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5 tips to boost professional engagement in language courses

5 tips to boost professional engagement in language courses

Increasing professional engagement in training doesn’t have to be difficult. See 5 tips that can help L&D in this challenge.

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Introduction

Ever wonder why some companies are successful in their training programs and why others fail?

There’s a simple answer: engagement.

While engagement alone is not a magic formula for success, each company can employ a combination of strategies to reach their individual goals faster.

Afterall, investing in the right training requires time, effort, reliable research, and an ability to show a return on investment (ROI). With these factors in play, why then does engagement often fall to the wayside?

Professional engagement is also a L&D challenge 

Teams responsible for professional and workforce development often bemoan the challenges of training programs for employees. Elevated expenses, high drop-out rates, and a decline in engagement can make showing a return on investment difficult.

Yet, once a program is implemented, kindling the fire of employee engagement need not be an uphill battle.

In this quick guide, we offer insight into factors that contribute to higher engagement in language training programs. We’ll define engagement and dive into five proven ways for managers to boost learner engagement once a language training program is implemented.

High engagement is important especially when the focus is on improved outcomes, productivity and employee satisfaction.

The importance of professional engagement 

Recent research from Harvard Business review finds that employees who are satisfied with their work environments are more productive, more likely to stay, and more attracted to their company over competitors.

Consider these statistics:

  1. Only 13% of employees are engaged at work says a study of 142 countries 1
  2. Only 21% of employees report being totally committed to their employers 2
  3. Only 10% of organizations measure engagement continuously 3
  4. Only 15% of a manager’s time is spent on promoting employee engagement 4
  5. Yet, 50% more engagement happens when microleraning is added to a training program 5

References:
1. Gallup: State of the Global Workforce; 2017
2. Association for Talent Development: Latest Stats on Global Employee Engagement Trends
3. HR.com The State of Employee Engagement in 2019
4. LinkedIn 2019 Workplace Learning Report
5. Shift Learning Number Don’t Lie Why Microlearning is Better for Your Learners (and You too)

Defining language training program success through employee engagement

Employee engagement is the level of enthusiasm, willingness, and commitment an employee feels to complete work and achieve organizational goals.

For language training programs, more intrinsic factors also impact engagement including diversity and inclusion, industry-specific training, and content that is interesting and reflective of the real world. Nothing impacts a company’s financial health and profitability like employee engagement.

HR and L&D are key areas for the business

Once a language training program is implemented, the most successful organizations offer instruction that is personalized and adaptive to the needs of learners to sustain motivation. For human resources managers and other learning and development professionals, setting your employees up for success means ensuring your company’s success too. 

Based on our years of working with leading companies, here is our list of five proven ways to boost employee engagement.

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Begin with the end in mind

There’s an old saying by renowned psychologist Fitzhugh Dodson that still rings true today: “without goals and a plan to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail without a destination.”

No company should launch a language training program without an end goal in mind. And perhaps more important than an end-goal is a plan to get there. Put another way, it isn’t enough to say that your employees should learn English.

Main goals and metrics 

First, think about your organizational goals and then build a step-by-step plan to get employees there. As an organization, team leaders should reach a consensus about which metrics will determine the success of a language training program.

Examples of success metrics include a minimum number of predetermined study hours, whether or not expectations on proficiency level improvement were met, average scores on satisfaction surveys, and evidence of on-the-job language use. For example, with a structured plan, program administrators can help employees accomplish the goals of feeling more confident when giving presentations or error-free emails, for instance, through better English language skills. When clear goals are set, employees are more likely to stay engaged in the program and meet those goals.

With goals set from the beginning of a language training program, Voxy clients report longer study hours, higher proficiency levels, and more time saved at work as a result of employees engaging with the Voxy platform for extended periods.

Offer employees an incentive

Want to get your employees or other language training program participants to stay for the long run? The short answer, offer an incentive. Consistent regular check-ins with participating employees allow you to garner first hand feedback on the types of incentives that may work better for individual employees.

Consider tying employee progress in a program to performance reviews, company-wide recognition, certificates, and/or awards. Visible leaderboards in the office are a positive way to enkindle friendly competition among learners. Offering a health and wellness program is another important way to fire up engagement. Depending on your organization, also consider financial rewards and opportunities for promotion as successful ways to incentivize employees.

How incentives increase professional engagement in practice

In a recent case study, we shared the success of CENIBRA, a leading global pulp manufacturer with high employee engagement in its language program. To encourage employee engagement, CENIBRA consistently tracked employee performance and acknowledged the top five performing employees in a monthly company newsletter. To help other employees strive to work harder, the top 5 learners each month also received credit for a one-hour private lesson which led to improved proficiency levels.

Innovate your language program with microlearning

In its simplest form, microlearning is a method of learning that delivers information in a smaller and easier-to-digest format. Yet, microlearning isn’t only bite-sized training. Microlearning is hyperpersonalized and offers the right amount of information in the right amount of time to help learners achieve specific goals. Microlearning activates our working memory capacity and attention spans and gives only enough information to help learners achieve a specific objective. 

