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  • A group of business people sat together at a desk
    • Business and employability

    Beyond borders: Harnessing the power of English language skills for a global competitive edge

    By Samantha Yates
    Reading time: 7 minutes

    How does increasing English proficiency drive international growth? Read on to find out how future-focused business leaders are gaining a competitive edge globally by investing in English language training.

    The link between English language proficiency and global business growth is indisputable, and this presents leaders with an exciting opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.

  • A group of business people sat in a board room talking
    • Business and employability

    Ensure international business success with language training

    By Pearson Languages
    Reading time: 7 minutes

    As an ambitious business leader, you understand the importance of effective communication. However, in today’s globalized business environment, communication extends far beyond simple interaction within your organization. It involves breaking language barriers to reach out to the international market, where English training holds the key to unlocking unprecedented expansion and growth. For a business owner or leader, navigating global markets requires not only language proficiency but also a deep understanding of diverse business practices and regulations.

    The global trend is clear: Workplace English skills are a must. English is the world’s most spoken language, with one in four of the world’s population speaking it at a useful level. Improved English proficiency broadens your communication avenues, positively impacting every business facet. With English aptitude, expect heightened cultural understanding, increased productivity, efficient teamwork, and elevated positive customer experiences from service departments that ultimately streamline your entire organization.

  • A group of business people talking together
    • Business and employability

    Future of global workforce decoded: A Pearson and People Matters study

    By Samantha Yates
    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Companies today face a renewed skills challenge. One that goes beyond the traditional skilling agenda that helps employees keep up with the ever-evolving nature of technology. But rather one that prioritizes soft skills and seeks to leverage the right tools and modalities to address change.

    The Pearson and People Matt­ers study, Future of Global Workforce Decoded, echoes the growing importance of having the right skilling pedagogies in place to build communication and collaboration within globally distributed teams. Download the full report here or keep reading this summary.

    The study surveyed around 70 business and talent leaders across India to assess how they see the future of global workforces evolve and unpacked trends on how companies are driving productivity.

    The new skilling agenda: communication and collaboration

    The Pearson Power Skills report contextualized this need for skilling by identifying communication and collaboration as pivotal soft skills required to build a capable workforce across India and APAC. For companies hoping to accelerate growth through a productive global workforce, the need for developing these soft skills rises exponentially.

    For around 56% of leaders interviewed, the right learning certification and skill building programs enabled them to improve business performance. This was closely followed by creating the right employee experience and increasing inclusivity.

    The rise of skilling and certification needs echoes a business concern common to companies with global workforces: to accelerate growth and leverage post-pandemic consumer behavior shifts to build more profitable business processes. Focusing on building communication and collaboration is central to this.

    Previous studies noted that communication and collaboration remained vital soft skills for companies across APAC to develop. And with good reason. With its impact felt across different aspects of an employee's journey, the focus on building communication and collaboration is imperative.

    Around 60% of companies reported that communication and collaboration helped them:

    • Improve employee performance
    • Increase engagement levels
    • Increase cross-functional work
    • Improve retention

    Building the right skilling pedagogies

    When it comes to top talent challenges among global workforces, the lack of communication and collaboration as an essential part of teams remains an important challenge. Over 45% of companies today state this as a pivotal barrier. Another 47% of companies stated the difficulty in reskilling remains concerning.

    The solution: new, more relevant learning pedagogies that address the skilling needs.

    The right pedagogies also help raise performance and drive workforce productivity.

    Besides focusing on developing managers to lead global teams, for over 58% of companies, providing bespoke learning opportunities is key to their ability to solve future uncertainty and raise employee productivity.

    This need to adopt bett­er skilling methods is driven by many who find themselves in uncertain waters. The study found that over 77% of companies identified skill gaps bett­er and provided more relevant learning opportunities as a top learning priority.

    Having the right learning pedagogies that enable tracking and impactful, new-age interventions targeted to improve communication skills is the need of the hour. The study found that the ability to work cohesively in a global work sett­ing depended crucially on how easily different teams can communicate with each other.

