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Managers look for bilingual employees to improve business prospects, poll of 493 employers shows

HR Editorial , 19 Sep 2011

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There is a growing appetite amongst employers for language-learning programs to aid effective internal and external communication, according to research commissioned by language training provider Rosetta Stone.

Senior and upper management-level business professionals from industries including manufacturing, high-tech and construction felt this was a crucial issue: 80% agreed that it was either very or extremely important. Communication among employees was viewed with even greater importance than communication between employees and customers.

Improved productivity and collaboration is the desired goal - with 63% of all respondents agreeing these are the results they would most like to achieve by adopting a language-learning solution followed by increase in customer satisfaction and retention (44%) and increase in number of employees that are language proficient (40%).

Reasons for language learning included expansion to new geographies (48%), relocating staff overseas (32%) and hiring employees with specific language backgrounds (30%).

The majority of those surveyed (83%) believed beginner to intermediate level of language proficiency were enough to achieve employee success.

TDK Electronics Europe, has a strong presence in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, frequently requiring employees to work and communicate internationally. Louise Paterson, TDK senior manager for HR in Europe, said: “We needed the ability to offer a broad range of languages and course content that enabled learners to start speaking their new language immediately”.

Sylke Riester, MD for Europe, Rosetta Stone, added: “It is clear that language barriers are presenting a major challenge in today’s globalised world. However, it is very encouraging to see that business leaders believe these are barriers that can be quickly overcome through employment of a language-learning program to raise employees’ level of proficiency.”

MarketBridge, a provider of technology-enabled sales and marketing solutions, surveyed 493 senior and upper management-level business professionals in a variety of functional roles at leading international corporations to learn more about their company’s language-learning needs.

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