For Learning and Development (L&D) managers looking to make a big organizational impact, microlearning captures attention spans, encourages employee engagement, and helps demonstrate a return on investment (ROI) through improved employee productivity with efficient, personalized instruction.

Microlearning: great ally of professional engagement

In language training programs, microlearning has the ability to make an indelible impact on employee engagement. In fact, according to a report by Software Advice, microlearning creates 50% more employee engagement. Have an interest in microlearning and how it can encourage employee engagement in your language training program? Find more information here.

Chose a flexible program

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The inconvenience of not being able to study anytime or anyplace is one challenge that inhibits employees from excelling in language training programs. In many global organizations, employees are spread across varying time zones which puts a hamper on all employees studying at the same time.

For true success, employees need individual time to practice as they progress through their language learning journey.

The importance of flexibility

Similar to the benefits of microlearning, Forbes learners that have access to virtual instruction have better control over their own learning, enabling them to work at their own pace when compared to face-to-face only classes. According to a survey conducted of nearly 400 employees, 50% indicated they would use their company’s learning tools more if the courses are shorter

Program administrators and employees also need to be on the same page about the duration of English practice time. Allocating a dedicated space and carving out time for employees to learn is imperative. And even more than that, ensuring your language program is available offsite, though web and mobile applications, is a clear way to increase engagement. From there, learners can practice at a time most convenient for them: during lunch, a commute or other downtime. 

Virtual live instruction, as well as language practice that happens online, can be more accessible than traditional models, making it easier for learners to stay engaged, and, therefore, be more effective than in-person classes.

References:
Software Advice: Top LMS Features To Drive Employee Engagement
Numbers Don’t Lie: Why Microlearning is Better for Your Learners (and You too)
Forbes: Online Education: From Good to Better to Best

Provide personalized and real world content

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Practice makes perfect, and to keep engagement up, the content offered to employees should also apply to real-world scenarios.

The fastest way to bore employees to death is to offer them scripted, outdated learning materials. Instead, to boost employee engagement from the start, provide relevant and personalized content that is specific to employee roles and goals. 

Language training works best when learners can practice with content that is interesting, relevant and can be immediately applied to their roles. In addition, when learners have a heightened interest in learning English, they are more likely to stay engaged than employees who feel forced to take language training.

Real-world content for greater professional engagement

One of the coolest things about Voxy is that we can take the media learners frequently see (articles, video transcripts, images, tweets, etc.,) and turn them into English lessons. From there, employees can use their newly acquired skills and apply it, achieving objectives at work and everyday situations.

Beyond this, content offered in your language training program should be adaptive to the needs and interests of each learner. Neglect to implement this rule, and you are likely to see a mass exodus from your training program.

Next steps for managers

You now have five proven tips to make your language training program a success at your fingertips.

Now what?

Voxy’s Customer Success Managers (CSMs) with their years of experience, can provide guidance to help managers set realistic goals and access data needed to manage their programs.

The onboarding process with Voxy begins with product walkthroughs and access to demo accounts to fully immerse administrators in the platform to gain familiarity.

Voxy CSMs also provide training on our reporting and learner management tool, the Voxy Command Center. Should your program include blended learning, a mixture of in-person and virtual classes, then teachers in your program are also provided with their own playbook. The Voxy Teacher Playbook, a comprehensive guide for instructors, includes information on how to navigate the platform as well as study plans.

Learners also receive study plans to help continue their building language skills and provide yet another tool to keep them engaged. 

That’s not all, every Voxy program also includes learner satisfaction surveys at various intervals of a program. Learners have the opportunity to share vital information, including their opinion about the Voxy program, and the impact their improved English skills has on day-to-day tasks.

Click here to download this content in PDF ebook format for free. 

Want to know how Voxy can support increasing professional engagement in your corporate language program? 

Talk to our Global Solutions team and see how to invest in employee upskilling and increase their productivity with a highly engaging digital English learning platform. Click here

About Voxy

Voxy is an innovative corporate training solution that has been used successfully by hundreds of corporate clients around the world to upskill their teams. Our AI-driven platform, accessed both on desktop and any mobile device, allows each learner to follow a fully personalized and highly engaging learning experience

Voxy’s comprehensive content library covers more than 45 technical and soft skill courses and 25,000+ English lessons taken from renowned resources such as the AP, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, and more. 

Voxy courses are accompanied by certified teachers who offer round-the-clock, remote live instruction, empowering people to improve communication, foster collaboration, and grow global businesses. Our scalable solution, facilitated by our comprehensive admin reporting dashboard, results in an effortlessly inclusive program, designed to drive results for modern learners.

Backed by leading investors in education and technology, Voxy was founded in New York City and has teams across the US, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Spain and Ireland.