Global Expansion Through Mergers & Acquisitions Requires Language Training

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Mergers and acquisitions are heating up even though the global economy is cooling down. Much like the tech boom in the 2000s that saw companies sold for parts after the bubble burst, we’re seeing many of the same now in a post-Covid world. With teams, processes, and standards merging, having a language barrier is the last thing you want to prevent your business from growing.  

In our latest blog, we talked about the value of language training pre-merger and acquisition. We shared values like effective communication, increased camaraderie across global teams, clear global expansion strategy, and even enhanced customer relations. What happens if a staff member needs to communicate effectively in the acquired company's target language but can’t?  

Nothing good, truthfully. Here are some key risks to consider: 

  1. Communication Breakdown: Language barriers can lead to miscommunication, misunderstandings, and errors in exchanging critical information. Effective team communication may improve with someone who speaks the acquired company's language, impacting collaboration, decision-making, and overall productivity. 
  2. Cultural Misunderstandings: Language and culture are closely intertwined. By having a language speaker from the acquired company, your organization may need help to fully grasp and appreciate the new team's cultural nuances, customs, and business practices. This can lead to inadvertent cultural insensitivity, misunderstandings, and even strained relationships. 
  3. Inefficient Workflows: With a language speaker on staff, tasks that require communication with the acquired company may become more efficient. Dependence on translators or external resources for routine communications can slow down processes, hinder responsiveness, and increase the risk of errors or misinterpretations. 
  4. Loss of Talent and Knowledge: When employees from the acquired company do not have a common language with their new colleagues, they may feel isolated or excluded. This can result in disengagement, decreased morale, and a higher likelihood of talented employees seeking opportunities elsewhere. Additionally, the acquired company's valuable insights, expertise, and institutional knowledge may only be tapped if language barriers prevent effective knowledge transfer. 
  5. Missed Business Opportunities: Language skills open doors to new business opportunities. Without someone who speaks the language of the acquired company, your organization may miss out on crucial partnerships, contracts, or market insights. Competitors who communicate effectively with the acquired company may gain a competitive advantage, potentially impacting your organization's growth prospects. 
  6. Legal and Compliance Risks: Legal and compliance requirements can vary across jurisdictions in international acquisitions. Understanding local regulations, contracts, and documentation may be challenging without language proficiency. Failure to comply with legal obligations due to language barriers can result in legal complications, penalties, or damage to your organization's reputation. 
  7. Integration Challenges: Smooth integration of the acquired company into your organization requires effective communication and collaboration. Without language proficiency, integrating systems, processes, and teams may become more complex and time-consuming, hindering the achievement of synergies and optimal operational efficiency.

To mitigate these risks, it is crucial to prioritize language training or ensure the availability of proficient language resources within your organization. This investment will foster effective communication, cultural understanding, and successful integration, ultimately supporting the long-term success of the acquisition or merger. 

If you want to learn more about group language tutoring and cultural training, we’d love to show you how Global LT does it. Our teachers are sourced worldwide and trained to focus language learning on specific outcomes and goals.

This blog post was written by Patricia Diaz, VP of Marketing.

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