    Assessments and hiring for success

    To ensure the success of learning tools and goals related to communication and collaboration, companies also need to consider another key component of their talent management process: whom they hire.

    As recruitment becomes a key HR function, companies with globally distributed and diverse workforces today need to hire individuals who fit their culture and can upskill quickly. Therefore, it's no surprise that the top hiring priorities for companies in the coming year are:

    1. Assessing candidates’ ability to learn new skills
    2. Assessments to gauge job and culture fit
    3. Better engagement and experience

    While building the right communication skills focuses on enabling learners to gauge the nuances of a global work sett­ing and enhance their proficiency in the language, how companies hire proves to be equally important.

    Platforms such as Versant by Pearson prove vital tools for assessing job fit and communication skills, enabling companies with global workforces to hire those who meet their requirements. While new-age learning techniques help address gaps and spur productivity by enhancing communication and collaboration skills, ensuring the right candidates are hired greatly improves the ROI and impact of such skilling programs.

    Driving skills forward to help recruit, develop and retain talent

    The future of global workforces is increasingly dependent on how successfully they can communicate and collaborate with each other. While once considered skills that were good to have, they have risen to the forefront of business demand.

    There is a clear demand for bett­er assessment and learning tools that enable companies to hire and train bett­er. Companies with a global workforce today require personalized learning programs that leverage the latest tech solutions like generative AI, immersive learning, and greater ROI and impact tracking. The diversity of a global workforce throws up newer challenges, and as companies expand, having the right tools – that address both hiring and learning needs – can greatly improve how HR leaders create impact.

    With varying expectations and aspirations, aligning company needs with those of the employee is critical for success.

    Those who focus on building the right communication and collaboration capabilities within their global workforces today stand bett­er prepared to tackle business challenges and drive productivity.

    Investing in the right learning pedagogies and addressing communication concerns thus have a direct impact on how productive global workforces are. The new skilling agenda of focusing on communication and collaboration is today driven by a need to channel diverse workforces to tackle business uncertainty.

    A defining factor of how companies ensure a productive future is by building the right hiring and learning capabilities that address the new skilling agenda.

    To find out more about this study, download the full report here.

    Pearson works with over 2,000 leading enterprises around the world, helping them to diagnose skills gaps, identify learning pathways and interventions, and mobilize their workforces through verifiable skill credentials.

  • A business woman stood at a desk with a computer with two colleagues sat at the desk
    • Business and employability
    • The Global Scale of English

    8 ways language training can transform your business

    By Pearson Languages
    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Around 20% of the world's population speaks English, making it an integral component in global business operations. But the question remains for business leaders and HR professionals: how can language learning, specifically, business English courses, drive your organization forward? Here are 8 ways language training can impact your business.

  • Two coworkers stood in a office looking at a tablet together.
    • Business and employability

    Evaluating the ROI of language learning for DEI Initiatives

    By Pearson Languages
    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Language learning has become a pivotal component of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies in forward-thinking organizations, especially for those with international workforces or those working to unlock new markets across the globe.

    As businesses increasingly prioritize workforce development and social responsibility, integrating language training into DEI programs offers several advantages:

    • Enriching team morale and employee well-being.
    • Increasing employee engagement, loyalty and trust.
    • Delivering fresh ideas and fostering innovation.
    • Enhancing problem-solving and decision-making capabilities.
    • Strengthening customer relationships and amplifying brand reputation.
  • Two women in a pottery room talking over a laptop
    • Business and employability
    • Language hints and tips

    Cutting through corporate English: Clearer alternatives to business jargon

    By Pearson Languages
    Reading time: 4 minutes

    The corporate world can often feel like an echo chamber of confusing phrases. Terms like "blue-sky thinking" and "tiger teams" might dominate conversation in boardrooms and email chains, but what do they actually mean in practice and are they the best way to communicate?

