Language Training a Key to Global-Ready Workforces

By SHRM Online Staff February 26, 2015

Employers that offer language training to their employees often outperform their competitors that don’t provide such training, according to a new study from Rosetta Stone Inc., a company that markets software for learning more than 30 languages.

The company’s 2015 Business Language Impact Study found that businesses with language-training programs are more successful in developing productive and high-performing workers who have the tools and confidence to succeed in the global marketplace. The findings were based on surveys of nearly 1,900 employees from more than 300 companies located on six continents.

“It’s clear that businesses are looking for a competitive advantage, and language training can offer an edge,” said Judy Verses, president of global enterprise and education at Rosetta Stone in Arlington, Va. “We know businesses worldwide are facing language proficiency challenges, as they continue to move into markets where English is not spoken.”

While a growing number of companies look to expand their business globally, the Rosetta Stone research shows that many employers aren’t adequately meeting the need for more language training. Additionally, language training can help to reduce barriers to global growth opportunities, the survey found.

Approximately three-quarters of respondents reported that language training helped them be more effective in their jobs and that learning a new language has made them more confident when working with international colleagues and clients. Slightly more than half of respondents said they saved a minimum of three hours per week on work-related tasks because of their improved language proficiencies.

The survey broke down responses by generations, and the research revealed that Millennials—born between 1980 and 2000—especially value the importance of language training. Nearly 70 percent of the Millennials surveyed reported that such training improved their career advancement prospects.


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