So, you’re thinking about creating a Spanish language training program for your employees?
Well, you’ll need to know the right elements to make one as well as the appropriate timing to use it. Learning a language can seem especially stressful for professional adults who need to immediately use their skills for business. But this is because people underestimate the steps needed to build a quality language training program. Take a look at these steps for how to build an effective Spanish language training program and when to start.
Find the Best Spanish Instructors
Not every Spanish speaker will make a good Spanish teacher. Teaching is an important skill entirely on its own and you must identify instructors that can properly communicate the meaning and significance of what they are teaching so your employees actually understand and aren’t just memorizing words to pass an exam. You also want instructors that can properly gauge your employees’ strengths and weaknesses and adjust accordingly to help each person increase their proficiency.
You might think credentials matter little if they already speak Spanish fluently. But it’s best to hire someone with specific training in teaching Spanish to non-native speakers, similar to hiring English teachers with TEFL certification. This also goes hand-in-hand with finding someone with sufficient experience, at least two years of teaching professional adults. Ask as many questions about their background as you can. This will be the biggest factor in determining whether they’re the right fit for your company.
Help Your Employees Practice, Practice, Practice.
Facilitate ways for your employees to continue Spanish conversations outside of the class times. This is arguably one of the most vital points of learning a language since practicing outside designated times makes it become more natural over time and therefore move your team closer to fluency. Make Spanish-Only lunch sessions. Partner learners with native speakers on work projects. Find events where they can meet Spanish speakers. You can even make a competition out of it and award whoever speaks Spanish most often for the day.
The key is lots of conversational practice to truly connect with how a language is communicated. Ensure class times are filled with sufficient time for your employees to speak Spanish. Beware of the whirlpool of reading textbooks and listening to audio programs. A perfect score on a written exam could bear little significance when it comes to speaking Spanish. These forms often miss important dynamics of a language such as cultural double-meanings and slangs. Listening and speaking with a native speaker is always the most practical way of learning.
Cultural Immersion Activities
People often think you need to backpack across the country or spend a year with a host family to become immersed in a culture. While this is arguably one of the most effective ways (but only if you’re using the language with the family for many hours a day), it’s not the only way. Cultural immersion can also happen by surrounding your employees with Spanish culture right here in the U.S. through music, news and television shows. In a world made smaller through technology, we can access an array of resources to supplement Spanish language learning without ever leaving the office.
Place Spanish magazines in the break rooms. Turn the TV on to a Spanish news network. Utilizing these simple tips can help your employees become much more comfortable in Spanish culture. Take advantage of the multiculturalism of the US by taking the next company retreat to the nearest town with a significant Spanish-speaking population. Communicate with the locals, try new food and learn their history. Taking these steps brings Spanish off the page and into real life. These fun and interactive experiences can provide excitement, which leads to a stronger resolve to learn.
When do you Need a Spanish Language Training Program?
It might be time to deploy Spanish language training if you have a growing concern in one or more of these areas: global expansion; gaining new clients or loss of talent/connecting with current employee population.
Expanding one’s business abroad is an exciting move, but it can be hampered if the employees you send don’t know a sufficient level of Spanish to connect with new clients. This could also result in a language barrier within the company. That means time and energy wasted on trying to interpret what was said instead of getting the actual work done. Top this off with the stress of moving to a new country and assimilating into a foreign country can spell disaster for a move that was supposed to mean better opportunities for the company and the employee. Be sure to invest in Spanish language training before making the move or you’ll suffer bigger costs later.
Gaining New Clients
Aside from establishing business abroad, one could access new markets right here in the US. But Spanish-speaking clientele won’t just show up at your door and assume you speak their language. You have to make it apparent by training your employees in the language so they’re capable of communicating with Spanish-speaking customers directly. Instead of simply hiring more native speakers as employees, give your employees the opportunity to elevate their communication skills which benefit the company even more in the long run.
Loss of Talent
No one wants to miss out on talent. But you could be if you gloss over the resume of a monolingual applicant. You can prefer to hire applicants who can also speak Spanish but keep in mind the English speakers who may not have had the opportunities to learn Spanish prior. This doesn’t mean they can’t get the job done. It could mean they can be of greater value to the company with the support of Spanish language training. This can decrease the loss of talent by accounting for potential which we all know is just as essential, if not more, than experience.
Creating a Spanish language training program can be tedious, but completely worth it. It can open new avenues for both the employees and the company which further strengthens the relationship and gives the company an edge. Taking the right steps to build the program is essential to moving your employees to fluency in the most effective manner. Determining the right time to take these steps results in saved time and energy to be used in getting your company to the success level you’re shooting for.
At Fluency Corp, we offer successful corporate language training programs. We’re committed to getting your employees to reach the language learning goals established. Interested in learning more? Then don’t hesitate to contact us for further consultation, feel free to contact us at [email protected] or (800) 401-3159.
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