At Fluency Corp, we see firsthand how corporate language training can make a difference for our client companies. There’s no better way to show you that than to tell you the story of one of these companies. To protect their privacy, we aren’t sharing the name of the company here. But the details about their experiences and the learning solutions that Fluency Corp created are all real.

The Problem: Language Differences and Poor Communication

When this company first contacted us about corporate English language training, we found out just how badly communication problems were damaging their bottom line.

The company has various departments located across three countries. From a call with all of those departments, we discovered that employees at seven to nine of those locations were struggling to communicate effectively in English.

We found out that these groups of employees at the company needed help with English for business:

· Engineers working in the U.S.
· Engineers in Asia who work in English.
· Accountants, salespeople and 60 employees at a call center in a small Asian country.

The company was experiencing problems like these due to the employees’ difficulty communicating in English.

· Low productivity.
· Frustration leading to friction between coworkers.
· Distrust due to miscommunication.
· Customer complaints and low ratings because call center employees did not understand English speakers over the phone and were using incorrect vocabulary, which confused callers.
· Projects taking longer than usual, due to unclear needs and cultural confusion leading to assumed expectations that were not met.

Phew! Basically, this company needed language training more than any other business we had ever encountered.

The Solution: Customized English Language Training

The company wanted to fix its problems with English communication within a few months and spend less than $20,000 doing so.

But the reality is that changing the way someone speaks, and has spoken for decades, is a long process. It’s not impossible, but it’s anything but quick.

We first looked at how best to provide English language training for the 60+ call center employees. The cost for doing one-hour accent training classes for 50 hours per employee (the minimum needed for long-term change, but 100 hours is strongly urged) would be over $100,000 alone. Group classes, historically and scientifically, do not have the same effect. Even for small group classes of five students, the cost still would have been steep. (Although the money lost due to these challenges would have surpassed the cost of classes threefold, we believe.)

We wanted to provide a better solution, one that would generate change and spread motivation from the top down. We asked how many supervisors there were, and if we could start English language training efforts with them. Were there people whom they wanted to truly invest in for the long haul and who would help motivate the rest of the call center? Yes, the company said. There were nine such supervisors.

Now we were getting somewhere! We talked about how seeing the dramatic changes that English language training made for these nine supervisors would help create buy-in from top management to expand the program to others in the call center. The ROI would be evident as clients and coworkers were able to better understand and work more efficiently with the call center employees. And the stage would be set for long-term, cultural changes at the company.

For employees working in the U.S., we would put together curated courses based on their job needs and interests. They would work two hours per week with a Fluency Partner (one of our instructors). Additionally, we would find ways to get them speaking English five to 10 extra hours outside of class each week (for example, at lunch, in the evenings and on the weekends). This doubles or triples the value of the language training. The more someone speaks, the better they speak, the more words they know and the more confident they become in their second language.

Does this article remind you of your own company? If so, let Fluency Corp help you devise a language strategy customized for your needs. Contact us for a free consultation: getfluent@fluencycorp.com or (800) 401-3159.