What Do Language and Cultural Training Have to Do With Improved Employee Experience?

In the majority of the expatriations, Language Training and Cross-Cultural Training improved the employee experience. As providers of both services, we don’t have any doubt about it. That is why BiCortex asked 500 Global Mobility Managers to share their thoughts about Language and Cultural training as it applies to the employee experience, and what we found was as an industry – we’re not doing enough!

It all boils down to one word – Belonging.

Having a sense of belonging is so important, considering the groups and labels we give ourselves and others. We are members of families, sporting teams, hobbyists, spiritual groups, charities, political parties, cities, countries and nationalities, to name a few. Nearly every aspect of our lives is organized around belonging to something.

Research shows that a sense of belonging is fundamental to the way humankind organizes itself. Beyond assigning status and value to objects, language gives us a way to express our desires, our fears, our needs, and our wants. When we feel we have support and are not alone, we are more resilient, have greater self-esteem, positive worldview, and show an increase in workplace performance. 

Belonging is fundamental to the way. Humankind organizes itself.

When we asked employees, they told us that feeling confident in their new location dramatically improved their ability to perform well in their new role; and having clear expectations directly contributed to seeing their relocation as a success.

Our survey to 500 Global Mobility Managers showed that heading into 2023, 55% of managers were concerned with implementing policies and procedures that would directly impact the employee experience – whether that was through tech, DEI, policy changes, or adding and refining specific benefits. 

26% of companies with multiple international locations offer NO support.

When asked, 9 out of 10 participants agree that both language and cultural training is important to the employee experience, but only 60% of relocation policies included both. Possibly more shocking, nearly 26% of companies with multiple international locations offer no support in language or cultural assimilation

Language and Cross-cultural Training  
 to improved Employee Experience
Language and Cross-cultural Training in relocation policy

What’s Important to Consider When Implementing Cultural and Language Training Support?

Setting Clear Expectations.

Being able to empathize with employees as they embark on a relocation journey is one way that we can improve the employee experience. Our survey found that 33% of Global Mobility Managers had not experienced a global relocation assignment for themselves. In fact, they relied on “policies guidelines, best practices, and past experience managing a program” to guide them in setting expectations for their assignees. 

33% of Global Mobility Managers had not experienced a global relocation assignment for themselves.

When counseling the assignee, they may not even think that they “need” language or cultural support” but having those services available at the ready will be key to managing the assignees success.

Understanding The Facts.

Nearly 86% of international assignees have experienced some form of culture shock – even when moving to a country within a similar region or with the ability to speak the local language.  This means that just because an employee has visited the region previously or works closely with the team virtually – doesn’t mean that they will thrive in the workplace. 

Previous language learning is not an indicator that they will succeed. Motivation clearly defines how we learn a new language. The same language learner may learn one language very differently than another. There are many factors that go into that learning – motivation, level of proficiency desired/needed, complexity of language, and the other competing priorities.

Previous language learning is not an indicator that they will succeed.

Cost vs. Flexibility.

Our survey found that while cost is an important consideration in offering these services, 86% of respondents felt it was  more important to be aligned closely with service providers to administer the benefit in a flexible way. 

A flexible language training service is key.
Flexibility is important for Global Mobility Managers

Language learning is such a personal journey and each employee will have different motivation, needs, and prior experience -whether that is with learning their first foreign language or their third.  Having individual attention to support learning in the way that they feel most comfortable, is essential to gaining proficiency.

So when it comes to belonging, language and culture both play an important piece. If you want to start 2023 off right and improve your employee experience, let BiCortex walk you through a few ways that we can assist in helping your employee and their family feel right at home.

Price importance when providing language training
Price importance when providing language training