    This blog post simplifies workplace English by offering straightforward business English alternatives to common corporate jargon. These replacements will resonate with fluent English language speakers and ease communication with non-fluent English speakers who are vital contributors to the workplace. Plus, a clearer form of communication can help foster inclusivity, improve understanding and ultimately enhance productivity.

    What is corporate jargon?

    Corporate jargon refers to the very specialized vocabulary and language used within the business world, often characterized by buzzwords, acronyms, jargon and phrases that are usually unknown to outsiders.

    Why should we avoid professional jargon?

    Jargon often acts as a barrier to clear communication, creating an environment where messages are misunderstood or misinterpreted. This misunderstanding can lead to inefficiencies, errors and frustrations among team members, particularly those who may not be fluent English speakers or are new to the corporate environment.

    Furthermore, overusing complex language can unintentionally exclude or push away parts of the workforce, undermining efforts to build an inclusive and collaborative team culture. In essence, simplifying language and avoiding unnecessary jargon can make available information more accessible to a wider audience and ensure that all team members have the necessary information to contribute effectively to their roles.

    For example, let's look at "think outside the box." It means to think in new ways, but it's said so much that it doesn't really grab attention anymore. A better way to say this might be "think creatively" or "come up with new ideas." Also, the word "synergize" really just means to work well together for better results. Saying "work together effectively" is much clearer and easier for everyone to understand, no matter if they're used to business terms or not. Using simple words helps everyone get the idea faster, making the workplace more welcoming and efficient.

    The difference between English jargon and slang

    Jargon functions as a shorthand among professionals, representing complex concepts among those in the know. Slang is less formal than jargon, often coming from cultural or societal trends and used more in casual conversations.

    An example of jargon vs slang

    An example of jargon and slang could be comparing "low-hanging fruit" to "no-brainer." "Low-hanging fruit" is a piece of jargon that refers to tasks, projects or targets that are easily achievable and do not require much effort.

    On the other hand, "no-brainer" is slang that implies something is an obvious or easy decision, often used in more informal settings. While both terms convey the idea of simplicity and ease, "low-hanging fruit" is more likely to be used in strategic meetings or project planning sessions, whereas "no-brainer" might be used in informal discussions or brainstorming sessions.

    Examples of jargon and their plain English alternatives

    Blue-sky thinking

    Avoid saying, "We need some blue-sky thinking." Instead, use, "Approach this problem with unlimited creativity."

    Helicopter view

    Avoid saying, "Give me a helicopter view of the situation." Instead, use, "Provide a broad overview of the situation."

    Get all your ducks in a row

    Avoid saying, "Before the busy season, get all your ducks in a row." Instead, use, "Ensure you're well-organized before the busy period begins."

    Thinking outside the box

    Avoid saying, "This client expects us to think outside the box." Instead, use, "The client expects unique and unconventional ideas from us."

    IGUs (Income Generating Units)

    Avoid saying, "Our goal is to increase our IGUs this quarter." Instead, use, "Our goal is to increase our student enrolments this quarter."

    Run it up the flagpole

    Avoid saying, "That's a great idea. Run it up the flagpole." Instead, use, "That's a great idea. Share it with the team for their input."

    Swim lanes

    Avoid saying, "To understand your tasks, refer to the swim lanes." Instead, use, "Refer to the job responsibility diagram to understand your tasks."

    Bleeding edge

    Avoid saying, "This new software is bleeding edge." Instead, use, "This new software represents the latest in research and technological innovation."

    Tiger team

    Avoid saying, "We'll need a tiger team to tackle this project." Instead, use, "We'll assemble a specialized task force for this project."

    While some professionals may use jargon to appear more knowledgeable, the truth is that simplicity is key. Clear and straightforward language not only levels the playing field for everyone but also cuts through possible misunderstandings.

