Evaluating the ROI of Language Learning for DEI Initiatives

Pearson Languages
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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.
Measuring the success of your language learning programs
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The impact of language proficiency on DEI

We've previously discussed the impact of language learning on various aspects of the workplace, like overcoming DEI barriers and empowering employee success. Our recent Pearson report discusses the influence that language learning has on driving effective DEI strategies. It positions language proficiency as a cornerstone of robust DEI initiatives that unlock untapped growth opportunities. Good communication skills, underscored by competent language abilities, significantly propel the five most sought-after business skills: Leadership and Management, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Digital Skills, and Continuous Learning.

Investing in language skills not only supports international expansion but also aligns with core values and the ethos of progressive and transformational DEI strategies. Improved language proficiency contributes to creating more confident communicators who understand cultural nuances across languages, thereby enhancing empathy and cultural intelligence within the workplace.

The business case for language learning

The advantages of workplace language programs

If you're an HR professional building a case for language learning programs in your organization, there are several merits that language learning infuses into DEI efforts, including:

  • 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.

Developing language skills can also radically change company recruitment practices by minimizing biases, thus nurturing diversity and stimulating a broader talent pool. An inclusive language and work environment also promotes equity by providing equal opportunities and underpins inclusion through better communication.

Metrics for assessing language learning ROI

When looking to evaluate the impact of language learning programs in your company or organization, here are strategies and metrics to consider:

  • Assess improvements in team communication skills and cultural awareness.

  • Track progress in language proficiency using reliable assessment tools, such as Versant by Pearson.

  • Monitor employee engagement surveys to gauge the perceived impact of language learning on inclusivity and belonging.

  • Analyse retention rates post-implementation of language programs to measure employee loyalty.

  • Evaluate customer satisfaction to determine the effect of improved language skills on service quality.

  • Benchmark against industry leaders in DEI to understand where your organization stands and where improvements can be made.

  • Calculate the financial impact of language learning on revenue, especially in new market penetration and customer retention, to substantiate the economic benefits alongside the moral imperative.

A comprehensive analysis of these metrics will not only underscore the direct ROI of language learning in financial terms but also map the broader influence on corporate culture and external brand perception. The combination of tangible and intangible benefits makes language learning a strategic investment at the core of progressive workforce development and DEI initiatives.

Why are ROIs important?

Having ROIs is important to measure the effectiveness of a program, identify any gaps in training as well as have a tangible way to present these findings to senior staff members. They provide a quantifiable measure of success for training programs, allowing organizations to see the tangible benefits of their investments. This data is vital for HR professionals to validate and strengthen the case for continued or expanded support of language training programs.

By showing clear evidence of improved employee engagement, increased cross-cultural competencies, increased workforce productivity and enhanced communication effectiveness, ROIs demonstrate not just the financial rewards but the intrinsic value that such initiatives contribute to an organization's DEI success.

Furthermore, ROIs help to secure executive buy-in and investments by articulating the benefits within the context of strategic business objectives, ultimately ensuring that language learning remains a priority.

Implementing effective language learning programs

To effectively implement language learning programs with ROI considerations at the forefront, organizations should adopt a structured approach. Start by identifying clear objectives that align with your overarching DEI goals and ensure that the language initiatives are tailored to fill specific gaps within your corporate culture. Create a detailed plan encompassing the selection of a suitable language provider, such as our workplace solutions, and define the expected proficiency levels for participating employees.

Establish a comprehensive timeline that includes milestones for progress reviews, employing tools like Versant by Pearson to track advancements in language skills. Ensure a strong support system, including language tutors and cultural training sessions, maintains momentum and engagement amongst learners. In addition, consider creating accountability structures where employees set language learning goals and have regular check-ins to discuss their progress. This can help maintain motivation and commitment to the program.

Finally, communication is key to the successful deployment of any learning initiative. Keep all stakeholders informed of the program's impact through regular reporting on ROI metrics and anecdotal successes. These insights will fuel continuous improvement of the language learning programs and sustain executive support, reinforcing the value of such investments within the corporate DEI strategies.


The implementation of language learning within DEI strategies is an investment that can yield a company a substantial return on investment. By translating language proficiency into measurable business outcomes, organizations can enhance their competitive edge, and foster and develop a truly inclusive workplace culture.

Therefore, it is important for forward-thinking leaders to recognize the strategic importance of language learning and embed it within the core of their DEI initiatives, ensuring that it remains an integral part of their organizational ethos.

Learn more

Download the report today to gain a fuller understanding of how language learning can revitalize your company's DEI strategy and contribute to its overall success.

Further reading

Make sure to read these posts if you want to learn more:

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

Why your performance management strategy needs language learning

Empowering employee success: establishing a learning culture

McKinsey - Why diversity matters

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