Why it makes good business sense to learn new languages

Business language training – why it makes sense

By Anna Sobell

Why it makes good business sense to learn new languages

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way”. -Frank Smith

Where would global business be without effective communication? Nowhere, that’s where. From the most basic to the most elaborate, trade requires a trade in words and numbers. And one might argue, the clearer the message, the better the deal.

Although English is certainly still the lingua franca and official language of worldwide business, this does not mean it’s necessarily the best medium of communication between companies. In this article, I’ll outline a few reasons why learning new languages makes for savvy business people, from both an employer and employee’s perspective.

Brain power

Just like physical exercise strengthens the body, mental exercise, like learning new languages, strengthens the mind. Not only is this a long-term benefit for the individual learning the language, it also benefits the company in which the individual works. Switched on, engaged and motivated minds make for more industrial and inspired workers.

Further to this, training the brain to switch between languages also trains the brain to multitask; to switch effortlessly between activities. Similarly, the lessons the brain gains from memorising new vocabulary, are then utilised to improve general recall skills, such as; remembering names, faces, facts and numbers.


The wider you cast your net(work), the more fruitful the return. Never was a truer word spoken when it comes to business. Opening your world up to new languages creates myriad opportunities and immediately positions you, and your company, in a significantly more advantageous position. Making the decision to learn the language of potential new clients puts you above the rest and allows you to stand out from the crowd. You will find that trust between yourself and potential clients is achieved quicker as, on the whole, people feel more at ease when they are able to speak in their own language. The fact that you’ve invested in learning their language will foster mutual respect and trust from the outset, affording the relationship to solidify more quickly and meaningfully. Why? Because understanding their language also means understanding their culture, etiquette and people.

Keeping everyone on board

Everyone loves a perk, and learning a language in-company not only benefits the learners, but also the company for the reasons above, but also for the holy grail of HR: employee retention. Employees who are given language training are likely to feel more motivated, valued and engaged because their employers have invested in their personal and professional growth. This goes a long way to boosting morale and avoiding staff turnover and the all-important bottom line financials.

The long game

Finally, companies offering in-company language training are setting themselves up for some pretty enviable returns on their investment, for example;

  1. The reputation of the company amongst current employees, prospective employees, clients and prospective clients is improved
  2. The bond between staff and management is improved
  3. Greater trust between company and clients
  4. More engaged and loyal employees

In recent years, the collective, relatively weak language skills of the UK have led to serious implications on our economy. It was estimated that no more than 5 years ago, our language skills deficit cost the UK £48bn a year. This, coupled with our imminent journey into Brexit, perhaps should serve as a wake up call to British companies that in-company language training is essential to a healthy and growing economy.

Click here to find out how Language Services Direct can ensure return on your investment in language training.


https://www.cactuslanguagetraining.com/learning-languages-benefits/ https://www.britishcouncil.org/education/schools/support-for-languages/thought-leadership/appg/news/brexit-languages https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/dec/10/language-skills-deficit-costs-uk-economy https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/speaking-second-language-shows-benefits-alzheimers/ https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-how-learning-a-new-language-changes-your-brain-at-any-age https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/296242 https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianrashid/2017/06/12/3-corporate-benefits-of-learning-a-foreign-language-and-why-you-should-care/#2620c05d1887

About the author

Anna is an Account Manager in the corporate team, looking after a portfolio of corporate clients, including two of her team’s largest language training programmes.

Anna was an English language teacher for over 10 years before joining Language Services Direct. She has two language-teaching qualifications: the CELTA and the Licentiate Diploma in TESOL. She taught both in the UK and abroad: in Istanbul, Sydney and Prague. Anna then went on to work as Senior Teacher and then Assistant Director of Studies at a school in Brighton.

Anna applies her academic knowledge and wealth of teaching experience to her duties as an Account Manager and is able to provide meaningful support to our clients, trainers and learners.

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