    The case for plain business English

    In today's global business environment, where interactions occur across diverse linguistic backgrounds and languages, it's paramount to ensure that our words are as clear and simple as possible. By favoring plain English vocabulary over opaque jargon, we promote an inclusive and efficient workplace where every member, fluent or not, understands and contributes to their fullest potential.

    Continue to seek clarity in your communications. Remember that the true mark of expertise is not using complex language but making complex concepts understandable for everyone. Keep challenging yourself to simplify your language without diluting the meaning of your message. Remember, whether you're a seasoned professional or a new recruit, clear communication will always be your strongest asset.

    If you or your team are looking to improve their business English skills, check out our business English courses and blog posts for up-to-date tips.

  • a group of young business people chatting toether
    • Business and employability
    • Diversity and inclusion

    Unconscious bias in the workplace: Overcoming DEI barriers through language learning

    By Pearson Languages

    Reading time: 7.5 minutes

    Unconscious bias: it's a quiet murmur in the corridors of our workplaces that can grow into a loud echo, shaping decisions and team dynamics in ways that may go unnoticed. In our collective quest for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), recognizing and tackling these biases is not just important—it's essential.

    By embarking on this path, we create workplaces where everyone feels valued and heard. If you're an HR professional, a leader, or a diversity consultant, it’s essential to always keep this in mind in every aspect of the workplace. Today, let's explore how language learning can be a valuable ally in breaking down the barriers created by unconscious bias.

    Discover how to support an inclusive workplace culture with language learning in our free 6-step guide, featuring actionable tips to help reduce bias and bolster your organization's DE&I program.

  • A business woman sat at a desk with a laptop and notepad. She is writing in the notepad.
    • Business and employability

    How to power your DE&I strategy and drive global growth with language learning

    By Pearson Languages
    Reading time: 3 minutes

    When you get them right, great diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategies transform businesses, and language proficiency plays a crucial role. We know that investing in DE&I initiatives promotes a sense of belonging and connection, and ultimately delivers stronger business results. Whether you’re looking to boost profitability, staff attraction and retention or performance, proactive DE&I initiatives are central to overall business success.

    This blog is adapted from our PDF article of the same name. Download that version here.

    Implementing a commitment to DE&I alongside expertly designed language training and development will also:

    • Widen and diversify your talent pool.
    • Foster a culture of ongoing learning.
    • Boost employee engagement, loyalty and trust.
    • Improve team morale, mental health and well-being.
    • Help generate fresh ideas and new perspectives.
    • Develop problem-solving and decision-making skills.
    • Build better relationships with customers and help you gain better customer insight.
    • Enhance your brand and company’s reputation.

    That’s quite a list, and it can all be catalyzed by building language proficiency.

    Leaders are committing to building better cross-cultural communication and English language proficiency because they understand that better language skills mean a stronger, more meaningful DE&I strategy for their organization.

    How to embed effective language learning that supports DE&I in your organization

    1. Make it clear that language learning for all is a top-level commitment as part of your DE&I initiatives.
    2. Communicate the benefits and advantages of ongoing language learning and development, along with the link between language and crosscultural understanding and inclusivity.
    3. Support a diverse recruitment strategy by embedding language assessment in your talent acquisition initiatives. Measure candidates’ current language skill levels in a fair and equitable way using a resource such as Versant by Pearson. (Pearson TalentLens has developed a set of inclusive best practice assessment steps for HR professionals to incorporate over time.)
    4. Implement and embed easy-to-use and accessible language resources in your learning and development initiatives. Platforms such as Mondly by Pearson are flexible, relevant and engaging and give employees autonomy on their learning journey.
    5. Create excitement to promote buy-in. Make language learning part of your company culture and experiment with ways in which to do this.
    6. Communicate milestones and progress, gain inclusive and regular feedback, celebrate successes and always promote a culture of collaboration.

    There will always be challenges associated with implementing, embedding and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in a company. But by prioritizing language learning, you will propel business growth throughout your organization—unlocking international opportunities, improving internal and external communication, enabling better collaboration, and turbo-charging your talent acquisition.

