In-house language courses can be a profitable investment, but in order that it is profitable, here are a few pitfalls to avoid.
Investing in training your human capital is a good idea. In the globalized market that we find ourselves in, language skills are crucial. However, so that this investment is profitable, you must avoid a few pitfalls that have meant that too many in-house language courses have failed.
1 – The course is cancelled
The first enemy of any language teacher in business is absenteeism. This is especially true for executives and managers: the more responsibilities they have, the greater the temptation to put all other professional obligations before English classes, Italian classes or Chinese classes… A meeting, a report to be submitted, preparation for a business trip? The language course is put on the back burner. It becomes impossible monitor the learner’s progress.
2 – The course is poorly managed
The lack of monitoring is one of the pitfalls that should be avoided. To do this, absenteeism must be avoided, but also multi-year training plans must be provided. Learning languages is a long-term process for which planning and monitoring is crucial. Unfortunatly, the change of teacher or institute too often signals the end of the student’s hopes for linguistic evolution. This shouldn’t be the case. Similarly, in-house job changes should not affect participation in language courses.
3 – The general course
Establishing a Spanish course, a Portuguese course or a French course requires that stakeholders agree on the objectives and the course content. A meeting will have to take place between human resources, managers of employees targeted by the training and the language institute. Here, targets will be established for learners, which will be of two natures:
- General command of the language (ability to understand and produce);
- Development of language skills specific to the needs of the employee and the company.
The second point is particularly important: it ensures that the language will be useful in the workplace for the employee.
4 – The playground
These objectives must be taken into account by teachers when preparing the curriculum and classes. They will also be tested through regular reviews. In this way, the language course can focus on the results. It also avoids two dangers:
- The course deviating too much from the aim and becoming a “general” language course
- The course becoming a ‘playtime’ for the student
5 – The one hour a week course
Finally, to ensure that your investment is worthwhile, it is important that the amount of hours is sufficient. You can have the best institute, the best teacher, the best employees, but one hour of class a week has never allowed anyone to learn a language. Two hours is a minimum, four hours a week are recommended.
In summary, for a profitable investment from in-company language courses: you need monitoring, seriousness and specialization!
Translation into English: Chloe Findlay
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