Use Language Training to Motivate and Empower Your Workforce
If you’re an HR manager or similar, you’ll be well aware how difficult it can sometimes be to get your workforce motivated to do things they don’t automatically see the point of.
Continuous professional development can often be seen as a simple check box exercise, with no real engagement from the people involved in the process. This can be especially noticeable where the learning appears to be based on things that will help the organisation more than necessarily the individual concerned.
Which is where offering language training can be a real motivator – helping to achieve ‘buy in’ from even the most reluctant of learners.
Employee Happiness Rather Than Employee Motivation
One of the key factors for successfully motivating people in the workplace is to ensure you focus on their general happiness, rather than simply focusing on motivation. The theory here is that people will soon pick up on the fact that an emphasis on motivation is clearly of primary benefit to the company. Which can lead to resentment and lack of ‘buy in’.
On the other hand, when you focus on people’s general happiness in the workplace, you’re more likely to achieve the kind of commitment and results you’re looking for. Employees know there is an implied contract outside of their terms of employment – ie they are there to work, not do their own thing. But the more you can make the workplace a place they enjoy and gain value from, the more dedicated people will become.
Non Job-Related Learning
Language training may be relevant for certain roles in your company, of course – in which case you should obviously be providing this service anyway.
For people who don’t necessarily need to know a different language in order to do their job, though, offering language training as a kind of perk is a great way to increase happiness levels. Which in turn leads to increased motivation and higher productivity.
Employees will recognise that language training doesn’t automatically fall within the type of learning they need for their job. So the fact you’re offering it to everyone who wants it will come across as being the type of thing not every company would do – thus further reinforcing the relationship between employee and employer.
Learning a Language
In survey after survey, learning a language is cited as being the one thing people would like to do but never manage to get round to it properly. There are many reasons for this, of course – lack of time, perceived difficulty, memories of struggling with different tenses at school etc.
Offering a laid-back, learn at your own pace set of lessons in the workplace, then, will provide a great reason for many of your workforce to put themselves ‘back in the saddle’ and decide to learn a new language without having to find the time in their non-work day.
Many people go on holiday to foreign countries every year, of course, which provides the perfect motivator to attract people to attend language lessons provided through work. They’re already in the office anyway, so why not make use of the opportunity to finally learn Spanish / French / German, even maybe Chinese, before their summer holiday?
The Law of Reciprocity
When you start to offer things such as language training to your staff without expecting anything in return, you start to benefit from the law of reciprocity. In essence, this law is based on the fact that when you do something nice for someone, or give them something valuable for nothing, they will then have a subconscious urge to ‘return the favour’ somehow.
So, by providing free language lessons to anyone who wants them, you’re invoking this law in their psyches, such that you may well find your workforce is more dedicated and committed to your firm as a result.
Delivering a happy and contented workforce that also ‘goes the extra mile’ to help out the company is surely one of the fundamental goals of any successful human resources team. Thus helping to show how language learning courses given at work can help significantly with the overall aims of the firm as a whole.
A Method for Introducing Language Classes
We’ve found something can work especially well is to introduce language training classes during the working day, at the point when there is an obvious need for some people to learn a new language for business purposes.
For instance, if you have people who are going to be dealing with a supplier in a foreign country, or perhaps they are even relocating, it certainly makes sense for them to be taught the relevant language.
Opening up the training to everyone else at the firm is simply a natural add-on service that your employees will appreciate and understand. Several people who’ve benefitted from this approach have told their HR managers that they were really grateful for the firm allowing access to the lessons to anyone who wanted it – again reinforcing dedication and invoking the law of reciprocity.
Continuous Professional Development
And let’s not forget that language training can count towards an ongoing programme of CPD. Many HR departments will have a requirement to get their staff progressing through various CPD courses and learnings.
Offering a method of learning that they can use in their home life, which also enables them to attain additional credits towards their ongoing CPD certifications, is something that once again helps enhance the relationship between employee and employer.
Empowering People to Introduce New Ideas
More than once when we’ve been providing corporate language learning lessons in the manner outlined above, we’ve heard back from delighted managers that the process has helped empower their employees to come up with their own ideas for the business.
For example, a member of staff at a large packaging materials supplier was so enthused by the language learning they’d experienced, they developed a proposal – in their own time – for using their newfound knowledge to introduce a new line of multi-language products. An idea which is now being considered by the firm’s management team – which has certainly led to a deepening commitment and sense of belonging on the part of the employee.
Why not get in touch to see if we can help provide motivating and empowering language lessons for your firm?
A specialist B2B advisor. Ross fully understands the difficulties involved in learning a new language for business.
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