Voxy’s mission is to provide English language training programs that improve the lives of employees with limited English proficiency (LEP) as well as the most under-served populations of U.S. residents—recent immigrants. Worldwide, English is the lingua franca of business and to remain competitive, businesses need to empower their employees with the high-caliber training needed to accomplish company-wide goals.
And why should employers care? Well, beyond the obvious humanitarian and social responsibility reasons, helping immigrants and LEP employees learn English offers clear, measurable benefits to companies—ones that affect bottom line, ROI, and performance. Below we explore five unexpected ways your organization will benefit by helping employees with limited English proficiency:
1) Promotion and advancement of incumbent workers, lowering recruiting costs
Employers often have large numbers of hard-working, loyal employees who are limited in their career trajectories simply by their lack of English skills. Across industries and sectors, I have heard hiring managers lament that they cannot promote dedicated, diligent incumbent workers because they do not have the English skills to manage their peers, or interact with customers, or understand more advanced technical training. Instead of looking within their organizations, these hiring managers recruit external talent, which comes with the cost of interviewing, training, and onboarding new employees, some of whom will not work out. An investment in English training is far less expensive, and a much surer bet than taking a chance on a new employee who might not work out.
2) Improved levels of customer service and client satisfaction
It is not just customer service workers and front-of-the-house staff who interact with clients and customers. Imagine the same environmental service workers and groundskeepers who are precluded from promotion by their lack of English skills. They also get asked questions by clients, and when they can speak English, they are able to interact with customers and guests in a positive way, improving external relations.
3) Improved compliance with company and safety protocols
Further, being able to follow directions in English improves more than just customer service. Employers are regularly cited for lack of compliance with health and safety regulations because their staff is not able to understand them. By offering a workplace English program, employers can ensure that their staff understands the critical safety regulations around, for example, food handling, chemical disposal, equipment safety procedures, and waste disposal. This keeps the workplace safe and in business, protecting both clients and workers.
4) Improved output
More than simply protecting future business by avoiding costly health and safety mistakes, teaching employees English improves overall output. When employees can understand their managers, their job requirements, and their tasks in English, they are more productive. Instead of wasting time wondering what to do, they are able to make decisions quickly and in line with company expectations. I recently learned that a large public university needs to hire translators in seven different languages when onboarding seasonal catering staff–they are now investing in English instruction instead, which will pay for itself in saved translation costs and more productive employees.
5) Better sense of morale and community among employees
While every employer has a different mission and vision, one thing that most have in common is the desire to create a positive work culture. Establishing an environment that fosters learning, promotion, and professional development is a clear way to promote the type of culture that attracts and retains employees. Fostering a sense of community amongst immigrant employees by offering a workplace English program is a critical step towards meeting the needs of immigrants, while serving the needs of employers at the same time.
Interested in learning how Voxy language training programs can help your LEP employees? Reach us here.
Katie is Voxy’s Chief Education Officer, which means she leads the teams ensuring that learners are getting the most efficient and effective educational experience possible. She has a PhD in Second Language Acquisition and years of experience teaching languages, building language courses, and evaluating the effectiveness of language training as a research scientist. She lectures and writes about all things related to language learning and educational technology.