1. Learn their language. You don't have to be prepared to discuss the merits of existentialism in a postmodern world with your foreign-language team members, but it'd be great if you could greet them, ask how they're doing, and talk about some work-related topics with them. In today’s world of podcasts, and other language learning resources, getting good at a new language has never been easier. I’ve been learning Spanish off-and-on for 35 years. Since subscribing to a couple of Spanish podcasts, and engaging in a weekly Skype conversation with a native Spanish speaking friend, I’ve gotten closer to fluency than I’ve ever been.
- Just a few suggested resources:
- Radiolingua.com. Podcasts to learn multiple languages. I’m a longtime subscriber to Coffee Break Spanish. Working on Coffee Break German right now.
- Realfastspanish.com with Andrew Barr. Cuts to the chase. Practical and effective.
- Speaky.com. Instantly practice languages with people around the world. It’s like a dating site for language learners. It’s amazing!
2. Help them learn English. You want to create loyal, committed, engaged workers? Help them learn any essential job skill, or life skill. Help them learn English, and they’ll never forget you. Just as there are lots of resources for Anglophones learning a foreign language, podcasts and other things abound that are designed to help people get their English on, and fast.
- Check out fluentu.com, learningenglish.voanews.com, and allearsenglish.com.
- Nearly every community has churches and other organizations that offer free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Help your non-English speakers connect with some of these resources.
- Look right under your nose. You probably have fluently bilingual employees who could teach those who are still struggling. Make it part of their job. Or pay them extra for extra duty.
- Bring English in-house. Contract with teachers or tutors to bring language learning inside your walls.
Again, as with most of what we advocate here at Contented Cows, we take a strictly business approach. This isn’t just about doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. It’s about doing the right thing, because it works!
Buena suerte! Udachi! Bonne chance! Ganbatte kudasai! Good luck!