The Lingo Ledger

What You Risk by Not Offering English Training to your Engineers

By Jenny Tannenbaum / May 09, 2016 /

Culture

meeting-1293980_1280Communication is key to the success of any business, however time and time again we see organizations expand globally without prioritizing language training. This is to the detriment of the company and its employees. Specifically, there’s a lack of focus placed on training engineers who are not native speakers of the dominant language, usually English. Their inability to communicate within an organization affects collaboration, idea sharing, company culture, and talent development.

Collaboration

Collaboration is critical to an organization’s productivity. However, when engineers have difficulty communicating, the quality of their collaboration is impaired. This is especially true in cross-functional situations. It takes managers additional time to relay messages and often times critical points get lost, resulting in a hit to the bottom line.

Group meetings and one-on-one meetings can be stressful for engineers who don’t speak the dominant language. Often times they’re perceived as shy or unwilling to participate when in reality they have trouble with self-expression.

80.5% of engineers say they get nervous when speaking in group meetings.

Idea sharing

It’s often quite difficult for engineers to express their ideas and opinions, especially in cross-team scenarios. Engineers can be seen as less intelligent by other members of the organization because it takes them longer to express thoughts or give feedback.

“I don’t have a problem with ideas, I have a problem with expression.” -ESL Course Student.

Company Culture

Company culture is extremely important to talent acquisition and retention. When engineers lack English skills, they feel disconnected from the organization as a whole. It’s difficult for them to participate and feel like a member of the community. For companies that value culture, this is a big hit to morale.

“In many ways, we are possibly these engineers’ first American friendship. My engineer students say they’ve never been able to just talk with someone about their day; they’ve only had interactions in a professional way. This helps build trust and creates a safe environment for them to ask questions about confusing cultural practices that will help them feel more comfortable communicating at work.”

— Sherri, Lingo Live teacher for ESL for Engineers Course

Talent Development

Talent development is critical to moving a business forward. It’s also a sought after benefit by employees. Engineers believe that weak communication skills hold them back from getting to the next level within their company.

95% of students say they feel their lack of English skills is holding them back from a promotion.

Improving the ability of these engineers to express themselves will allow them to reach their full potential, as well as increase company productivity.

Offering language training to your engineers will have a positive effect on their personal growth as well as that of the company. Specifically, a program that is tailored to the exact needs of the student (whether it’s the ability to communicate in meetings or collaborate in a team setting) will have a direct impact at an accelerated rate.

Want to learn more? Read the full report here.

Subscribe