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Language Matters - How to Better Engage Your Global Workforce

Language Matters - How to Better Engage Your Global Workforce

How to engage employees in a global organizationHow can learning leaders and other stakeholders better engage their global workforce?

Gaining emotional and professional buy-in from employees requires a structured approach focused on communication. The language used to share corporate updates, train new skills, and clarify company values can fundamentally change how the target audience receives the message.

In global companies, language matters tremendously: it’s not just word choice that matters, but the dialect of delivery can either create a sense of inclusivity or ostracize entire subgroups.

Our partner Comtec Translations, a translation and localisation partner with over 30 years of experience suggest global companies focus on these important global workforce engagement insights.

  • How the impact of language can result in higher workforce engagement in global corporations.
  • Which content to include in your translation strategy, and why content selection matters.
  • Why a translation partner and a localisation strategy can improve outcomes.

Emily Decker, Head of Partnerships at Comtec and Susan Lankfer, Head of Client Relationships helped us create a toolkit around these three critical lessons.

What does it mean to have one corporate language?

We know first-hand that technology has supported the growth of companies beyond a single country’s borders. But as organizations expand, oftentimes they will create and enforce a “one corporate language” strategy. What does this strategy include?

Emily and Susan explain that companies commonly embrace an English only or English first strategy, meaning that the formal language for the company’s operations is English. Alternatively, some companies select their corporate language based on where their headquarters are located.

Complicating the strategy is the extent to which the single corporate language applies. For purposes of explanation, we will use English as the selected dialect.

A one corporate language strategy may mean that:

  • All employees speak English and conduct business in English.
  • The company adopted English as their main language but recognizes other languages when serving local markets key to their business.
  • English-only applies to the executive team and senior management, while staff are provided communications in their native languages.

Understanding the nuances involved in a one corporate language strategy illuminates the potential pitfalls of such a narrow approach in the dynamic modern workforce.

What value does translated content provide?

Because our team focuses on designing, delivering, and producing training programs, we recognize the value of creating and facilitating content where and when the learners need it. We also know firsthand the difficulty of gaining approval for any add-on that makes an initiative more expensive.

Getting stakeholders on board with translation and localization efforts, whether it’s for learning content or internal corporate materials, requires… you guessed it… speaking to them in their language.

Emily and Susan suggest sharing these key points within your organization when going to bat for investing in content translation:

  • Engagement of employees/learners increases.
  • Collaboration in the classroom and the workplace increases.
  • Miscommunication is eliminated.
  • Training programs result in better learning outcomes.

Like all L&D projects, the best return on investment comes from initiatives that relate directly to business goals and that contribute to the bottom line. Translation can offer the boost that international firms need for success.

Why outsource translation?

We’ve heard many versions of this question as it related to corporate training during our 20 year history – why hire experts in virtual classroom instructional design? Why should we send our experienced classroom facilitators to specialized training? Why do we need seasoned producers for our sessions?

In all of these cases, outsourcing involves tapping into the expertise of those more capable of handling the strategy and implementation of complex processes.

According to Emily and Susan, translation is no different. Engaging with a trusted translation provider ensures:

  • Quality
  • Speed
  • Correct file formats

When creating a global training program for instance, all three of these advantages contribute to a cost savings when compared with trying to tackle the project in-house. The upfront cost of hiring seasoned veterans like the Comtec team is cheaper in the long run than the cost of frustration, missed learner engagement, and poor training outcomes.

Addressing the needs of a global workforce requires a comprehensive and thoughtful approach. Advice from Comtec’s experts helped us improve our approach and our outcomes, and they can help you, as well!

Effective global virtual training takes specialized design techniques, facilitation mastery, and strong production support. Somebody needs to be the expert in your organization – why not you?




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