Language proficiency has become a valuable asset in an increasingly globalized world. It enables professionals to communicate with colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds and enhances their professional development.
Language skills are most crucial in an offshore setting. It entails a huge portion of good outsourcing communication when dealing with delegating services remotely.
One factor businesses consider when delegating services offshore is the ability to communicate effectively with their teams located miles apart.
This is also why most firms go to top offshore destinations with good English proficiency, apart from their work quality.
Everyone should hone their language skills in the workplace to benefit in a global workplace in various ways.
Jaime Nacach, the CEO of Virtual Latinos, tackles this in episode 475 of the Outsource Accelerator podcast.
Common language skills in the workplace
Effective language skills encompass multiple aspects, including listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
Active listening enables individuals to understand instructions, gather information, and respond appropriately.
Active listening and understanding among employees demonstrate a high level of professionalism in staff, further fostering stronger working relationships.
In a language setting, active listening involves being able to process instructions in another language to deliver outputs according to it.
Strong reading skills are necessary for comprehending and analyzing various types of documents in the workplace. This includes emails, reports, memos, and industry-specific publications.
Employees with excellent reading skills can quickly extract relevant information, make informed decisions, and stay updated on industry trends.
Written communication is a vital component of professional interactions. Clear and effective writing ensures that messages are conveyed accurately and comprehensively.
Employees who can clearly articulate their ideas in writing have an advantage in expressing their thoughts, opinions, and proposals.
Writing also helps create professional documentation and contributes to the overall image of the organization.
Verbal communication is at the core of workplace interactions.
Effective speaking skills allow individuals to express themselves confidently, engage in discussions, and present their ideas persuasively.
It is greatly highlighted when speaking languages other than their native tongue, such as English.
Why hone your language skills in the workplace
Being in the business sphere for years, Jaime has seen the evolution of the world speaking English, starting with his travels in Southeast Asia. He stated that “English in certain countries is growing because people obviously see the big benefit in it.”
He is also glad that “more people are learning English, and that’s gonna change for sure for the next couple of decades.”
Apart from this, several reasons contribute to why honing language skills in the workplace is beneficial for individuals and organizations alike.
Better economic opportunities
Jaime recalled what his parents told him when he was younger: “If you speak English, you’ll have better opportunities in life.” He can see this now with the abundance of clients looking for English-speaking teams to work with them efficiently.
Seeing this advantage, Jaime wishes that “most people spoke English in Latin America because it would definitely open up their doors.”
Indeed, being proficient in multiple languages opens up a world of economic opportunities.
Bilingual or multilingual employees are often in higher demand than their monolingual counterparts. This is especially true in industries such as customer service, sales, and international business.
Global communication with peers
Jaime highlighted that Virtual Latinos aims to “build strong and long-term relationships between our clients and our professionals, and that’s what we’re striving for now.”
While they could focus on simply making more sales or better growth, Jaime added, “We see the impact when the relationships are strong, when the candidates are able to communicate better with their clients and vice versa.”
Effective language skills enable employees to break down language barriers and engage in meaningful conversations with their international counterparts.
This facilitates better teamwork and knowledge-sharing, ultimately leading to more successful business outcomes.
More professional presentation
Language skills contribute to an individual’s professional presentation. When employees can communicate effectively and confidently, they project a sense of competence and professionalism.
This can significantly impact their personal branding and career advancement opportunities.
Personal skill development
Honing language skills in the workplace goes beyond professional benefits; it also contributes to personal growth.
Learning a new language enhances cognitive abilities, including problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. It expands individuals’ cultural horizons, promotes empathy, and broadens their perspectives.
How to hone your language skills in the workplace
There are various ways to improve language skills while working, fitting into even the busiest schedules.
Live language courses
Enrolling in live language courses provides structured and comprehensive language learning opportunities.
Language schools, training centers, or universities often offer these courses. They promote interactive learning, provide guidance from experienced instructors, and offer opportunities to practice speaking with other students.
Language learning can also be part of life skills training in a BPO setting. Here, the management usually invites or hires a language instructor to teach staff another language that caters to their clients.
Consumption of various media
Immersing oneself in the language and consuming various media in that language are highly beneficial.
This includes reading books, newspapers, and industry-specific articles, and watching movies, TV shows, and online videos in the target language.
Gone are the days when learning English was strictly confined to a classroom setting.
As Jaime iterated, “We have the internet [that brings] so many opportunities [in language learning], and literally, people can just download an app [for it].”
Language learning apps provide flexibility and convenience. They offer interactive exercises, personalized learning paths, and the ability to practice on the go.
An offshore team’s superior language skills in the workplace
Offshore teams with superior language skills can provide significant advantages to businesses.
Superior language skills are one of the aspects Virtual Latinos preserves in their teams. Mostly catering to US businesses, the firm vets their applicants according to factors such as their work quality and English proficiency.
Jaime shared that Virtual Latinos is “focusing on getting [English-speaking] talent in Latin America.”
While they can hire Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking staff in their wing, he realized that “less than 5% of our clients are coming to us because they want their people to speak Spanish.”
Visit their website to learn more about Virtual Latinos and get in touch. At the same time, listen to episode 475 of the OA Podcast.