From education to employment

Be Productive: How employee growth benefits your transition into the global market

Daniele Saccardi, Campaign Manager at Preply, uses his expertise to explore the benefits of offering language courses to employees.


Following a turbulent 2020, the corporate world has changed dramatically. Organisations now have an increased focus on the professional and personal growth of their employees. One lockdown after another, our time was spent between grocery shopping and home but we persevered and created new and innovative ways to use our time productively. Some started a bakery in their kitchen, others utilised the wonder of online shopping, and the workplace changed forever: From silent offices with rigid desk formations to improvised living-room offices with the occasional shout of a child or bark of a dog. The forced evolution from office to home worked only thanks to the use of online platforms, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.

So, what have we carried with us in the aftermath of the pandemic?

A better understanding of our employees’ needs. We have unearthed the benefits of remote working and discovered new ways to implement employee growth using the various platforms that have sprung into the limelight over the past few years. 2020 also taught us the significance of a hyperconnected global market and it is here that employee growth and language learning are connected.

Language Learning: a new type of employee

A global world, a global society, and global citizens. Before “covid” had entered our vocabulary, language learning for adults was mainly limited to private classes. Nowadays, we can learn a language from the comfort of our own home. This ability to learn from practically anywhere provides employers the opportunity to implement language learning into the work day. In our post-covid world, employers are recognising that happy employees are better for business. Investing in employee skills drives loyalty and has been proven to increase productivity.

Preply research shows that 94% of employees would remain with an employer who invested in their development and two out of three workplace language learners agreed that learning a second language made them more productive and made it easier for them to collaborate with their colleagues. Investing in employees’ language skills not only improves the work environment for employees but also benefits the business. Having team members who can communicate in multiple languages opens business up to the global market (and saves money on translation costs!).

In a study conducted by Rosetta Stone, it was revealed that “80% of employees who participated in language training felt more positively toward their employer, and 66% felt more engaged with their work”. Many well-known CEOs, such as Mark Zuckerberg and James Quincey, speak multiple languages and have used these to benefit their businesses. Preply has seen the advantages of language skills when expanding into global markets through our work with international ad tech and digital media companies. Willy Brandt, the former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany once said: “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. But if I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen [then you have to speak German].”

Time is Money

The well-known adage “time is money” perfectly aligns with the values of the modern world. Being productive doesn’t just mean doing our chores, but it involves using our time to grow, to evolve, to learn. The time and money spent learning a language is returned fourfold when employers see real life benefits, including time saved on translation and a wider accessible market. Ever heard the phrase ‘lost in translation’?

Communicating with clients in their native language creates the opportunity to form a deeper understanding of the client and their business. It can also help to prevent conflict caused by a lack of cultural awareness and misunderstandings. Complete understanding is especially important when it comes to humour – a joke in one language may not translate into another and can lead to some pretty awkward silences when it falls flat. Spending less time navigating communication issues means more time can be spent conducting business and building relationships. Overall, offering employees the option to learn a new language will not only create more opportunities for the business in the global market, but will also enhance the possibility for employees to grow professionally and personally. Language learning benefits everyone involved, from employee and employer to clients and business partners.

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