Beyond Words - Language Blog

How to Unify Global Offices with Corporate Language Training

As businesses take advantage of technology that enables them to work with team members across the globe, good communication is not only key but essential. With the influx of worldwide team members, language barriers can create a problem. Business news from the Houston Chronicle points out “one of the biggest effects of communication barriers in businesses is that it causes employees to fail to deliver on requested directives.” In fact, in a survey done by Forbes, 92% of business executives polled indicated that each of their companies realizes the benefit of language training. Here is how business increase revenue and build better global organizations with corporate language training.

Corporate Language Training Increases Employee Collaboration, Communication and Confidence

Searchmetrics CEO Marcus Tober believes in language unification so much that he speaks all five languages where his company offices are headquartered. Tober isn’t the only one that understands the benefits of language training. Both Nissan and IBM offer corporate training in the forms of online language training, one-on-one training, immersive training, and private coaching. Forbes also points out that when leaders in the company can speak a different language and communicate with remote employees it removes the “strangers barrier” and the initial apprehension that remote employees may feel when joining the company. It helps close the communication gap and bridge a feeling like they belong and that “you’re one of them”. With global employees feeling at ease, Forbes points out that their decision-making (and yours) will improve and you’ll be quicker to come to meaningful conclusions as a team.

What about remote companies?

Remote companies face the even bigger challenge of good communication with the lack of on-site staff. Without the use of body language and face to face contact, working remotely with a language barrier may seem impossible. However, with the expansion of worldwide corporations and remote work opportunities, solutions on how to break down the barrier are available as well.

The Need for a Solution for Effective Communication

Thanks to technology making our world smaller, global companies are increasingly becoming the norm. It is no longer unusual for a large corporation to have several offices in four different countries. Nor is it unusual for a business to have remote staff located in England or Istanbul. However, no business can thrive with poor communication techniques. Because of the influx of global outreach in businesses, being able to communicate is becoming more imperative. The UK loses at least £50 billion a year in contracts because of lack of language training. Being able to operate at a global span is one thing, but businesses need to consider the benefit of language training not just for the benefits of clients but for their international employees. Director of Marketing for Livemocha Julia Bonnheim said: “These businesses set up global partnerships and build factories or offices in other countries only to realize later that their leaders can’t communicate with the new team.” Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer at Forbes Media echoed Bonneheim’s statement with one of his own. “Whether you’re operating nationally or internationally, communication is key to success. And it’s critical that business leaders take action to overcome language barriers.”

Why Use Corporate Language Training?

Without language training, your company runs the risk of losing the added value that your international employees can bring. Harvard Business Review noted that without effective communication and language training for remote employees you risk, “significant misunderstanding”, “disagreements” and “rifts between global offices”. In an article about the importance of language training, Forbes says “business gaps in communication have a real impact on the bottom line.” At the end of the day, it will affect international employee performance, expansion, profitability, financial implications or even strategic implications. It also benefits employees as they transition and helps to create a more global corporate culture.”

Unifying the Language – A Case Study on Language Training for Businesses

The impact of language training for businesses has been so influential that Communicaid has put together a study highlighting how the world’s governments are encouraging the practice. The study was broken down into three scenarios: one that has full government support, one that has both government and corporate support, and one that relies solely on corporate support. In these instances, support means financial backing. Here is the breakdown:

  • France recieves fullull government support: The French government has put into place a system called Compete Personnel de Formation or “Personal Training Account”. Basically it “allows every employee to earn 150 hours over a nine-year period to spend on any form of recognized training” and is free to access.
  • Germany provides both government and company support:. Germany has a government initiative in place called the Bildaugsurlaub or “Educational Leave”. For this system, employees are allowed to take five days off every year to pursue language studies. While not as active as the French government, the Bildaugsurlaub certifies that companies allow their employees a chance to study.
  • Netherlands relies solely on corporate support for language training: The Netherlands have in place an act called Wet Werk en Zekerheid, which translates into “Work and Security Act”. Its purpose is to ensure that each company provides a reasonable amount of language training with little to no financial support from their government.

France, Germany and Netherlands are also countries that have seen a steady GDP growth in the past decad. The reason for their economic success might not be solely based on corporate training, but it certainly adds to employee satisfaction and retention when individuals are encouraged to develop their skill set in their careers.

ALTA Offers the Best in Online Language Training

While learning foreign languages may seem daunting or impossible, ALTA is here to simplify the process with the best in language training. The top in the field for providing language instruction online, ALTA offers the largest variety of languages to choose from including Mandarin, Spanish, German and Arabic. Backed by an unconditional guarantee, ALTA will provide live language training, pre-recorded training and customizable training, just to name a few. Providing services for major players such as Verizon, HP, CNN, and Delta Airlines, ALTA can help you succeed in breaking down your business barriers. Online language training allows you the freedom to become quickly fluent no matter the location of your corporation. Contact ALTA today to learn how our acclaimed online language training services can benefit your global organization.


Casey Shull has been a business writer for almost five years. She specializes in business culture and content and can be found on LinkedIn. She enjoys the outdoors and regrets never becoming fluent in Pig Latin.

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