Image: Jakub T. Jankiewicz Image: Jakub T. Jankiewicz

All businesses depend on skilled, accomplished and motivated employees to succeed, says Panos Kraniotis. To attract and retain high performers, businesses have to offer them something the competition isn’t.

One way to stand out in the war for talent is to provide attractive training and development opportunities. Language training is a beneficial way to invest in staff, add critical competencies to the business, and is particularly sought after by the growing number of millennials with global employment aspirations given today’s growing marketplace.

Undervalued employees leave

An astonishing 59 per cent of UK staff are considering moving jobs in 2017, according to Investors in People. A quarter of these reported they don’t enjoy the work in their current job, 34 per cent don’t feel valued, and 20 per cent said there is a lack of training or development opportunities.

Of particular note to employers is that 38 per cent of millennial workers (16 to 29 year olds) said that being part of an organisation that values its staff is one of the most important things they look for.

The message is clear. Not providing the opportunity for employees to learn, grow and develop is a recipe for high staff churn rates. In fact, 71 per cent of millennials say that they are likely to leave a position if they aren’t satisfied with their professional development.

High Performers value opportunities for career advancement and are motivated in their work when they believe that the company cares about their personal development and is prepared to invest in it. Job seekers (and potential job changers) think beyond salary and basic factors when considering what it is that they want from their work life. They seek more life-enriching benefits.

Ambitious, motivated staff crave new opportunities. This is especially the case with career starters and climbers. In fact, according to PwC, 37 per cent of millennials would like the opportunity to go on a global assignment and two-thirds feel they need to gain international experience to further their careers. So be sure to offer these skilled workers training and development resources that will keep them engaged and benefit their overall growth.

Better conversations: better results

This provides a huge opportunity to companies already grappling with the communications challenge of conducting business internationally. Encouraging and supporting employee ambitions for overseas experience builds valuable capabilities within the business while proving that the company cares about their professional development

Well-rounded language training that immerses learners in the culture of other countries equips employees to communicate on a regular basis with international clients, suppliers and colleagues. This is a huge bonus to global organisations that currently lack this level of engagement. Better conversations and stronger working relationships result when interactions can be conducted in a language that both parties are confident in.

This confidence can result from successful workplace language training. In fact, Rosetta Stone found that 70 per cent of learners gained confidence in their work with teams, partners and vendors; 71 per cent said language training improved their job performance and 64 per cent revealed that it made them more productive.

Appetite for language learning

Companies considering language training but feeling unsure about how keen staff might be, may in fact find themselves knocking on an open door. According to the British Council, UK adults regret losing language skills. Research on behalf of the international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities revealed that 58 per cent of UK adults wish they hadn’t let language skills from their school days slip. Moreover, it found that nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of adults think that speaking another language is an important skill to have.

Language learning is a stimulating activity. It opens up the mind to new experiences and different cultures. Employees who have developed proficiency in multiple languages are more engaged in their work as a result of their rising confidence and performance levels.

In this way, providing language learning opportunities at work can positively impact staff motivation. Does it also impact loyalty and help companies retain their brightest stars? Rosetta Stone’s findings suggest that it does with over half (58 per cent) of language learners surveyed having said they’re more likely to remain with their company as a result of language training

Businesses compete on every level to be successful in challenging environments. This includes striving to attract and retain the best people and to motivate them so that they’ll want to stay and do well for the company.

By offering language training in the workplace, businesses can create a company culture that will entice top talent and ensure that satisfied existing employees stay, develop and progress.

Panos Kraniotis is Regional Director of Europe at Rosetta Stone.