The holy grail of workforce performance improvement

Written by Armin Hopp on 22 November 2017

Language and communication skills have a fundamental part to play in boosting the performance of a multinational organisation. When employees communicate effectively with each other and with partners and customers, there will be far fewer delays and misunderstandings.

Productivity, time to market and customer service metrics will all rise and the business will secure its future on the global stage.

According to a Towards Maturity Benchmark report, ‘98% of organisations want to improve performance, but only a quarter of them are achieving it’.

As more and more organisations recognise the clear link between communication skills and business performance, language learning is becoming a vital component of global talent management strategies.

At the same time, a growing number of organisations are deploying global ERP systems with integrated talent and performance management features. This offers a massive opportunity to use a suite of consolidated training and talent management resources to deliver consistent cloud-based digital learning.

Yet, despite this, some multinational businesses continue to focus on classroom-based training, as this is the way they have always done things.

Closing the talent management gap

This represents a serious failure to capitalise on the business’s investment in a global system that can provide useful insight based on data analytics, while at the same time supporting diversity by providing relevant language learning content according to the gender, language and cultural dynamics of the organisation.

Businesses need to close this gap so that both learners and the business can get the most from talent management systems.

Here are some tips to achieve workforce performance improvement:

  • Maximise existing investment in talent management solutions. Fully explore the benefits of any learning systems already in place within the organisation and educate and train managers on getting the most out of the systems to support their performance management of employees. This is particularly important after M&A activity.
  • Recognise the need for ‘glocalisation’. Combine the benefits of a consistent global solution with local delivery that engages learners by speaking to them in their language and reflecting their culture and role in the workforce. There is no ‘one size fits all’ shortcut to talent management. In fact, the combination of global delivery and local support is crucial, especially for language and communication skills training. Local support can also come from a technical help desk, which can implement the technology and the methodology. Local tutors can also support digital learning delivery by teaching in a way that suits the cultural and learning needs of the particular set of students.
  • Tap into line management to create champions for local learning delivery. An organisation needs people to support learning delivery locally on the ground and line managers are well placed to fulfil this function.
  • Use your global technology platform to drive learning through more effective communications. Communicate with individual employees, in a way that suits them, so that they are clear about the benefits that improving their language communication skills will bring. Then continue to communicate with them as they progress through the learning process. Corporate communication and collaboration platforms can also be used as a forum for colleagues to communicate with each other across borders, helping each other build language skills.
  • Measure improvement. Performance management is all about driving measurable improvements and this is also true of the contribution that enhanced language and communication skills bring. However, it is only possible to measure improvement meaningfully if existing skills are benchmarked consistently across the world – so plan to set up centralised testing. It is important not only to set learning goals when it comes to language and communication skills but also to set clear objectives as to how achieving these goals will contribute to performance improvement across the business.


About the author

Armin Hopp is the founder and president of Speexx

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