Reason #1 companies are using foreign language classes and cross-culture training programs to develop their workforce – is to break down language and culture barriers. This allows for communication and correspondence between teams, departments, subsidiaries, and international offices to flow freely. Communication is the key component to making any sort of team and business endeavor successful. In today’s interconnected business and economic environment, employees of Fortune 500, small and mid-size companies are interfacing with international partners on a daily basis. The shortcomings of many global initiatives and projects can be attributed to cross-cultural misunderstandings and miscommunications due to language barriers. These shortcomings cost companies millions of dollars a year. To avoid these shortcomings, businesses have to start making long-term investments in their employees.
Small and large companies have already started taking preventative measures to safeguard their investments overseas by creating human resource strategies and training programs designed to develop their workforce into one that can be highly productive in multicultural and multilingual settings. Foremost in this strategy is providing employees access to foreign language and cross-culture training. Foreign language classes are valuable in achieving competency in a given language and cross-culture training supplements the learned language skills. German classes are the most popular form of training because of the strong ties with the European market and German companies like Bosch, and Adidas in Charleston and Greenville, South Carolina. Spanish classes are highly beneficial and requested frequently by sales and marketing teams because of the large Hispanic customer base in the United States. Many corporate foreign language classes lead to internationally recognized certifications and they serve as relevant team building exercises. Once foreign language competency and cross-cultural understanding has been achieved, the team is ready to successfully tackle a multinational project. With open channels of communication and correspondence between vendors, customers, and coworkers team morale improves and bottom-line results become real.