team respond much better now at least some of the conversation is in their language.
You may know the difference languages could make to your business, but often companies are simply unsure. VICI Language Dynamics can help and such a consultation is free and there is no obligation to work with us further. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today and discover if learning a language could improve your bottom line.