Language Skills May Translate into Dollars

Spanish is the second most common language spoken in the United States, according to the U .S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2016.

Hello written in several different languages

That fact makes Spanish the most common language that English-speaking employees should take on. Although not all Hispanics speak Spanish, many do, so it makes good business sense to offer employees language courses so you can reach potential customers.

And depending on where most of your customers live and what they speak, you might consider course in other languages as well. For example, Chinese, including Cantonese, Mandarin and other Chinese languages, places third in the lists of languages spoken at home in the United States, and French and French Creole comes in fourth.

If you have international clients or operations overseas, that should determine which language courses add the most to your bottom line. Language fluency among your employees extends your international reach and customer base and makes it easier to maintain contacts. It also expands your pool of potential recruits for overseas assignments.

Bottom line: Proficiency in a foreign language can help you win customers and expand your business.

Here are five ways your company can benefit from a more global linguistic reach:

  • If you have to offer wage differentials to lure bilingual staff members to your company, or you can't find as many as you need, language training can help. At the very least, make sure your employees know common Spanish phrases.
  • To help regulate costs, narrow down the amount of training your employees need. For example, a manager who frequently travels abroad and discusses business topics at length needs a good degree of fluency. Others may only need enough skills to get around and make a good impression or complete specific tasks, such as filling out contracts.
  • If you already sponsor courses in English as a second language, follow the same policy for other language courses. This includes the amount your company pays for the classes and the time you allow employees to attend, either during or after work hours. You can also arrange to have in-company courses and add languages to any business-related university courses your company subsidizes.

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