Employees within the IT industry are generally very skilled, talented and in-demand, but they also tend to be diverse in their backgrounds and from varying countries and continents around the globe. Get smart and learn the importance of foreign language training.
Recently an article in India’s “Economic Times” called to attention the importance of foreign language training for employees in the IT industry.
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The article focused primarily on Indian IT professionals and the increasing importance employers are placing on providing language training—particularly Mandarin, Japanese, English, and Spanish. The reason is fairly obvious—the Indian IT industry is growing by leaps and bounds and the ability for these professionals to be able to provide impeccable service to global customers is necessary.
Language barriers in the IT industry create generalized barriers to how companies do business, preventing them from being efficient and seamless in what they do.
The article focused on some of the following aspects of language training for a global workforce:
- Language training isn’t strictly about learning a foreign language—it should also be a way for employees from diverse ethnic and geographic backgrounds to connect with one another. For example, language training should ideally also include aspects of culture, tradition, and norms seen in the workplace.
- Understanding at least basic components of foreign language tend to become more important as an employee moves upward and takes on increased responsibility in a company, particularly if traveling is involved.
- It’s not just IT companies where the foreign language training trend is taking hold—it’s also important in other industries including customer service, healthcare, and the pharmaceutical industry.
A separate article from the “Houston Chronicle” also brought the idea of foreign language training to the forefront—this time in the oil and gas industry. Many of the employees in this industry are sent to various countries for projects and assignments.
Whether or not these projects succeed or fail often comes down to the simply understanding the local language.
With the globalized workforce being unavoidable, more and more employers are looking to foreign language training as a regular part of their corporate learning programs.
Consider these tips when developing and implementing language training:
- eLearning is almost always the best way to deliver foreign language training because it allows employees to learn at their own pace, on their own time, and wherever they’re located in the world. There aren’t barriers that we see with traditional classroom training when a learning management system is utilized to deliver this type of training.
- Foreign language training shouldn’t be something just delivered in an emergency situation when an employee is being sent to a new location. Instead, it should be something that’s incorporated as part of all training and development from the start of an employees’ time with a company that has any type of global reach. It’s also something that should be continuously developed, as with other skills training.
- Training should be customized and specific to the job functions an employee will actually be doing. There will be some generalized training that’s needed of course, but each employees’ foreign language training should also be focused on their role within the company.
- Include cultural training as part of foreign language training, since cultural norms and expectations play such a significant role in business transactions and associations.
- Foreign language training may not just be about learning another language, but also how to best speak English in order to work with a global audience. For example, while most people in Germany may have some basic understanding of English, they may not understand all of what a native English speaker says. Training should also include learning how to tailor English to one’s audience.
As traditional geographic boundaries are being broken down in today’s marketplace, foreign language training is now an essential aspect of doing business for many companies. Luckily the use of eLearning allows for a personalized approach to this training to ensure it’s efficient and effective.