Languages Magazine

Competitive Edge

By Tlb

Today in almost every Job it is a basic requirement to speak at least one foreign language. If you cannot speak a foreign language you are pretty much invisible to an employer. Especially in a big international company, it is very hard to gain a foothold. The younger generation has known about the issue for a long time. There is hardly anyone who can’t speak at least English. The employers do not have any problems with this generation. But what are they going to do with the workers who can’t speak English, but have been employed at the company for a long time? Does the employer have to replace them?

Seattle City Light employees in office, 1954

City Light employees in office (Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives)

No they don’t. There are many possibilities to solve this problem. The employers could extend the employee’s knowledge and by sending them to a language school in their hometown. It’s not expensive and the employees will learn the basics of a foreign language. Effective for the company, but it could perhaps demotivate the workers.  Going back to school after so many years? Well, nobody would refuse it, but maybe they would find it annoying.

The employers have to see advanced training as a chance not only to extend the employee’s knowledge, but also to motivate them and to bind them to the company for a long time. Therefore, the employers have to think of something. They could send their workers to foreign country to learn a foreign language. By doing so the employees are able to learn very quickly and they can enjoy a little holiday as well. Or even the employer could ask the employee, which country they would like to go to. New York? Then the employers  send their worker to an English school in New York. Rome? No problem. A few weeks later, the employee will attend an Italian course in Rome. After a trip like this, the workers would come back very strong and motivated and ready to work more productively for the company.

Of course this procedure is associated with higher costs. But in today’s market clever and qualified employees are difficult to secure. The employers have to gain a competitive advantage. They do not only have to convince new candidates that they are the best company on earth, but they also have to bind their own employees to the company. The employers have to build a feeling of unity. Also the offer of advanced training is good for the image of the company .When the employers lead a job interview, their company can stand out against other companies and the candidate will to choose them because of the advanced training, even if the pay is less than at other companies.

Because of the advanced training, a company is able to offer more than just money. Today, money is not the only motivation.  The chance to be able to take a further education course has, for most applicants, more value than a bag of money. Clever heads always want to learn more. If the employers offer this in their company, their company will be the first contact for the cleverest of the clever applicants.

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