Imagine this scenario:

Your company is an overnight hotel cleaning business. Your cleaning crew goes into the Omni at 10 p.m. and starts working.

The supervisor for your crew is named Ener, and he’s worked for you over 10 years now.
He’s loyal, hardworking and reliable. You would love to promote him to general manager of the region.

But you can’t.


His English isn’t very good.

His customer service skills are great with Spanish-speaking clients, but that’s only 15 percent of your business.

At Fluency Corp, we hear situations like this every week: great, reliable employees who know a business in and out, but who don’t get promoted because of language issues.

So why not invest in your emplyees?

That’s exactly what Sarah Boltz, CEO of Corporate Building Services, and Sunny Sheu of BT Home Furnishings did. Ener is Sarah’s employee.

They chose their top employees with the most potential, and then they signed them up for three months to 1 year private English tutoring held at a convenient location for the employees — for example, a coffee shop near their home, at the office or even a trailer at one of the job sites.

The employees dedicated two hours a week to English conversation training focused primarily on how they would interact with clients and their most common daily conversations. They didn’t need a PhD in English; they needed to be able to communicate effectively! They needed to learn the essentials, and that’s what they concentrated on.

After a couple of months, the CEO wrote to me: “It’s so wonderful to see the pride on Ener’s face when he walks through the office to go to his English class. He’s so excited to be able to learn to speak English!”

10 Secrets to Managing your Multilingual Global Workforce

Private English Tutoring can Remove Barriers for your Employees

So many employees just like Ener would love to be able to speak in English, but it’s very hard to reach this goal. They live in neighborhoods where everyone speaks Spanish; they go to church where everyone speaks Spanish; and their doctors, pharmacists, grocery baggers and restaurant servers all speak Spanish. It’s a lot harder to learn English in the U.S. than people think!

It all reminds me of the time I spent studying abroad in Spain: I went to a school with all Americans learning Spanish. I hung out with them after class; I went to dinner with them on the weekends; and I drank coffee with them in the mornings. Surprise! I didn’t make much progress in Spanish that semester. It didn’t matter that I was in Spain! This is why I tell people every day that being in the country isn’t the key to fluency, it’s time with the language that does it, no matter where you live.

It’s human nature to want to be with people like yourself. And it’s terrifying to walk up to someone and try to communicate in a language that you feel uncertain speaking. It can take only one person blowing you off to make you never want to speak that language again.

When I lived in Mexico, countless people were kind to me, but whom do I remember? The one woman who always got frustrated with me because it took me awhile to make a sentence; my grammar was horrible and I always got nervous!

That is what sticks with us, unfortunately. The naysayers. So it’s especially wonderful that Ener and other employees like him have boosters and encouragers at their companies. I’m excited for them, and I hope they’ll soon be promoted to the jobs that everyone knows they are more than capable of doing extremely well.

Think about your own employees. Whose potential could you unleash with English tutoring? Contact us for a free consultation call to learn why offering language training benefits your company and transforms your employees’ lives.