ESL Classes Improve More than Communication in the Workplace
Well-planned ESL classes can achieve more than just helping non-native speakers improve their communication skills.
Companies that take the time to develop a staff, fully capable of communicating with one another, tend to run more smoothly with fewer internal conflicts.
If you’ve been thinking about offering ESL classes at your workplace, there are a few added benefits that go deeper than surface communication. Below are 3 inherent benefits of offering ESL classes at your workplace and a recent scenario from one of our clients:
- Sharing: Staff members with good communication skills share common goals and tasks. They learn from each other and how to work with each other. They learn what to expect in situations involving decisions. They also learn how to better handle the decisions through sharing ideas and properly communicating vital information.
- Confidence: Being unafraid to communicate with your fellow workers is a great asset. It builds self confidence. Using a common language inside the workplace strengthens the ability of foreign born workers to communicate with better precision. Without a company policy to promote these skills (and ESL classes to solidify them), individual workers may begin to feel left out. A worker who feels isolated begins to feel disconnected from his surroundings. He stops trying to communicate with his fellow workers. In this situation interest and motivation wane, confusion grows, and tasks remain incomplete or poorly executed.
- Career Building: Forward thinking companies give hope to their employees for a brighter future. Without the ability to communicate well in English, workers fail to convey their true abilities and natural skills to the company. In turn the company concludes that a given worker is only suited for the specific position for which he was hired, thereby causing a pigeonhole effect. A non-native speaker might look upon the opportunity to take ESL classes as a door opener, letting his employer know what he’s really capable of achieving. At the same time this can help him stay motivated and goal oriented towards achieving more satisfying employment. In short, it generates a positive attitude towards his employer, and positive attitudes towards employers always produce unexpected benefits for the company.
Recently one of our ESL/Literacy program trainers working at a large metropolitan hospital in Denver commented:
Five students of mine were offered the chance to apply for a course in translation, which would enable them to act as an interpreter when a patient doesn’t speak English and only speaks their native language. The students were nervous, convinced they would not be able to pass the entrance exam. They were resigned to continuing their status quo job in the hospital (housekeeping, room service, cafeteria, etc). With encouragement from their language trainer and leaning upon each other for support, they presented themselves for the exam. When they learned several days later that all five of them had been admitted to the Beginner’s Translation Course given at the hospital, their attitude changed dramatically. They felt validated and grateful for the chance to improve their job status.
After speaking with the interpreting trainer from the above example, it’s realistic to expect that only three of the five staff members will pass the translation course and be approved to provide some limited in-house interpreting. So what are the potential unexpected benefits of giving these 5 staff members this opportunity?
- All five staff members are appreciative of this opportunity to convert what has historically been a weakness (that they aren’t native English speakers) into a strength. They feel they have been validated by their employer.
- All five are reinvigorated by the idea that their employer supports them in their pursuit of increasingly more meaningful work while maintaining the security of their current jobs.
- Regardless of who passes the translation course and who doesn’t, each staff member will have a deeper knowledge of how to help two parties communicate with each other, and a clearer understanding of their relevant strengths and weaknesses.
If you need ESL Classes or other language training at your workplace, Common Ground International can help your company.
Workers and managers frequently tell us that the language program they followed improved their lives and their well being. An interpreter’s training course may or may not be right for your workplace, but we can offer your company ESL classes and Literacy programs that fit your specific needs and goals. We specialize in helping you identify language goals and we customize our curriculum to help you meet those objectives. Good, qualified employees improve a company’s chances for success.
Call to today for a free consultation – (303) 684-5557 – and find out how an ESL class or Literacy program could benefit your company.
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