Resources for HR Professionals

Tools for Improving Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is always a big challenge, and organizations are perennially looking for ways to improve it. For global companies with multinational workforces, one strategy for boosting engagement often gets overlooked: language training. As a language training company with a long track record, we’ve seen firsthand how gaining fluency doesn’t just help employees do their jobs better — it also deepens their connections to their work, to their colleagues and to their employer. Want to know more about how your organization can increase engagement with language training? Then read on…

For more ways to help your employees
learn a new language, check out our blog.

What Is Employee Engagement?

To start with, let’s get clear on what employee engagement means. According to Gallup, which conducts regular surveys on engagement, the term refers to how enthusiastic employees are about their work and their workplace.

What does an engaged employee look like? They spread positivity, focus on solutions, go above and beyond, work well with their team, demonstrate reliability, and focus on constant growth and development

There are two kinds of disengaged employees. Passively disengaged workers are engaged in what we’ve recently come to call “quiet quitting.” They’re going through the motions at work, doing the bare minimum to get by. They aren’t messing up enough to get fired, but they aren’t going the extra mile, either.

If you think that kind of employee sounds damaging to your organization, you’re right. But there’s another type of employee out there that’s even more dangerous: actively disengaged workers.

Actively disengaged employees engage in behavior that’s overtly harmful to your organization, like gossiping about co-workers or badmouthing their workplace publicly.

So how prevalent is each type of employee in U.S. workplaces? According to Gallup:

  • — Only about one-third of employees are engaged.
  • — 17% are actively disengaged.
  • — That leaves 50% who are passively disengaged.

That’s … not great. But it’s also nothing new. Since Gallup started tracking employee engagement in 2000, the highest it’s ever been was 40% in late June 2020.

So what’s the big deal about engagement? If things are getting done, does it matter how enthusiastic people are on the job? Well, actually, yes it does. According to the University of Southern California, the positive effects of engagement include:

  • — Reduced turnover and absenteeism.
  • — Safer workplaces.
  • — Higher-quality work.
  • — Greater earnings.


Why Language Training Helps Engagement

Of course, there are countless strategies you can implement in an attempt to increase employee engagement. But if your organization has outposts around the globe, or a multinational workforce, we can tell you that language training is one of the most effective investments you can make to improve engagement. Here are just a few reasons:

Learning engages employees. Surveys have shown us again and again that one of the best ways to support engagement is by increasing learning and development opportunities for employees. Learning and growth mean a lot to your workforce.

Whether they are in the warehouse or the C-suites, they want to feel that they’re getting better at their jobs. Language training can help keep them from getting bored and stagnating.

More than 9 out of 10 employees said they would be more likely to stay with a company that invests in their learning. For global companies, language training is one of the most powerful learning opportunities you can provide. In another survey, 58% of employees said they were more likely to stay with their company because it offers language training.

Language training encourages ambition. When employees don’t see a future for themselves at your organization, they start to disengage. But language training can set them up for a promotion or for an international assignment.

Language training builds relationships. A big part of engagement is how connected an employee feels to their co-workers. Language training can deepen those connections. When they’re fluent in their workplace’s dominant language, employees feel more comfortable speaking up with ideas or feedback. It’s also easier for them to collaborate with their colleagues. Additionally, gaining fluency can help employees join in more conversations and build friendships at work. When your employees have friends at work, they will be happier and more engaged. In fact, friendship is one of the biggest factors in how happy employees feel at work. (Think about how your own morale would take a hit if you couldn’t engage in small talk with your colleagues in the break room or while waiting to start a Zoom meeting!)

Language training makes employees feel valued. Employees have become less likely to believe that their company cares about them as a person, according to Gallup — and that hurts engagement. Gallup’s findings could partly be because of the disconnection that remote work creates. But language training shows that the company values an employee enough to invest in them, no matter where they are based.

Language training removes personal hurdles. For an employee on an international assignment, engagement doesn’t just depend on how things are going at the office. If a lack of language fluency is keeping them from making friends or performing the tasks of everyday life (going shopping, mailing a package, etc.), it’s harder for them to fully engage at work. Our founder, Micah Bellieu, was an expat herself, so we understand the challenges of expat life.

10 Secrets to Managing your Multilingual / Global Workforce

What Kind of Language Training Enhances Engagement?

While we advocate language training as a great way to increase employee engagement, not just any language training program will capture your employee’s attention and increase their enthusiasm about work. If classes focus on boring vocabulary lists that aren’t relevant to employees’ jobs, that’s definitely not very engaging!

Instead, language training should be customized to their needs and goals. For example, how often do they interact with colleagues who speak the language they’re learning? What vocabulary that’s specific to your line of business do they need to learn in their target language?

To spark engagement, language training also needs a human touch. You learned your first language because you wanted to communicate with the people around you.

Learning another language is no different. The best language training programs include lots of conversational practice. This is one reason that apps alone aren’t enough to engage your employees through language learning.

How Fluency Corp Language Classes Work

Fluency Corp has a long track record of helping companies build employee engagement at all levels through language training. Because we have a deep understanding of business needs, we have established courses that you can customize for your organization.

We know you and your employees value flexibility. That’s why we offer language classes for individuals and small groups in person around the world.

Classes are also available online. No matter the format, though, all of our classes are taught by live instructors who are native speakers of the language they are teaching. And your employees will get plenty of conversational practice.

Our language classes can help your employees achieve long-term goals, like advancing a level in language fluency, or short-term goals, like gaining confidence with clients who speak a different language. Whatever your employees’ goals are, their Fluency coach will focus on language skills they’ll use every day. We ask your employees about their job, their role, their meetings, their presentations. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about our training.

You can learn more about Fluency Corp by reading our client testimonials and case studies, or exploring what makes our proprietary Bellieu Method unique and effective. We’d also love to talk with you about how language training can support employee retention and your other business goals. To open the conversation, get in touch with us now.

Get More Info About Our Language Training Resources

We’d love to talk with you more about how we can support your work with global relocations and international collaboration. To get additional information about how Fluency Corp works with HR professionals seeking language training resources, call us for a free consultation at (800) 401-3159 or fill out the form below.

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