Your Organization Probably Has a Language Skills Gap

Here's how and why you should fix it.

Group of men and women sitting at a conference table listening to a presentation on organizational language training

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If you work in corporate America and survived the economic uncertainty and job changes in the last few years, you’ve likely heard the term “skills gap” and how it relates to hiring, firing, and promoting your workforce. 

Have you ever heard of a language skills gap, though? 

A language skills gap refers to a situation with a shortage or insufficient proficiency in language skills within an organization or job market. It occurs when the demand for employees with specific language abilities surpasses the available supply.

To address a language skills gap, organizations can employ several strategies to remain competitive and profitable during any economic cycle. Here’s how your organization can address its own language skills gap. 

1.    Training and development programs. Organizations can invest in language training programs to improve the language skills of their current employees. This can involve providing language courses, workshops, or online learning resources. By upskilling their workforce, organizations can close the language skills gap internally. Global LT teaches over 100 languages and finds the best teachers globally (Literally. Our teachers are all over the planet), meaning your workforce gets customized language training that meets organizational needs. 
2.    Language proficiency requirements in recruitment. Organizations can set specific language proficiency requirements when hiring new employees. Clearly defining language requirements in job descriptions and conducting language assessments during recruitment ensures that candidates possess the necessary language skills. This helps organizations proactively address the language skills gap.
3.    Partnerships with educational institutions. Organizations can collaborate with educational institutions, language schools, or training providers to develop customized language programs. Such partnerships can help bridge the language skills gap by providing targeted language training tailored to the organization's needs.
4.    Employee exchange programs. Organizations can establish employee exchange programs or offer international assignments to allow employees to immerse themselves in language and cultural environments. This experiential learning can enhance language skills and cultural competency, closing the language skills gap while promoting diversity and global understanding.
5.    Translation and interpretation services. When language skills are critical for effective communication but cannot be immediately developed within the organization, outsourcing translation and interpretation services can bridge the language gap. This allows organizations to communicate with clients, partners, or customers who speak different languages.
6.    Diversity and inclusion initiatives. Organizations can foster a culture of diversity and inclusion, attracting multilingual candidates and empowering employees from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Encouraging employees to utilize their language skills and providing opportunities to contribute through translation, interpretation, or cross-cultural communication can effectively address the language skills gap.
7.    Collaborative tools and technology. Leveraging language translation tools, language learning platforms (like Rosetta Stone or Duolingo), and collaborative technology can assist in overcoming language barriers. These tools can facilitate communication, improve understanding, and bridge the language skills gap within organizations across different languages and cultures.

By adopting these strategies, organizations can address the language skills gap and ensure effective communication and collaboration in multilingual environments. Closing the gap enhances operational efficiency, expands market reach, and fosters a more inclusive and culturally competent work environment.

If you’d like to see how Global LT bridges the language skills gap by bringing cultural and language training to organizations worldwide, we’d love to show you how

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