    At the very heart of a truly diverse, equitable and inclusive environment lies a multi-level commitment to better communication, in all the various forms it takes across your organization. Prioritizing language proficiency is one of the most dynamic ways to reinforce DE&I in your business.

    If you found this article interesting and want to learn more, download the full PDF version. It features what to focus on as a leader and more about how language learning powers DE&I efforts.

    Find out more about how language training and assessment can drive your business forward by checking out our resources for HR professionals, including articles, whitepapers and research.

  •  A group of business people clapping their hands
    • Business and employability

    3 ways to boost employee retention with language learning

    By Pearson Languages
    Reading time: 4 minutes

    Did you know? According to our research, employees who work for a company that provides English language training are more than twice as likely to say they are very satisfied at work, compared to those working in companies that do not.

    To retain top talent in an increasingly competitive marketplace, all evidence points to developing communication and language skills.

    Communication: the most in-demand business skill

    Pearson’s Skills Outlook Summary 2023 showed that communication skills including English language skills are the most in-demand power skills across the board. PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 agrees: the top five predictors for employee turnover all had the same themes in common – communication, empathy and listening skills.

    According to Gallup, a focus on developing employees’ strengths (as opposed to focusing on fixing weaknesses) can lead to a 20-73% reduction in employee attrition. That’s a startling statistic and one that has the potential to transform your business.

    So, the message is clear: by investing in your employees’ existing communication and language strengths, you’re helping them refine a comprehensive range of business power skills. In turn, this will make them feel more engaged and therefore far more likely to stay with you.

    3 ways to implement English training to retain top talent

    Let’s explore three ways to implement an English language skills learning and development plan that underpins communication skills, refines business soft skills and makes your employees want to stay.

    1. Find out what training employees want

    To tailor a culture of learning that supports the development of your employees’ language and communication skills, you’ll find it helpful to get their input first. Survey and interview your team to better understand current barriers to language-specific learning, skills gaps, preferred learning styles and current frustrations.

    For example, is it speaking, listening or reading English that they currently struggle with the most? The better you understand your employees’ needs, the more consulted and engaged with the process they’ll feel.

    2. Reward those who commit to language learning

    In 2023, Forbes outlined 15 strategies to make your employees stay, and perhaps unsurprisingly, reward featured strongly. Your performance management system should include a structure that acknowledges employees who are committing to achieving their objectives and developing their skills, and demonstrates the career trajectory that might be possible with improved communication and language skills.

    What that looks like will differ from organization to organization, but it’s important that employees understand the potential opportunities that come with refining their language skills.

    3. Promote the link between language skills and career progression

    Your employees may not naturally make the link between developing language skills and career progression, so help them understand how better language skills can help them move forward in their role and how you will support them in this.

    When they see that language skills have been built into their development plans, they’ll feel invested in staying with your organization and developing their skills with you.

    In a world where communication-based soft skills are more valuable than ever before, the ability to confidently converse in different languages within a business context is an impressive skill that’s transferable to a multitude of other business soft skills, such as teamwork, leadership and problem-solving.

    Once they understand the full range of benefits that come with developing their language skills, they’ll be grateful that you’re committed to helping them do that and will be more likely to stay.

    Boost your workforce’s English language skills and reap the business benefits

    It’s clear that when employees feel that their communication skills are improving, they feel a sense of continued progression and engagement – not only in their language abilities but also across a range of other business power skills.

    The key to retaining talent lies in increasing engagement, and since higher engagement rates are linked to 21% more productivity, according to Gallup, there really is no better way to retain a happy workforce.

    Start building your team’s English language skills

    Learn how Mondly by Pearson can help you reinforce a culture of learning and retain top talent within your organization, with flexible English language learning solutions for your business.

    If you liked this blog post and want to learn more, download the PDF report here.

    Find out more about how language training and assessment can drive your business forward by checking out our resources for HR professionals, including articles, whitepapers and research.